A priest friend shared this with me long ago. It really brings into realty the ways of the world and the ways of God.
“I once read of a Chinese girl in Communist China who hid in a church and watched soldiers ransack the tabernacle and spill the Hosts on the floor. The guards left but she stayed in hiding, picking up a Host, one a day with her tongue, not realizing she could have consumed all the Hosts because of the profanation. She returned every day and picked up one Host with her tongue out of her total respect for the Eucharist.
On the last day, being the last Host, as soon as she consumed it, she was shot by a guard who had followed her into the church. Angels of the Holy Eucharist watching over us from heaven!”
Recently, the pope came out with a change in the Church’s view of capital punishment. I’m sorry to say that he doesn’t seem to have gone beyond an emotional view on this versus the Church and Church History. One of his main concerns is that capital punishment executions takes away a person’s dignity and time in reviewing his redemption. At no point did he mention what was taken away from the victim(s) or their families. Before victims were brutally murdered, were they allowed reflection on their pending mortality and redemption before being forcibly pushed into the afterlife on the whim of a murderer?
When my four children were growing up, any time a treat or dessert was being served, the words most frequently voiced were “ME FIRST!” In order to bring their Religion into every phase of their lives, we talked about how we could send a soul from Purgatory to Heaven by making small sacrifices. One time I was dividing the last of the cake midst much pushing and shoving for the biggest piece. I casually mentioned how sad it was that no poor souls would make it to Heaven based on the selfishness I was seeing. Suddenly the pushing and shoving ACCELERATED as the children kept going to the BACK of the line in order to be the ONE saving the souls that day!
While Vatican II marked a great change in the Church, it also emphasized tradition and continuity. Here are some precepts of the great council that are often overlooked.
From “The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4 December, 1963.
Article 36. (1) The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (2) But since the use of the vernacular, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or in other parts of the liturgy, may frequently be of great advantage to the people, a wider use may be made of it, especially in readings, directives and in some prayers and chants. Regulations governing this will be given separately in subsequent chapters. (emphasis added)
Article 112. The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.
Article 116. The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
Article 120. The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, for it is the traditional musical instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up men’s minds to God and higher things.
When we plan a budget, money seems to be the center of our planning! We make extensive calculations as to where, when and why our money will be spent. We have today to work with, tomorrow to think about and the distant future to consider. We sometimes deal with money needs and disbursement first in our life with everything else coming in second or as an after thought. The world tells us we need gold or it’s equivalent to survive.
If it is to be God’s Will, many of us will have a long life here on this earth. And if we acknowledge God’s Will in our lives, we will realize that without God, we are nothing and can do nothing. Why then do people spend so much of their lives seeking the gold first and giving secondary importance to the spiritual gold needed to attain eternal life?
Although, as modern day Catholics, we do not worship pagan gods, do we ever stop to consider that some of our pursuits are in the nature of idol worship? As responsible parents, we see to the care of our families. The greater of this burden, naturally, falls on the husband and father who needs to earn the living in order to provide for the family. Sometimes it seems that people get caught up in attaining money and material comforts and forget to work on the necessary requirements of the soul. A father’s burden is difficult as he has to balance the material care of his family’s needs with the spiritual nourishment of their souls. The mother has the job of maintaining the home life and reinforcing the nonphysical aspects of preparing their children’s souls for their final judgment day.
Needs is the divisive word here. What one person determines to be a need, may be unimportant to another. Do we judge others by what we want or by what brings them happiness and the hope of heaven? Are the needs we think important required for a successful life here on earth?
Financial situations go up and down. Life has struggles every day, some exceedingly trying, others annoying. What do we use to face this day-to-day crisis of being human beings? Look around and see what people hold most dear. And I will bet it is not usually a prayer and an hour in church!
Life is a search for the gold. We need to decide which gold will improve our life’s situation. Money can certainly ease us through our earthly life but could distract us from our ultimate purpose in life and slide us right past heaven. The road to heaven is not an easy climb whereas downward descents usually go rather quickly and without thought. It is very sad when you hear people say that God doesn’t really want us to struggle. Christ’s life on earth was certainly contrary to that thought!