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Sept. 20

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers of thanksgiving for John, who has been unemployed since three weeks before the birth of his son, nearly a year. He has found work. Deo gratias!
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20, 2003

      Prayers of thanksgiving for John, who has been unemployed since three
      weeks before the birth of his son, nearly a year. He has found work.
      Deo gratias! God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so
      much. JL

      January 20, May 21, September 20
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      To fear the Day of Judgment.
      To be in dread of hell.
      To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
      To keep death daily before one's eyes.
      To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
      To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
      When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
      And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
      To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
      Not to love much talking.
      Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
      Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
      To listen willingly to holy reading.
      To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
      Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
      sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
      Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
      To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
      herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
      Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
      Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
      holy, that one may be truly so called.


      Different instruments of good works push our buttons- that in itself
      should be something of a clue to self-discovery. Usually what pushes
      one's buttons for good or ill is worth examining a bit. However, we
      can also have very selective eyes and it is sometimes even more
      useful to go back to the parts we skimmed quickly and ran past. Most
      people would love to have a lengthy discussion on laughter and the
      Holy Rule at this point, but I'm not going there.

      I'm going to a point that is often ignored completely: the existence
      of hell. Now, bear in mind that I write from a point as close to
      universalism (the notion that all people will go to heaven,) as one
      can possibly come and remain a Catholic. I believe in hell, but I
      hope to find it empty. Neither I nor anyone who hopes to escape hell
      themselves can want or will ANYONE to be there. It would be so
      wonderful to find hell empty. What joy!

      However, a bit of realism that looms closer to objectivity than
      subjectivity is in order here. I hate to tell you that, although I
      clearly must have made it into the last round of interviews, I did
      NOT get the job of Arbiter of the Universe, Cosmos and All That Is.
      No one else did, either. That's God's and God's alone. Hence, what we
      WISH would be or would LIKE to see or even HOPE to see is not quite
      as definitive as we might think. Wishful thinking may be warm and
      cuddly, but it is rather shoddy theology.

      Hell is real, it exists. Given the track record of human beings alive
      in embracing God, it is not altogether foolish to assume that some of
      those billions throughout time died at war with God and insisted on
      staying that way. Heartbreaking, yes, but not unlikely.

      Jesus Himself speaks of hell, and if one wishes to posit that He was
      mistaken or wrong, a whole kettle of fish that will not end in
      Christianity or Christ's divinity ensues. In spite of what many of us
      hope, that all suffering is taken care of in this life, He speaks of
      hell and He speaks of it as eternal. One must assume He knew what He
      was dealing with...

      Private revelation is hardly normative, but when it does not
      contradict Scripture or tradition or the living voice of the Church
      it can be at least elucidating. Numerous mystics have had visions of
      hell. Much to my regret, none of them so far has reported it to be
      empty, either. Nope, there WAS a population of sorts. Not terribly

      So, what is this all about? Well, for starters, do all you can to
      ensure that you don't go there!! But that is not enough. Pray, pray,
      pray for sinners, for the conversion of all, for the dying, for those
      without faith.

      We have seen again and again that prayer DOES change things, even
      when the object of our prayers does not know they are being prayed
      for! That is a mystery. We do not understand how it works, but it
      works! Get busy! When we appear before the Judgement seat it will not
      hurt at ALL to have a truckload of souls to our credit! Acquire a
      hunger for souls; that is appropriate to all, not just clergy or
      monastics. It is the mark of a loving Christian faith.

      We know that mercy is infinite and unfathomable, the greatest
      attribute of God. But we also know that free will and free will alone
      can thwart that mercy by rejection. God respects free will

      However, and this is just a personal opinion of one who really
      doesn't know how prayer works, I have a suspicion that God DOES allow
      our prayer to somehow affect free will. I feel that there must be
      some human element here that we will never know or understand
      till heaven, if then!

      Prayer DOES change things, and some of those things are stubborn
      human hearts and minds and wills! One of the most wonderful aspects
      of this hypothesis is that God perhaps allows us to go where even He
      can't go for the salvation of all. Now THAT is not shabby!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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