Pope Francis called the Communion of Saints one of the most consoling truths of our faith. Indeed it is. In this meditation we use texts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, St Bernard, St Therese of Lisieux, St Josemaria, Pope Francis and Kimberly Hahn to pray about this union of the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory and the faithful on earth, all helping one another on the way to heaven. We consider how:
The Communion of Saints is both communion in holy things and communion of holy persons.
We should endeavour to grow in holiness and increase our desire to be one day with the saints in heaven.
We should pray much for the souls in purgatory.
We should pray for those on earth and help them to come close to God so that they too may be one day in heaven.
By our good deeds we contribute to the Communion of Saints and by our sins we withdraw from it.
Jesus warned his followers on one occasion that they would be hated and persecuted for the sake of his name. Today this is happening on a grand scale, in part because the Catholic Church is the largest single religion in the world and in part because the Church stands firmly for what the world is against: the sanctity of life and of marriage, the importance of chastity, the rights of parents in the education of their children… In this meditation we use Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate to consider how:
The Church is being attacked for its stand on many issues
The world needs what the Church teaches in order to find the happiness and peace it desires
We must learn what the Church teaches and defend this teaching with charity and strength
We must seek holiness, “the most attractive face of the Church” in order to show the world the beauty of our faith and to avoid being swept along by the current of the world
We all have situations in which we wish something were different but we are not in a position to change it by ourselves: our job, finances, health, relationships, etc. In these circumstances we can sometimes become discouraged. It is then that we need to grow in hope, to trust more in God. In this meditation we pray about this important virtue, drawing on Scripture, the Catechism, Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salvi and St Josemaria’s book The Way to consider:
The nature of hope
How God is always with us and will give us what is best
How we should know that God is close to us especially when we are suffering
Jesus told the apostles in the Last Supper that they had not chosen him, but that he had chosen them for a particular mission: to go out and bear fruit. God has created each individual for a purpose: to fulfil some definite part of his plan for the salvation of all souls. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture. St John Henry Newman, Pope Francis and St Josemaria to see how:
God has a particular plan for each of us, which only we can fulfil
To fulfil this plan we must first seek holiness, love for God which consists in doing his will
If we think ourselves unworthy and incapable, so were the apostles
Many great things depend on whether we fulfil the mission God has planned for us
St Paul tells us that the greatest of the virtues is charity. If we are to live this virtue well, we must first grow in love for God so that his love fills us and overflows into those around us. In this meditation we consider how:
The more we love God, the easier it will be to love our neighbour
We can learn charity from saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St Josemaria, who loved God with their whole heart and their neighbour as themselves
We can grow in four aspects of charity: patience, love for people of all backgrounds, forgiveness and kindness
We all sin, but how much true sorrow do we have? In this meditation we use texts of St Augustine, the Roman Catechism, St John Vianney and St Josemaria Escriva to consider three aspects of penance: the virtue of penance, or sorrow for our sins, the sacrament of penance and the acts of penance, striving to:
Contemplate the sorrowful face of Jesus, as St Peter did
Consider how many sins we have committed and how our sins hurt Our Lord more than those of people who are distant from him
Foster a true purpose of amendment, a sincere resolution to try hard not to sin again
Go regularly to the sacrament of penance and invite others to go with us
Be generous in our acts of penance, of self-denial, as we have been generous in committing sins