It’s just after 8 and I have a cappuccino and am on the top deck of the number 7 bus headed for Oxford circus.
An annoying voice repeats only to make essential journeys, is going to see Jesus and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament essential? Well for me it is!
And things brings me to my next point, the whole area of conscience.
Just as praying which to me is essential might seem non-essential to another, how as Christians can we be unified in love if we do not agree on what is important and what is not?
And so comes this next phrase which when understood correctly is wonderful and when misunderstood is awful.
“Unity in difference”.
In its true sense this means that we can all be unified as the people of God and yet be different.
Just like the different flowers in the garden, in God’s garden of people too there are many colours and types.
There are black and white, gay and straight, bi and trans and a thousand more. Yet all are children of God and God accepts and welcomes all.
However, while God loves and accepts us all, He also calls us to loving Him and to accepting and following Him.
This means that we are all called to conversion of heart and life and as Christians we are called to be witnesses to Jesus.
As catholics we are called to be lovers of the church, users of the sacraments, people of intercession, warriors of love, defenders of the truth, apostles of healing, people of hope, haters of evil, eradicators of sin, children of Our Lady, brothers and sisters of the saints and more than anything….adorers of the Eucharist.
Sadly many fall very short of this and many more don’t even try.
You see God has his rules and ways and nobody gets into heaven covered in sins. Purification of the soul must happen and whether we do it here or in purgatory is a question of timing and personal responsibility.
Sadly many priests and preachers no longer teach people these realities and leave them in a wishy washy “God loves” everyone type of spirituality which is neither here nor there.
Yes, God does love everybody which is why He wants to educate everyone.
Nobody will get into heaven without conversion of heart!
They might shout to St. Peter
“Let me in, it’s not fair, you are discriminating against me. . It’s because I’m gay or black or irish or trans or divorced…isn’t it….”
And what will Peter say?
“Yes dear, come in you who don’t pray and don’t love God”.
Of course not!
“Welcome to these gates, all are welcome this far but only those who love God and repent of their sins can gi any further”.
Some will accept and then look back on their lives and see their selfishness and sins. They will see that Jesus isn’t discriminating against them on any basis but merely calling them to the truth.
The early Christians were unified in many ways. They were unified in love, in prayer and in truth.
Today’s Christians aren’t so unified. Everyone wants to be accepted by the church but not everyone wants to listen to the church.
The church is a school of prayer and holiness and not a charity.
Everyone is welcome but those that come are called to respecting the church and her mission.
A church that does not talk about Jesus is not a church. A church that does not talk about prayer is not a church and a church that does not talk about sin and reconciliation is not a church.
At times priests leave it up to individuals to decide what is a sin and what is not but by doing this they run away from their role as teachers.
A duty of the priest too is to educate and teach with love and charity so as to illuminate dull consciences.
Leaving it all up to the individual in the name of love flies in the face of Jesus, flies in the face of the Gospel, flies in the face of the church and yes, flies in the face of God .
Of course once the truth is preached, then the preacher or teacher can take a back seat and then he/ she can leave it to individuals as to how to respond.
Some will be convicted and give their lives to Jesus like the 3000 that were converted in the acts of the apostles when Peter spoke boldly.
Others will block their ears and run away and might even kill the preacher like with Saint Stephen!
Either way, the preacher must preach and must be willing to make friends and to lose friends because of Jesus.
And so today my prayer is for the church. That she may unify people in prayer, in conversion of heart, in love, in charity, in appreciate of our priests, in understanding of sin, in understanding of spiritual realities, in loving Our Lady, in adoring the Eucharist, in sharing human resources, in praying for the dead and in healing or lives.
My prayer is also for priests, that they may be so centred on Jesus that nothing else will get in the way.
“Jesus, you are the way, the truth and the life. Help us to love like you loved, heal like you healed, preach as you preached and die as you died with utter obedience and submission to the Father. Our Lady, hold our hands and make us worthy to be called followers of Jesus. Bless and guide our priests and lead those who have erred and compromised the truth of the Gospel back on the right track”.
Have a great day!