• Sarah Raad


Updated: May 17, 2021

The instruction of the ignorant is our first act of mercy…

The Last Judgment Triptych (Hans Memling)

Today I was praying for all the souls who have not heard of Christ. There are literally billions and trillions and zillions of these souls and if I spent the rest of my Earthly life praying for these souls, I would not even save a fraction of them. I can see this being a job for all eternity.

In ancient times, Christianity was a revolutionary religion. Scott Hahn, in his book, “The Fourth Cup” said, “The most striking thing about Christianity was probably how little it looked like a religion.” When compared with other religions of the time, Christianity was the only religion that did not practice blood sacrifices through ritual animal or human sacrifice. The contemporary religions of the ancient Romans, Greeks, Jews and even the Mayans offered animal (and in the case of the Mayans, human blood offerings). But Christianity was different… We offered no blood sacrifices, because Christ’s sacrifice replaced all others.

What an irony it is that today, no other religion offers animal or human sacrifices – but our Paschal Lamb remains eternally as the living sacrifice who takes away the sins of the world.

Today, though it would be a rare thing indeed to find many humans on the planet who had not even heard the name Christ, though we have heard His Holy name, so many of us do not know HIM… If we did, how little would our anguish be, here in this valley of tears?

So many people, even those sitting next to you in Mass, are IGNORANT of God. They do not KNOW that he is Good. They do not know how to reach Him.

Thank God we have this Earthly life to learn…

I read about Holy Water the other day.

I did not realise the extent of its power. I mean, I knew it was good to use Holy Water, and we were always encouraged as children to make the Sign of the Cross using Holy Water when we entered and exited the church, but how ignorant I have been to the miraculous properties of this gift that we have until very recently had right there at the opening of the Church.

We can place ourselves into a State of Grace, just by using a sprinkle of holy water. It is amazing!

Pope Pius IX said, “Holy water has a special power to defend us against all attacks of the devil. When we make the sign of the cross with holy water, we gain each time an indulgence of one hundred days.”

Also, because Holy Water is a Sacramental (used for the sacraments) it can have the power to remove venial sins.

What a power I held in my hands. I have bottles of it scattered throughout my house, and I hardly ever use it. Why? All this power to HELP us on our journey to Paradise, and I have been too IGNORANT to use it!

This ignorance of mine, got me to thinking about the impact of ignorance throughout my life…

Saint Pope Pius X said that the “First spiritual work of mercy is to instruct the ignorant. This we solemnly affirm: the majority of those who are condemned to eternal punishment fall into this everlasting misfortune through IGNORANCE of the mysteries of the Faith which must necessarily be known and believed by all who belong to the Elect.”

This is important. Very important.

We need to inform ourselves and inform others.

Those souls who I spoke of earlier, are the souls that we need to focus on. Upon reflection, though I can see the importance of missionary in preaching to the non-Catholics, perhaps an often overlooked ministry is the mission to preaching to the Catholics… For we should love to talk about our Beloved…

Easier said than done.

I have lived most of my life under a shadow of apprehension. I do not want to upset anyone. I do not want to speak out of turn. I do not want to talk about God. No talk of religion or politics at the dinner table – that is what we were taught as children.

But the problem is, if we do not talk about it now, when will we talk about it?

I imagine Christ Himself. I imagine His dinners. During His public ministry, He must have attended many many dinners with many many people. In fact, He spoke often of coming for sinners…

“On hearing this, Jesus told them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Mark 2:17).

Christ was a Man who did not shy away from discussions about religion and God. He openly spoke about God. He taught. He spoke in parables so that His audience, who were mostly uneducated people, could understand His meaning. He was a teacher.

Can you imagine Christ repeating the same lessons over and over and over again? Can you imagine His patience, as people said, “But Rabbi, I still don’t get it, what do you mean?” Can you imagine His laughter when people looked at Him in confusion and said something silly, as they were trying to process His meaning? Can you imagine His happiness, when they got it, when He saw the light of realisation in their eyes? And can you imagine His sadness, when they walked away, no more enlightened than when they had first approached Him?

I can. As clearly as the light of day, I can see the people seated at His table and I can hear their voices. I can see how he would coax the questions from the most shy amongst them, because He could see into their soul.

Imagine, if I could imitate my Beloved and speak about God over and over and over again! Imagine if you could join me!

That would be the first act of mercy… And how many ignorant souls we could save! And if we are very diligent in our application of the example of Christ, one day, perhaps, we would see those students of ours, who through our instruction of them, will become our teachers, and they would stand at the Gate of Heaven suffused with pure love and mercy – there, for us… to welcome us Home.

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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