Our Lord invited us, if we would be his disciples, to take up our cross and follow him. A few days later he manifested his divinity to three of his apostles in the Transfiguration, as we will see him in his glory in heaven. In this meditation, using texts from Scripture, St Josemaria and St John Vianney, we consider how:
Our pathway to heaven passes by way of the cross
The cross is truly a blessing, in that it purifies us and it can be offered up for others
The cross is a manifestation of God’s love for us
When we have a cross to bear, we can think that Christ suffered more than we ever will, and that many others are suffering more than we are
If we love the crosses life brings, we will find joy in them and they will unite us with Christ
We should seek the cross too through mortification and 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
One day God will call each of us through the gateway of death into the next life where, after a particular judgment, we will enter into heaven, either immediately or through the purification of purgatory, or we will go to eternal damnation in hell. Meditating on these realities helps us to focus our lives so that we can be found worthy of heaven when we die. In this meditation we use the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the writings of saints to consider:
Death is not the end but the beginning of eternal life
In the particular judgment we will see our life as God sees us and we can prepare for it by being sincere here on earth
Hell is a reality and we should do everything possible to avoid going there
If our soul is not completely pure when we die we will be purified in the fire of God’s love in purgatory
We should pray very much for the souls in purgatory
Our goal is the supreme, definitive happiness of heaven, where we will see God face to face.
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.
In Holy Communion we receive our Lord in the species of the host and wine. This is the greatest union we can have with Jesus Christ while on earth.
Many people receive Holy Communion regularly but it is easy to fall into routine in doing so. If we remember Who it is that we are receiving we can receive it better, with the “purity, humility and devotion” with which Our Lady received it, in the words of the Spiritual Communion taught by St Josemaria. In this meditation we use quotations from many saints, especially St Josemaria and St John Vianney, and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to consider:
Holy Communion is the greatest union we can have with Christ on earth
It is a promise of heaven, an anticipation of heaven and the means to reach heaven
Communion cleanses our soul from venial sins and helps us avoid mortal sins
How we can prepare well to receive Communion
How we can receive Our Lord with more faith, hope and love
How we can give thanks better after receiving Communion
Why we should receive Communion as often as we can
In this meditation we continue our journey through the Last Things, praying today about hell. Hell is a reality and if we pray about it from time to time we are most unlikely to end up there. But God needs us to help others avoid hell too. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of saints like St John Vianney to consider:
Christ’s teaching on hell
God’s mercy and desire to save all souls
That those who go to hell choose it by failing to repent of their serious sins
The vision of hell seen by the three children at Fatima
We can sometimes take our priests for granted, or even complain about them. In this meditation we look at what our priests do for us and how we can help them. We consider:
Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, instituted the priesthood to continue his priestly ministry down the ages
Priests do so much for us: celebrating the sacrifice of the Mass in order to offer this pure sacrifice to the Father, to leave Christ in the tabernacle and give him to us in holy Communion; forgiving our sins, anointing us when we are in danger of death, teaching us the faith…
St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, has beautiful things to say about the priesthood