Purgatory is a reality but because we cannot see the souls being purified there we tend to forget them. In this meditation we pray about the importance of having great devotion to the holy souls. Using texts of Scripture, the Catechism, Pope Benedict XVI, St Thomas More, St Josemaria, St Augustine and others, we consider that:
It is difficult to go straight to heaven when we die because the soul must be perfectly purified
The souls in purgatory suffer greatly from the pain of fire and from not being able to be with the God they love so much
At the same time they are exceedingly happy
From the earliest days, the Church has prayed for those who have died
Our devotion to the souls in Purgatory helps them and makes it easier for us to avoid going there ourselves
Athletes go through a rigorous training regime in order to achieve their goal of competing, or winning a medal, in the Olympic games. The goal of Christians is much higher: eternal life with God in heaven, and we too need a training regime. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture, St Augustine and St Josemaria Escriva to consider how, like athletes, we need:
Determination, singlemindedness, to reach our goal
Commitment to training, involving regular times for prayer
A spiritual diet of grace from the sacraments
A doctor to heal our injuries: the sacrament of penance
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us to pray to God our Father, giving us, among other things, the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father. In this meditation we reflect on how we are to pray to our loving Father God, using texts from Scripture, St Augustine, St John Vianney and St Josemaria Escriva. We consider how:
Jesus himself prays to his Father
Our Father always hears and answers us
He always gives us what is best, even if it is not what we asked for
The benefits we receive from the very act of praying are themselves an answer to our prayer
We should pray with faith, confidence and perseverance
God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, and Jesus loved us so much that he suffered and died on the cross for us. Jesus invites us to love him in return but we so often show him by our sins that we love him too little. In this meditation we consider how:
We cannot avoid all sins – even the saints in heaven committed them – but we can try harder to avoid sinning.
God expects more from us than from many others.
We should strive especially to avoid committing mortal sins and deliberate venial sins.
We should identify the occasions of our sins and strive to avoid them.
We should foster true contrition for our sins.
We should do penance to make up at least in part for our sins and to strengthen our will to resist future temptations.
We should strive to go regularly to the sacrament of penance, knowing that there God always pours out his mercy on us.
The Church has been under fierce attack in recent months with news of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and cover ups by the hierarchy, leading many people to become discouraged and critical of the Church. In this meditation we look at the situation with eyes of faith, considering how:
In the history of the Church there have been many crises, some of them much worse than the present one.
A contemplative person is more patient, peaceful, kind and cheerful. Picture shows the young Jesus praying beside her mother.
St Josemaria taught that all Christians can be contemplatives in the middle of the world: that they can find God and be aware of his presence in every activity. This is within the reach of all but it requires effort on our part. In this meditation we will consider how:
Jesus promised the apostles, and us, that he would be with us always, until the end of the world.
God is with us in many different ways.
Like St Augustine, we often have to say that God was with us but we were not with him.
In order to grow in contemplative life it is important to live well our regular times of prayer and space them out throughout the day.
We can intersperse our regular times of prayer with aspirations.
A contemplative person is more patient, peaceful, kind and cheerful.
We pray to the one God and we sometimes relate to each of the divine Persons individually but how often do we consider the great mystery of the three Persons in one God, the Blessed Trinity? In this meditation we consider:
An argument of Fray Luis of Granada on how God communicates his infinite goodness in the Blessed Trinity
The indwelling of the three Divine Persons in our soul
St Augustine’s search for God outside himself when God was present within him
St Elizabeth of the Trinity’s beautiful prayer to the Blessed Trinity
A great example of mercy is the parable of the prodigal son.
Now that the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis has begun, it is good to meditate on this important virtue so that we can discover new and better ways to live it out in our daily lives. In this meditation we will consider:
How God is merciful to us
What the Scriptures say about mercy
The nature of mercy
Why it is so important that we live mercy ourselves