Today, where there is so much sin and suffering, there is also great fear among people. Many, particularly Jesus, have spoken profusely about how all must be ready for the coming of Christ. Certainly, I shall not be the last to speak on this subject... but I bring a message of peace, particularly for those seeking vocations.
Many of the saints I read about during my childhood died martyrdoms... they suffered greatly and persevered with great fortitude in times of distress. It was always my wish, also, to be able to do these things. Because of this, I very soon developed the understanding that it is heaven, not earth, that matters. I came to realize that life on earth is a privilege because it gives us a chance to suffer and grow close to Christ through our own efforts. Of course, you say, of course I would think that heaven means more than earth... this is true, it is most natural, but perhaps there are some things that I have been thus lead to discover which some do not see or understand?
The Vocation. A vocation is a pull into a certain way of life, which God knows will bring us happiness and salvation. Last year, I was forced to ask myself the question... if I died tomorrow, would my vocation not be fulfilled? To ask this question, and to receive an answer, is to receive an enlightenment about the nature of life itself. Close your eyes, for a moment, and attempt to see through God's eyes. He does not see life in time unless He chooses to, and if He looks at our lives at a glance... He sees ONE vocation, ONE life. When you open your eyes again, perhaps you will understand what I mean when I say: "Live your vocation." Our vocation is to go to heaven and be with Him in love... so with what perspective, now, do you look at all things? Be ready for His coming, in all things consider heaven... for that is the purpose of our vocation.
Perhaps I shall break away from my "preaching" to describe heaven, momentarily. Heaven is a place of perfection... it is a place of joy so great that our souls must be ripped from our bodies before they can bear it. It is a complete immersion into the Sacred Heart and a gazing upon the Face of Christ. It is greater than our mind can understand, it is unimaginable... and yet, Heaven is also very real. It is a REAL union with Christ... it is not an unfeeling ecstasy, but rather, an ecstasy of which we are completely aware. Therefore, we are not dead in Heaven... we are living our vocation, no longer our earthly one, but our heavenly one. Does this not bring a new light to vocation? Does this not show how intricately our vocations here on earth are linked to eternity? Live your heaven on earth, just as your humanity will be lived in Heaven with the Ascended Christ.
"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." One could get into the habit of looking at the world through God's eyes, once one has tried, and this is exactly what I want you to do again now. I want you to close your eyes again and picture eternity... with the image of the crucified Christ ever "over" everything else. Can't see it, you say? Allow me to give you a picture to form, in this case. I want you to picture yourself, your identity. It is an identity all your own, one that you can change and improve all through your earthly life... I want you to glimpse how God has already "read" the book that you have written and will write during your life. Then, include the infinitely numbered chapters of your union with Him in Heaven. This picture shows up clear? Good... now, see the perpetual smile on God's face throughout the rest of the book? See the love of the Crucified Christ, which, ever over all these things... will never disappear? We are each born with a COMPLETELY unique identity... each of us have a heart which receives one unique strain of Christ's WHOLE and ENTIRE love. Each of us has a vocation that belongs to nobody else... and only we can bring God that certain happiness which He has given us the capacity to bring. He has given us an importance through His love... He has given us worth through His sacrifice... and WE are given a vocation of perfection.
Perhaps, after this celestial picture, I should now bring my readers back to earth? Very well. Go back to our earthly vocation, you say, what should we do? Of course we strive to do what God Wills through everything... we desire to give Him all things and thus perfect them... but the real thing which one must do on earth is concentrate on willful love. It is this love which will bring us to Christ before everything else, for His love is absolute and we can not love at all without the fire of His love in our hearts. I say willful love because we do not always feel love for Christ... but it is the willful love of Him which will help us grow in true love and virtue.
Consider your earthly life, your vocation, as your ONE chance to do everything perfectly for Him. Yes, this is our chance to show how much we love Him! I would that I could live a thousand years just so that I can show Him how much I love Him while still weak and sinful! For nothing is dearer to Him than our humble offering of our weaknesses, and we shall have no weaknesses in Heaven. While we are here, we have the chance to offer our every action with Jesus' sacrifice for infinite merit. Through our actions and prayers and day-to-day life we are giving God the only thing that we possess that is not a direct gift from Him to us... the direct action of our free will. He gave us this opportunity to give Him the only thing we can... we give to Him our lives, yes, but how much more we give to Him all that we do with our lives!
There is great sin and misunderstanding in the world... there is fear and evil around every corner. Time and again Christ has warned us through His prophets, His mother, His angels, and His saints that we are bringing damnation upon ourselves. One who has Christ in his heart will walk into some stores today, or flip on the television, and receive an unknown pang beneath his heart. Is this pain fear? Is it disgust? No, this pang is the intense suffering of Our Lord within us. How great are the sorrows of the shepherds of Christ's children when they see their sin! What, therefore, can we do? We have been told a chastisement is coming... how shall we prepare?
I have described the beauty and wonder of heaven... I have described a good vocation on earth and in heaven... I have told of the dangers currently in the world... must I not, now, spend some time on the subject of Hell? How great is the pain in my heart at the thought of Hell! I know that as I explain, the tears will fall from my eyes unrestrained... for anyone who knows Christ cannot help but feel this unimaginable pain.
I have asked this question many times... why is there Hell? How could Hell be possible? Here is the reason. It is because there is good. God is good and just... He is loving and perfect... so one who has willfully condemned himself to a life of evil cannot bear to stand in Christ's presence... nor would those who are just find peace if there is no Hell. Because God is good, there must be Hell. Now, you ask, what is Hell? I will break this to you gently, for to see Hell in its entirety is more than I could bear to attempt to write. Hell is a place of perpetual thirst without nourishment. It is a place of perpetual separation from God and pain in darkness. Without God's life within it, the infinite souls in Hell are set on an infinite path of degradation. I know what it is, you say, but how does it feel? A soul who enters Hell receives an eternal equivalent of earthly despair. He has seen a light that he can never reach, nor erase from his mind. He has felt the loss of a love which had flown through his being throughout his whole life on earth, with Christ as its spring. He feels everlasting shame and remorse, which he cannot shake.
Again, you ask, why? It is simply because the soul in Hell is separated from God completely. To think fully of even one person suffering this forever is more than one could bear, unless that person is given the strength of heart in Christ's Justice. But, the thought of hell makes thinking of those on earth even more painful... for, how could one truly love, if he does not need ever fear for the life of the one he loves? But one who fears for the life of another knows TRUE love... the love of the Christ who died so that men who were dead may come alive again.
After such an account as this, it is fitting that I should bring up the martyrs. Do you not see their joy? For they have received the privilege of love in suffering, and the chance to die a most perfect death for Christ. How, you say, could I possibly delight in these dreadful things? St. Peter, sharing in Christ's crucifixion, St. Philomena suffering many deaths, St. Maria Goretti who died young for her purity, St. Joan of Arc who died by fire, the missionaries who were tortured and killed by Indians, St. Therese the Little Flower who died a Modern Day Martyrdom... These, and so many others, underwent severe pain. How could I, with my motherly heart, feel happy for them? The answer is simple "You will be saddened, but then you will receive a great joy, a joy which no one will ever take from you." Like the mother who saw her seven sons brutally killed in the Old Testament, one who is near to Christ will feel a deeper joy, beneath the suffering, for those who are suffering in Christ's love.
Why, you say, do I choose to tell about death and eternity today? Lent is coming, and with it is the enactment of human death and human resurrection. Those you who are seeking and living your vocations MUST see this... Jesus' heart has greatly desired it. Throughout the world He has sent a message of Chastisements to come... telling us we must pray and be ready always... but I tell you this, His message is simpler than our complicated minds make it. He wants us to love Him so deeply that our lives are thus consecrated to His Heart. He wants us to trust Him implicitly. "When they persecute you, do not meditate before you answer, for the Spirit will place words of Wisdom in your mouth." and strength in your heart. While your mind is filled with all these evils, and the pains of seeing others who cannot see God through their deadly sins, and your heart is broken by the messages of Jesus, Our Lady, and the saints who come to warn us and help us... let the simplicity of the way of love comfort you. Let your vocation be a vocation of love, and you will find the Perfect Way.
Peace in Jesus...