Showing 61 - 80 of 111
Just as an orchestra member steps forward to make music at a concert without any further practice, after years of training, so those souls whose sins have all been forgiven, and who have done penance, or have gained a Plenary indulgence, have no need for 'training' in Purgatory, before they join the great chorus of praise of God in Heaven, with all the Saints.
God is a spiritual fire of love, and all who have become like living flames of love, in earthly life, transformed by God at their consent through prayer and penance, can enter God in peace when they die, because they are like Him. Those who have refused to be changed, are so unlike Him that His nearness brings only torment. Having finally turned away from God they suffer forever, in Hell.
When we pray for the living, and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we cast our minds over our families and towns, to pray for everyone; and when we do so by accepting our sufferings in patience, as penance for ourselves and for others, we do the powerful work that Christ did on the Cross, as He offered Himself, and prayed to the Father for sinners.
The Godhead is like a pure, holy Fire of love; and all who have been purified can enter that love, after death, without pain or fear. They have been so transformed by Christ, and through prayer and penance, that they resemble God; and in their union with God they experience the bliss and peace of heaven.
To go to Confession, to be forgiven, and then to do the penance required by the Church, is to do what is admirable in Christ's sight as well as beneficial to the person. It is as if Heaven comes down to surround that person who has been obedient out of love for God, and who is now reconciled.
When we are fervent in love for Christ, and have had all our sins forgiven, and have done sufficient penance, it is as though our souls are so bright that we are worthy to wear the white robe of the newly-baptised, and even to be worthy to enter Heaven straight away, should we die at that moment!
When people have a man-centered faith, with a too-exalted view of human beings, in relation to God, and make excuses for their sins, convinced that all people will be saved, and that penance and sacrifice are old-fashioned concepts, they develop a faith so distorted that they never humble themselves sufficiently to be lifted up to Heaven.
If we accept unavoidable sufferings with patience, from love for Christ, and offer them as a penance for sinners' conversions, in union with Christ, like Christ, it's as if we help Him to carry His Cross. We give evidence that His Passion was not wasted on us, but that we have accepted His graces and long for salvation for ourselves and others.
A person who has repented of mortal sin, and has been forgiven, after years of neglect of the spiritual life, is like a seaside shack after a furious storm. Even if it is still standing, and the rain is kept out for the occupant, it will need many repairs before it is a comfortable home. Much penance and prayer is necessary, to purify a sinner, and repair what had been damaged in him by prolonged self-love.
God looks upon the world, His Creation, with its vast plains, seas and mountain ranges - and great gatherings of people, many struggling against their sinful natures instead of giving in to selfishness. But only a few are using the most effective and available means, effected by the grace of God in repentance, prayer and penance.
It can be distressining, to see people we know apparently taking the wrong road, away from Christ, and Heaven. Only God knows their final destination; and we are right to hope, and to intercede for them; however, some people use their gift of free-will deliberately to disobey Christ, act unjustly, or ignore the teachings of the Church about charity, and penance; and, like Christ, we must accept that they have made their own choices, even foolish ones.
Just as the one way by which a person can lose weight is by eating less food, so the one way in which to emerge from spiritual and emotional unease is doing what wise people in the Church have always done: by using the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance ('Confession') and Mass with Holy Communion.
Everyone who sincerely repents of his sins, before he dies, will be forgiven by God, as Christ has promised. Yet someone who has acted with unimaginable cruelty is left in great need of penance and purification. He can find that, in Purgatory, he is allowed to reflect on his great wickedness, and on the mercy of God who has saved him from Hell, in circumstances similar to those in which he once confined his victims. It will be a long time before he is ready for Heaven.
If a person imagines that he can achieve union with God by his own strenuous efforts, he is mistaken. Christ, God and man, has told us so, and invites us to have faith in Him and to share His Divine life through Baptism. We can do penance for sin; but no-one achieves union by building a tower to be closer to Heaven, or by walking painfully, barefoot, round the world, or by walking on hot coals or by any other efforts.
The Saints in Heaven are overjoyed that we love and serve God, and that we believe what the Church teaches about the Communion of Saints, and ask them to intercede for us. The Saints, who all love Christ and His Mother, are also full of joy on seeing us, too, honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, who gave us our Saviour, and who has appeared at Lourdes, to Saint Bernadette, asking us to pray and do penance.
In Christ's sight, a person shows lack of love and respect for Christ when he is unwilling to prepare for an intimate encounter with his Saviour and God in Holy Communion. That preparation, for all who have gravely sinned, should consist of seeking forgiveness in Confession, called the Sacrament of Penance. In a state of grace, a person approaches Christ as if clothed in a pure garment of holiness, not the filthy rags of unrepented sin.
Older children deserve to hear the truth: "If you throw away your life - your spiritual life - by immorality, drunkenness, pornography or violence, it will be impossible to regain holiness by your own power. You can then only hope to reach Heaven one day if you receive from God the grace to repent: a grace perhaps brought to you through the prayers and penances of people who care about you.
We can save souls, by the grace of Christ, through our prayers and sacrifices. No matter how sick we are, nor how feeble our efforts, if we offer up our prayers, and our pains as penances for people trapped in sin and in danger of falling into the Abyss (into Hell), and if we offer everything in union with Christ's Sacrifice, we join in His work of salvation.
People who have really loved God have offered thanks and praise, even amidst difficulties. These, if they persevere, race towards Him when they die, impelled by love to enter His embrace. But those who have kept His laws, but have grumbled a lot, because of their worldly desires or preoccupations, must, after death, do penance for their luke-warmness before they can enter Heaven.
For every little or large suffering we willingly bear in patience - even an experience of pain at the dental surgery - we can help to save souls, by that offering of penance in union with Christ. We can help someone in mortal sin who suddenly realises what a dangerous state he is in, or perhaps a dying person, who suddenly receives the grace to turn to God, in trust and hope.
Showing 61 - 80 of 111