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There are many people in religious life who nowadays despise the virtue of obedience; and there are many Parish Priests who think it infantile to obey rules and regulations, and who disregard even the instructions of the Pope. They displease Christ our Lord Who saved us by His love and by His obedience to the Will of His Father.
Christ was betrayed and left alone with His enemies because people were afraid - or did not believe in Him. Today, He sees many Catholics betray Him when they dispute or ignore His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, or other teachings of the Church, and when they criticize priests and lay-persons who speak the truth about sin and virtue.
The Catholic Church is the 'city, set on a hill' by Christ, so that everyone can come to her, learn from her about God's plans, and about sin and virtue, and be reconciled and prepared for Heaven. Catholics must not disfigure the Church, by their bad behaviour; yet other Christians, though baptised, need her. She alone teaches the complete truth about Christ and His Way, opposing the spirit of of the age.
The Father in Heaven loves all His creatures, but He looks with delight and wonder upon the soul of a person newly-forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance; and like a mother full of wonder at her new-born baby's delightful fingers and toes, God looks with wonder upon the penitent's virtues and good resolutions.
In Christ's sight, teachers of the faith ought to embody it. It is not enough for teachers to believe in the articles of the Faith, if they do not show out the virtues, including chastity, for example. Women, especially, should pay attention to their clothing and avoid immodest garments or styles which tempt other people to have unchaste thoughts.
People who become proud that they have spent their lives perfecting human skills, but without attending to God, or virtue, or prayer, have little possibility of reaching Eternal Life, unless they turn to God in repentance and trust, and put Him first in their lives, and keep His Commandments.
Those members of the Clergy or Religious Life who mislead the faithful by direct dissent from Church teaching or by subtle suggestions that she is wrong on matters of faith or morals, are offending God, endangering souls, and indeed propelling themselves towards Hell by their behaviour. Unlike some heretics who have the virtue of honesty, even if mistaken, these dissenters corrupt the Church from within, whilst claiming to be orthodox.
Almighty God wants us to honour Christ's Mother Mary. Our Blessed Lady's soul was adorned with such sublime virtues, at her Immaculate Conception, that only her son, later on, surpassed her in His soul's beauty. She deserves to be honoured by our adorning her statues, with decorations worthy of a Queen, and crowning them, and in other ways.
Bishops or priests who have been ordained to teach the truth about Christ, about sin and virtue, and Heaven and Hell, but who refuse to believe and to teach some of the important truths of the Church about morals, are like men who break some of the rungs on the one ladder which their people must climb, to reach Heaven. By such Clergy silence, the faithful are confused, or even encouraged to continue in their sins. Those Clergy members and lay-persons risk losing Heaven, and falling into Hell.
When difficult things are asked of us, which form parts of our duty in following our vocations, we should turn to God in Heaven, and ask for the qualities or virtues we lack. He is so generous that we should picture Him not as a miser who might be persuaded to give an occasional gift but as a farmer who scatters seed-grain lavishly, confident of a good crop.
Many Catholics believe it is enough to be kind to other people. The greatest love is shown when people are not only offered kindness but also when they are offered the truth which sets us free: the truth about God's love for us, about sin and virtue, repentance and forgiveness, about the Real Presence of Jesus in His Church, helping us to prepare for Heaven.
Like a mountaineer in a dangerous place, someone who is trying to escape from a sinful way of life needs the intercessions of other people. He also needs trust in God's power, and the virtue of hope, by which he will persevere in the belief that God can change him, save him, make him holy and happy, and bring him in the end to Heaven.
It is possible to receive little benefit from the sacraments. There are some elderly Catholics who have practiced the Faith for decades, but who are spiritually immature, and lacking in virtue. If they believe they have been harmed or insulted they shriek with indignation. This is because they have not practiced sincere prayer, and have failed to practice the virtues and to advance in sanctity.
An atheist might search for a sense of purpose, or create one for himself, giving himself to what attracts him; but he has no 'solid ground' beneath his feet as he makes day-to-day decisions, without belief in a Creator and the main purpose of leading a virtuous life, as a child of God. With fluctuating morals, or a malformed conscience, or mere pragmatism as a guide, an atheist has not the joy and hope of being on the Way to Heaven.
Whether people are atheists or God-fearers, they suffer. There is so much suffering in earthly life that we are tempted to complain; but if we were to load all our pains and problems onto a large lorry, to send them away, we would soon have another collection. What counts is to live a good life here on earth, even with suffering. We can please Christ when we resemble Him in patience and obedience, in union with Him, and interceding for others. We give glory to God, grow in virtue, and prepare for Heaven.
We sometimes seem to arrive at a fork in the road, as we wonder what God is really asking of us, in life. One way of deciding is to act as the Saints have acted; we don't copy their vocations, but imitate their virtues. If one way ahead requires vanity, self-assertion, neglect of basic duties, and exaggeration of our gifts, it cannot be the way God points out to His friends.
It is unfortunate that many Catholic school-children are led to practice acts of charity which always attract attention, draw applause, make those acting feel virtuous. Where are the instructions to engage in works of charity, simply for the love of God: to do good, and develop humility?
When a Christian prays to the Father through Christ only infrequently, not frequently as he ought, it's as if he had begun to build a wall; but each time he returns to it, he finds that a great part of it has collapsed, and cannot shelter him. Without frequent prayer, we can neither stay close to Christ nor lead a virtuous life.
People who take the wrong way in life are often choosing an easy way, though God asks us to rely on Christ His Son, to grow in virtue, and to persevere in charity as far as Heaven. The easy way is to help patients to kill themselves, and to ask doctors to kill the elderly. But this is bad for patients, for doctors, for families, and for society, as well as being highly immoral and against God's holy law.
Good art is a gift made possible by God; but like all gifts it should be used wisely. It should never serve to offer malicious depictions of certain groups of persons or individuals, nor to inflame sinful desires by pornographic content, nor to corrupt the minds of the viewers, for example, by making an evil ideology or regime seem admirable.
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