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Some people fall away if their comforts and consolations are removed. Those whose faith is real will not allow anything, or any circumstances, to damage it, whether opposition, temptation, or ejection from their churches, homes, land or families; they will keep the light of Christ burning in their souls and lives, and show out His love and light in all they say and do, until they reach Heaven.
It might seem as if a viper has leaped out from his lair, to wound us. If we work for Christ, spreading the Gospel, we are going to be opposed, by people on earth and by Satan. We are wise if we recognise the truth, that harsh words or actions which cause us to suffer are caused by people acting from their sinful nature, as we sometimes do; so we forgive them, and turn to God for the courage to go on.
Those whom Christ has chosen, called and trained to be His witnesses and priests betray Him, if they tell other people, "You don't need Him". Jesus said: "No-one can come to the Father except through me", and, "Be My witnesses".
We all tend to be self-centered; so, when a mother or grandmother cares for a child she should lead the child towards God the Father, doing so by an example of love, truthfulness and care for others, and helping the child to act with charity and truthfulness. To offer instruction is not enough. Deeds and good example are essential.
When it is proposed, by organisers of what are called 'inter-faith' prayers, is that everyone pray together without mentioning names, and if a Catholic agrees not to pray 'through Christ our Lord', it's as if that Catholic denies Christ, steps out of the life of grace which was a privileged gift, and leaves Christ behind in order to please others. They would be more impressed, and he would please Christ, if he acted with integrity, and prayed as a Christian or not at all.
When it is proposed, by organisers of what are called 'inter-faith' prayers, that everyone pray together without mentioning names, and a Catholic agrees not to pray 'through Christ our Lord', it's as if that Catholic denies Christ, steps out of the life of grace which was a privileged gift, and leaves Christ behind in order to please others. They would be more impressed, and he would please Christ, if he acted with integrity, and prayed as a Christian or not at all.
Especially in matters connected with other religions, every member of the clergy should be aware of the impact on others of his gestures as well as his words. If he acts in ways that confuse the faithful, or give wrong impressions to people who do not share the Catholic Faith, he is not fulfilling God's plan for his life and for his special vocation.
The Church reminds us, in Sacred Scripture and the Sacred Tradition, that God has given us Angels to guard us. If we are in spiritual, moral or physical danger, and call on their aid, they will help us, though we are not usually privileged to witness their presence. We are weak, and God loves to help us in all sorts of ways.
A joyful soul, in a state of grace, is like a brightly-lit, warm cottage in the middle of a frozen landscape. It is attractive to those who long for joy and warmth in their own lives, but not to cynics with little or no faith, who are suspicious about the source of such joy, and call such souls 'naive' or 'foolish'.
God wants us all to help one another, yet there are souls in the depths of Purgatory who have never been prayed for by their Protestant relations who do not believe either in Purgatory or in prayer for the deceased. But when we pray for the dead it's as if we let down a rope, to help people to rise up towards Heaven. We need to share reminders about the importance of such prayer.
Christ wants priests to be identifiable as priests by their clerical wear, all around the world, so that people everywhere have a means of knowing that Christ is caring for them in a special way by placing these 'other Christs' amongst them. This need not mean that priests should be confrontational - and there are exceptional circumstances where visibility is imprudent.
Amongst faithful priests there are others who act with timidity or cowardice. People complain when priests are guilty of sexual immorality; yet Christ sees something scarcely less sinful in His sight as He watches priests who have their heads down, as they avoid giving clear teaching on sexual morality; in this way they fail to give the guidance they have been called to give, and fail to lead sinners away from their sins.
Christ is weeping, horrified at witnessing the abuse of innocent children by priests who should have been trustworthy figures in their lives, indeed, should have been 'icons of Christ', holy, loveable and loving, chaste and kind.
Only the holy can share God's holiness in Heaven, in perfect joy and peace. There are people who say - 'I'm not a bad person. I try to be good, but I don't need all that advice about prayer and Church-going'. They reveal the depth of their ignorance by such words, and on their state of soul. It's as if, within them, is a labyrinth of blocked passages and alley-ways: of unchristian attitudes, prejudices, unused spiritual faculties, a dark conscience locked in a cul-de-sac, and the gloom caused by Original Sin.
Christ is thrilled whenever we turn to Him with thanks and praise, showing our delight in His care for us. He sees millions of people, sad to say, who sit in pubs and hostelries, bored and unhappy, not knowing the purpose of life; and, without the help that our prayers or witness can bring, millions might die whilst never having offered a word of praise to God for His love, nor a word of gratitude for His gifts.
God has revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ; and Catholics know that we can rely on Sacred Scripture, the Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium, to receive the truth handed down to us. We can hear, receive, treasure, and then share the Word of God in ordinary little ways throughout the day.
No-one in the Church should deny the importance of Missionary work. Those who revere Truth and love their fellow humans love to share the Truth about God's Love, made plain in Jesus Christ, our Saviour. There is a place for Dialogue with people of other religions; but if people called to evangelise are content to talk each time, without sharing the Faith, they have forgotten God's plan for their lives. They are foolish if they remain deaf to the Holy Spirit.
What is Mary Like? by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet WHAT IS MARY LIKE? “Now having met together; they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘...
How to Pray: Perseverance, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is published as Chapter 3 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations), pages 19-30, entitled 'How to Persevere'. An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about how to deep...
How to Pray: The Mass, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is published as Chapter 4 and 5 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations), pages 31-38, entitled 'How to Pray the Mass'. An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about h...
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