THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

Third Sunday after Easter

7 May 2017

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Dear Friend,

The good things of this world as well as the bad things only last for a little while. This world is only for a time; and all time is short when compared to eternity. We must not allow ourselves to become overly elated in the times of joy and prosperity in this life; nor should we allow ourselves to fall into despair and desperation in the times of sadness, suffering, or loss. All the things of this world are passing away.

The spiritual writers suggest to us that in the good times we prepare for the hard times. The times of grace and blessings are enough to carry us through the more difficult passages of our lives. In this manner, we avoid the pride and vanity of this world as we see and understand that this too is passing away. We understand that what we have has been given to us and it is just as easily and quickly taken away. We should realize with Job in the Old Testament that: "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away." In all things, we must see the hand of God — not only conforming to His will, but we must love, accept, and bless It.

We should strive to remain on an even keel spiritually: not overcome with excitement in the joys and pleasures of this life, nor overcome with sadness or despair with the crosses and difficulties of this life. We must remain humble in the good times — giving all the glory and honor to God. In this manner, we can more readily accept our daily crosses and avoid the temptations of hopelessness. Both extremes are manifestations of the vice of pride. The one takes all the glory of his success upon himself, forgetting that all has been given by God. The other is so blinded by self love, that he considers his situation so desperate that not even God can help him — his sin is more than God can heal.

Jesus has given us the example of a woman in the labor of childbirth. She is sad that her hour has come, yet she rejoices for the child. Every cross and sorrow has its corresponding joy and reward. Every joy is typically preceded by its corresponding sorrow. We find this wonderfully presented in the mysteries of the life of the Blessed Mother. The joy of the Finding of the Christ child in the Temple was preceded by the sorrow of His loss. The Resurrection of Christ was preceded by His suffering and death on the cross. Etc. Often the joys and sorrows are closely intertwined so that we can scarcely discern one from the other. Our tears of sorrow quickly turn to tears of joy.

Our Holy Mother the Church is in labor in this life for the birth of our souls in the Mystical Body of Christ. She is in constant labor and travails to bring saints into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are the children of the Church and as such, we should understand and appreciate what Our Holy Mother is going through on our behalf. We should seek to become truly worthy children of such a loving Mother. We must also realize that as members of the Church, it is essential that we do our part for the salvation of others. We must pray, sacrifice, and do penance so that others may receive the grace of being born into eternal life.

If we are motivated by true charity, we find that our penances and sacrifices for others contain some sweetness about them. The cross, as Jesus has told us, is made light, sweet, and a joy. We often do not have to wait for this sweetness; as it is made discernable even while we are suffering the pain and sadness of our crosses. We find the two intermixed in this life. Neither one lasts for long. All the things of this life are passing away.

While this life is a mixture of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure; eternity offers no such mixture or temporality. In eternity, there is everlasting pleasure without any aspect of pain for those in Heaven; and there is everlasting pain without any mixture of pleasure for those in Hell.

It is good for us to frequently remind ourselves that whatever it is that we have or experience in this life will soon pass away. The suffering and pain of this world is nothing compared to the unending suffering and pain in hell. The joy and pleasures of this world are, likewise, nothing compared to the eternal happiness in heaven. We can make ourselves worthy of the happiness of heaven by embracing the cross and suffering in this life. Or, we can make ourselves deserving of the misery of hell by seeking only the pleasures and joys of this world and shunning our crosses. Strangely enough, everyone in this life has a cross and suffering, whether they accept it or not. How miserable are they who seek to reject it now, but still have to suffer now — and only secure for themselves an eternal suffering in hell. By accepting and embracing our daily crosses for the love of God, we secure for ourselves not more suffering, but rather, eternal happiness free from all suffering.

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