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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

'Simply a Letter'

Reproduced below is an extract from a letter written by a Catholic father to his family. The letter covers many matters of general interest, but includes this extract which deals very briefly with the founding and growth of the Church over the centuries, and more specifically the need for each member of the family to live and persevere in the practice of the faith, which will lead to eternal happiness with God. 

'Mum and I consider ourselves fortunate and very blessed to have been baptised Catholics, and brought up in the one, true faith. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ who appointed Peter, a fisherman, to be the Head.  Peter was the first in a line of Popes continuing to the present day. Needless to say not all Popes have been good men!  After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, Peter and the remaining apostles and other disciples travelled throughout the Near and Middle East preaching Christianity and converting thousands to the Christian faith. Over the years many suffered torture and martyrdom for their beliefs, with periods of persecution lasting intermittently over several centuries. It is easy to forget that in England, for a period of 1500 years until the time of the Reformation, there was only one Christian faith, and that was Catholicism. If you were a Christian, you were a Catholic. Today the Catholic Church teaches the same faith and has the same beliefs as it has always done, and this will continue to the end of the world. The Protestant Church, which came into being at the Reformation, is now divided into hundreds of Sects, none of which recognises the Pope as their Head and none of which teach the Catholic faith, and all of which teach their own versions of Christianity. None can claim that protection given by Christ to Peter when he founded His Church - ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it……. To thee I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed, even in heaven.” 

Today (November 2nd) is ‘All Souls’ day, when we remember and pray for the souls of deceased family and friends, and ask God to forgive them their sins in this life, and welcome them into His heavenly kingdom. Death is certain for all of us, and if we do not set our sights on doing our best to live our lives in the friendship of God, how can we expect to be welcomed by Him when we die? As baptised Catholics we have been specially favoured by Christ as belonging to Him, and if we persevere in our loyalty to Him, after death we will be with Him for all eternity.
However Christ did not promise an easy ride, as we can see by His words:- “Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter that way. How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it”.(Mathew 7//13)   
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he who would save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for my sake will find it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul” (Mathew 16//24-26)ow narrow the gate and close the waythat leads to lif! 

 "The holy souls are consoled by the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Sacrament, because through the Passion they are now saved, and through the Communions of the faithful and the Masses celebrated throughout the Church, they have received and receive so many graces.  But they are tormented by the thought of having been ungrateful during life for these two great benefits of the love of Jesus Christ."   (November 7th)
  ack. 'Thoughts from St Alphonsus for every day of the year' -compiled by  Rev. C McNeiry  C.SS.R

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