A bright and sunny Sunday morning. Blue skies; and I am absorbing as much as possible. All I can say is, “GO COLTS!!!”
Todays reflection is about the “Pearly Gates.”
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.” – Unknown
This is the LORD’S own gate, where the victors enter. (NAB Ps 118:20)
St. Peter standing at the ‘pearly gates” with a large book, checking to make sure the person wanting through the gates is on the list. This is just about every american childs, and some adults, belief of what going to heaven is all about. No one that I know of can tell me exactly what heaven looks like, or how we “enter” heaven. Its beauty and magnificence is beyond our comprehension. I’m sure there are things that we have no knowledge of, and will be granted to us, after our life here ends.
My vision of our journey, after death, is like a quasi-“Lets Make a Deal” event. There are three doors in front of you. One door is elaborately decorated, and brightly colored. The other doors are plain, without any decorative elements whatsoever. Matter of fact, these two doors have such tiny doorknobs on them, that it is difficult to grab and turn the knobs.
You walk up to the doors, and two of the doors are locked! Which door is “Your” unlocked door. The elaborate and beautiful door hides behind it, HELL! The other two doors lead directly to purgatory and heaven respectively. Why is the door to hell beautiful, and the other doors to paradise plain? Because they represent our life’s journey, to these doors.
If you choose the path that is easy; full of self needs such as fame, fortune, power, and materialistic wants: and not for love of, and for God; through prayer, abstinence, fasting, and wants for others: then the door representing your life on earth is the one bright and colorful. But this door (and path you chose) leads to emptiness, for eternity. Hell is a place where you CANNOT feel, or give love. You cannot even love yourself. No love means that the only feelings you can experience is hate, loath, fear and depression!
The other doors represent our existence on earth as well. A life where God is the center of our life. A life of not only fun, but also sacrifice; love for others; and giving of self physically, spiritually, and financially, as means allow. Does this mean we must suffer, and be poor? Definitely not! Many rich people are God centered; and many vagrants are evil centered. All it means is that their chosen path of the future, after this life, is more important than the “bling” of being self-centered.
Mortal sins lead us only to the beautiful door. Mortal sins separate us from a relationship with God. The only way to remove the stain of mortal sins is through the “Sacrament of Reconciliation” (confession).
The other two doors, though plain, hide certain beauty behind them. One leads directly to paradise; and the other to a place that prepares one for a future in paradise. The former is opened very little, as few have no remnants of sin that need to be cleaned, prior to entrance. The latter is a place of renewal, and remediation of our sins that have not separated us from God (venial sins for us catholic folk).
“Lord, my heavenly Father, please be with me on my path to the doors of eternity. I choose the plain doors over the bright door. Please help me to get to the plain doors, so I may have eternity in your presence. Amen”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Colette 1381-1447
In the little town of Corbie, France, Colette was born on January 12, 1381, of exemplary working people. She was a child of grace, an answer to her mother’s incessant prayers, for the latter was already 60 years old then and had been childless up to that time.
The little girl took great pleasure in prayer, in compassion for the poor, and in rigorous mortification, making of her soul and of her tender body a sacrifice to God. Up to her 14th year she remained unusually small in stature; the was a great grief got her father. Colette begged God to console her father in this matter, and then she began to grow very rapidly to normal height. On the other hand, she asked God to deprive her of the rare beauty she possessed, which she believed might be the occasion of danger to herself and others; that request, too, was granted, and Colette developed features of a severe cast which inspired great respect.
When both her parents had died, Colette, at the age of 22, obtained the permission of the Church authorities to shut herself up in a small abode directly adjoining the church; from a small window in it she could see the Blessed Sacrament. There she expected to spend the remainder of her life as an anchoress. She had embraced the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, in accordance with which she endeavored to live in perfect poverty, severe mortification, and constant prayer in order to become daily more and more like the Seraphic Father. She received many consolations from heaven, but on the other hand she also experienced severe temptations and even corporal abuse from the spirits of darkness.
Almighty God had destined Colette for something extraordinary. He excited in her the desire to re-introduce the strict observance of the rule of St. Clare, which many convents of Poor Clares then observed in a modified form. The humble virgin recoiled at the thought, which she tried to persuade herself was an illusion of the proud spirit of darkness. But the inspiration returned again and again, and when she continued to resist it, she was struck dumb and later on blind, until she finally resigned herself to the will of God, like Saul before Damascus. “Lord,” she sobbed in her heart, “what wilt Thou have me do? I am ready to do anything Thou desirest of me.” At once her speech and her sight were restored. The Lord sent her a special director under whose guidance she was to perform extraordinary things. And so, after spending four years in her retreat, and with the authority and the blessing of the pope, she established one convent of Poor Clares after another, so that the number reached 17 during her lifetime. After her death similar foundations were established in countries other than France, in which the primitive rule of St. Clare began to flourish anew.
St. Colette endured untold hardships in fulfilling the task assigned to her, but heaven supported her even in visible ways; numerous miracles, including the raising to life of several dead persons, occurred in answer to her prayers and in confirmation of her work. So, the great foundress remained ever humble, regarding everything as the work of God, who often chooses the lowliest of people as His instruments.
On this foundation of humility she endeavored to foster in her convents the spirit of prayer and simplicity of heart, She placed great value on the recitation of the Divine Office in choir, undoubtedly in remembrance of the practice existing in her native town, and infused this esteem into her fellow sisters. She was also filled with zeal for the salvation of souls, and once in a vision she saw souls falling into hell more swiftly than the snowflakes in a winter’s storm.
After laboring for 40 years, she was to receive her eternal reward. She died in her convent at Ghent on March 6, 1447. At the moment of her departure from this world she appeared to several sisters in different convents. Pope Urban Viii beatified her, and Pope Pius VII solemnly canonized her in 1807.
from: The Franciscan Book of Saints,
ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #6:
United by their vocation as “brothers and sisters of penance” and motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel calls “conversion.” Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be carried out daily. On this road to renewal the sacrament of reconciliation is the privileged sign of the Father’s mercy and the source of grace.