How can I preach the truth and save souls
learn how to preach with courage, correctness and charity
Saving Souls…this is our life’s calling. This is it! If people don’t learn how to obtain a saving faith all is for naught. Everything else we want to teach and help people with means nothing if in the end we can’t save our souls. This must be the driving motive for why we do everything. It is God’s.
We must not only preach the true faith that saves but we must also preach what really happens to us when we don’t truly live the faith and follow Christ. Everyone must know come to understand our current state of death we are choosing to live in. We have the right to know and a moral duty to tell everyone of our impending doom that awaits us if we don’t amend our lives and TRULY live the Gospel.
“How can I remain indifferent when I see the ease with which sins are committed…How can I rest when so many are to be seen living continually in mortal sin and rushing in this blind manner to their eternal destruction? No indeed, I cannot rest…[but I must] run and shout a warning to them…should there not be a warning of eternal fire to waken those who are drifting in the sleep of sin…would not silent and indifferent attitude be a crime?”
–St. Anthony Mary Claret
To do this, God wants us to preach. We aren’t all called to go on the street corners to educate and warn the world, but some are. There are different kinds of preaching for different kinds of people and for different kinds of situations. Some preaching even involves no words. There is certain way we are to preach to each person or group, as we see though Christ’s example, since He spoke quite differently to different people and/or audiences.
The proud, the faithful, who are like the Pharisees–those who believe we are saved because we are so good/faithful–are preached to completely different than how we should preach to the broken, who are the non-faithful–those who are suffering greatly from our sins–or those who are suffering from a cross we can’t bear.
This article is to help us know how to preach to each person and situation the way Christ would—the perfect way, so the greatest amount of souls can hear and be saved, so, “to save at least some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
We Need a Real Reason to Change
But regardless of whether we are preaching to the proud or the broken, since we live in the time of great darkness, most Christians haven’t even begun the journey towards seeking a saving faith. Why? Because WE HAVE NO MOTIVATION TO BEGIN….since we don’t know we are dying (without a saving faith). God’s children don’t know we need to repent and change, since nobody is preaching the truth…not the way we need to hear.
Reality is, “very few Christians are saved” as St. Augustine teaches.
“Few there are that find it [a saving faith]…few who understand how, and desire, to enter into this supreme detachment [from sin and worldly pleasure] and emptiness of spirit [lose our pride/will] [so to desire God alone and be saved by Him]…[most] seek only for delights, for sweet communications, and…[even] satisfactions in God, but this is not self-denial, nor detachment of spirit…but rather spiritual gluttony [wanting God to make us happy, not us seeking to make God happy].
They render themselves spiritually enemies of the cross of Christ [by loving pleasure since they don’t really love God but rather themselves]…
If we cling to anything whatever, whether it come from God or from the world, we are not journeying in detachment and self-denial [towards Life], and so we shall miss our way, and never be able to ascend to the narrow path [towards Life].”
–St. John of the Cross
Sadly, most aren’t preaching the truth…because the devil has caught our tongue. Some lack such courage that we won’t dare to speak The Truth to the proud or to help the broken because we fear how they will respond to the truth. This is really from a lack of true love for them, from having a great love for ourselves. For if we loved our neighbor, we would jump at every opportunity to help enlighten and save their soul. While there are others, who want to preach to the proud and help the broken, but we don’t know how.
But most are deceived into believing we are preaching correctly to the proud and the broken, but yet, we are only preaching a lukewarm or veiled word…a word which nobody can hear of their great need to repent and change or even know how to truly live the faith…either because we don’t know The Truth (for how can we preach what we don’t know) or because we don’t have the grace to preach it well (which is for a variety of reasons)…or we are suffering from a little of both.
This saving faith, like St. John of the Cross teaches isn’t understood or lived or preached…but this is the faith that saves. Therefore, to preach the faith that saves correctly, we must learn what it is and live it. This website (please start with the home page) and the books written by the saints are here to help…please see the books listed on this site, so we can learn how to leave/detach from all we desire for happiness (sin and our idols) so we can desire God alone and grow into a saving faith by attaching to Him.
Make the Churches Full?
When we begin to preach correctly, the churches will begin to fill up…not because we have a great choir or wonderful fellowship…none of that saves–not that a great choir isn’t lovley that is, if it is sung to love God–not for self-glory and having friends to help us save souls is great…but actually most friendships pull our hearts/minds away from God, so they aren’t even good…but the people will fill the churches because we finally heard The Truth and want a saving faith...from the clear truth being preached warning us of what happens if we don’t (giving them fear of the Lord). They will run to what will help save them and to the sacraments that will strengthen them on their journey.
Yes, when we become full of much grace, from seeking to TRULY give our entire lives to God, so to save souls like the apostles did, people will convert like they did for them too. Many people will hear The Truth…not all the people, just like with the apostles, but many will hear (according to God’s will) and they will hear in a big way. They will want to reject the pleasures of the world and give their entire lives to God, support the Church and seek grace to truly live the faith. We need to make this happen…according to God’s will.
The more preachers we have preaching correctly, with Spirit and power, the more transformation we will see (when and how God wills). Actually, we should be preaching with greater clarity than the apostles preached, since God has been enlightening us from generation to generation with a greater understanding of the faith. Therefore, we don’t only need to preach with Spirit and power, but with persuasive words of wisdom. And if we use these persuasive words of wisdom correctly, even the very proud souls, who couldn’t hear during the times of Christ, could hear today and have real hope for Eternal Life. That is if it is preached.
“I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling [with concern for your salvation]. My speech and my proclamation [of The Way] were not with plausible words [persuasive arguments] of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom [like the proud need] but on the power of God [which only the humble can comprehend]” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4).
Let’s learn what we need to do to really save the souls of God’s children, who are in desperate need of shepards to guide them to The Way. Countless souls are rushing off to their deaths…please lets do all we can to help save them.
God’s children must know they need to seek Mercy to grow in faith so to come to truly hate the sins they love, so they can one day truly love God and embrace His saving forgiving mercy.
Oh, our habitual sins (sins we desire) and attachments to the world’s pleasures (our idols) are endless. If we only knew we were without a saving faith, we would FEAR GOING TO HELL, which is what we should fear if we aren’t truly living the faith that saves.
“God will smite the head of his foes;…of those who persist in their sins.” (Psalm 68:21)
Then the proud would be humbled and the broken would look for help and scores of people would be running to God, wanting His mercy (help), in prayer and in the sacraments. The churches would be bursting with souls looking to obtain the goal of one’s faith–salvation (a saving faith).
But we must preach The Truth; we must give God’s children a goal; we must preach that the cross is The Way to Christ, so we can embrace the cross–let go of all we desire–so to desire God alone and be saved by Him.
“For a little while you may have to suffer through various trials…as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9)
22 Qualities Needed to Preach Well
To save souls by preaching the truth, we must have the following qualities:
- Know The Way or we will only preach a false truth; if we don’t know The Way ourselves, we surely won’t be able to correctly teach it to others. This site has brought many of the misunderstands in the faith today to the correct light so we don’t have to live in darkness of The Way. Hopefully, it can help enlighten us to the many ways we have been deceived.
Plus, to learn The Way correctly, we must read The Word truly wanting to live it, (repenting and changing our lives to implement living the faith into our lives) and read the works by the saints over and over again and seek to emulate them according to God’s will, since if we truly desire to learn, God will be constantly sending us additional grace so we can increase our understanding of The Truth, so re-reading the saints works is most beneficial.
- Preach the truth–we must preach that we don’t have a saving faith the instant we recognize Jesus is Lord or because we pray and do good works. We must teach that we are saved by growing–through God’s grace–from some faith into a true mature saving faith…from a faith of some sorrow for some of our sins (some love for God), into a faith that has TRUE Repentance/Contrition for each and every one of our sins (true love for God)…a faith that can accept God’s saving forgiving mercy instead of rejecting it from still having a liking for sin.
“[Only] those who have grown to maturity [into a saving faith] in the grace of God will find the joy of adopted children in the kingdom of heaven; those who have not grown to maturity [haven’t reached a saving faith] will become God’s enemies and, even though they were once his children [from baptism], they will be punished according to their deeds for all eternity.
–St. Andrew Kim Taegon
Yes, without FIRST preaching that we aren’t automatically with a saving faith and that we must grow into it, we won’t be able to hear, since we are blind, suffering from presumption of salvation: presuming we are saved–even though we can’t read our souls and don’t truly strive to live the faith…that of becoming a perfect self-sacrificing saint.
We must learn how to live for God, by learning how to spend ALL our time doing His will…not by giving part of our lives to God and the rest to the “world [which] is under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19)…making all sorts of plans for pleasure…but we must learn how to become true self-sacrificing saints…working hard, and changing to become holy in every aspect of our lives, as we help others to become saints too. This is what being a Christian is supposed to be: becoming like Christ.
“As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15).
- Teach ONLY TRUE repentance saves; we are saved by the forgiveness of our sins. If we aren’t TRULY sorry for offending God with every sin, we aren’t forgiven. The people MUST hear this or they won’t seek Mercy to help them grow in sorrow.
Sorrow for sinning varies greatly from some sorrow all the way into true sorrow (sorrow that accepts complete forgiveness). If we can’t grow in faith to where we, at least, obtain a saving faith, which is that of having TRUE sorrow for ALL of our sins: a sorrow so great we would rather suffer anything, even death, rather than offend God again even by the slightest sin, we won’t be able to accept God’s saving forgiving mercy (we won’t be saved)…since we still love ourselves over God (prefer to sin rather than to love Him).
Someone can pray for our sins to be forgiven, but if we reject grace and don’t grow in contrition to true contrition, we aren’t forgiven. Christ prayed for both of the criminals being crucified next to him, one grew in contrition and the other rejected it. We must come to embrace it too. To learn more please read, “Can I be Forgiven of One sin But Not All Sins.”It doesn’t matter how many good works we perform, fasts we partake in, money we give, prayers we pray or devotions we have…none of that forgives. Sure these acts of love we perform send us grace and that grace can and should move us, who are humbly looking for true contrition or who can even accept mercy, into a saving faith or at least help us to grow in faith (contrition/love for God), but those acts alone don’t forgive nor can they help to forgive (accept grace) if we are full of pride in our hearts. To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow.”
If we don’t have true sorrow for any sin (big or small) it won’t be forgiven–Yes, the lack of true contrition for offending God by one sins (even venial) damns, since not being truly sorry for offending Our Beloved Lord is an abomination of love; it is a mortal sin to have such little love for God and great love for sin. To learn more please read, “What Are the Mortal Sins.”
We must seek God’s mercy to help us grow in faith to where we would rather suffer death than sin…so we can truly love Him over our sins, if we wish to be saved.
- Preach fear of the Lord; we must come to know the horror of sin. That there are great consequences to our sins, consequences that affect our lives, others and most importantly God and our relationship with Him as we wound His Sacred Heart of Love and reject Eternal Life from our unrepented/unchanged sins. To learn more please read, “What is Fear of the Lord.”
We must preach to others so they will desire to work hard to obtain a saving faith–to leave sin/stop offending God–by giving them the correct goal–to become a perfect self-sacrificing saint–and the motivation (possible death) we need to work out our salvation with the fear and trembling, so to prevent us from falling into being lukewarm.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
These truths need to be continually preached in what we do or say…to maintain a healthy (moderate) amount of fear, like Christ and the apostles preached, since even if we might hear that we need to mature into a saving faith, learn what it is and how to obtain it, most won’t understand or remember it well enough for it to continually move them towards Life. That takes time.What good is it to teach the people how to live the faith, if we don’t have a real convicting reason why we should live it…we might as well not speak at all…it is all in vain.
“In order to amend, we must be led to it by fear of punishment, otherwise, we never should be brought to change our lives.”
Change is hard. We love the world and bounds of its pleasures…leaving them to carry crosses so we can attach to God is going to be very hard. Plus, we have spent our life habitually committing bounds of sin, from having a great liking for sin. Oh, how hard it will be to come to truly hate what we love!
Therefore, to grow in faith to come to truly love God and obtain a saving faith, will take a lot of work. And to work this hard, we will need a really good reason to do it. Therefore, we must give the people a fantastic reason to change, because if we don’t they will die (go to Hell).
“The road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14).
- Desire to preach, only to love God and fulfill His will for the salvation of souls or we will seek to do “good” but our intentions will actually be bad (self-love) and/or we will omit doing good so to please others and keep/win friends.
We aren’t hear to gain friends or help people have a happy life–athiests do that too. Jesus didn’t come to earth to teach us how make people happy. We are here to teach God’s children how to save their souls (love God)…the result, of course, will be a happy life but seeking to bring others to a saving faith (knowledge of their sinfulness and need to repent and change) must be what drives us.
Therefore, since we are all called to be missionaries and “go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel” (Mark 16:15) in our neighborhoods and aboard…to seek out the lost whether they want to be found or not; we must do this, because God wants us in Heaven.
“Proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable [whether you are welcomed or unwelcomed]; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
After the fall of Adam and Eve, there is no other reason for our existence but to see that we and others obtain Eternal Life.
We are not here on earth to have a great time with each other and the world’s pleasures…frankly nothing we do is to be self-serving. “Do nothing from selfishness” (Phillipians 2:3). Please don’t be deceived. “We live for the Lord” (Romans 14:8).
- Be willing to correct, warn and help others; we must be willing to tell others (according to God’s will) in our words and/or actions what they are doing is wrong, warn them of the consequences of unrepented/unchanged sins and help them to obtain God’s mercy (strength) to sincerely desire to amend their crimes against Him. Then He can transform our hard hearts into hearts that can truly love Him. This is how we love God; this is how we obtain salvation and this is done by preaching to enlighten, warn (motivate) and show The Way.
“You shall warn them for me. If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life.
If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong when I place a stumbling block before him, he shall die. He shall die for his sin, and his virtuous deeds shall not be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death if you did not warn him. When, on the other hand, you have warned a virtuous man not to sin, and he has in fact not sinned, he shall surely live because of the warning, and you shall save your own life” (Ezekiel 3:17-21).
- Truly love others–this wonderful, much needed, work of saving souls isn’t always received with the same amount of love as we give. Guiding others away from their sins towards the light can be very hard sometimes, especially if God wills us to speak directly to someone (who doesn’t want help) and we are not an authority figure. This by far is the hardest type of person to speak too.
If we are a person of authority, then we won’t have nearly as challenging of a time as someone who is seen as dust…but much of the time God likes to use the weak to humble the proud–so they can Live.
“God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong [so the proud can repent and change]” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Sometimes we are blessed to help those who are looking for help or those who respect us and most of the time, they will love an appreciate our assistance. But from many’s pride, most can’t tolerate someone under or even equal with them, without invitation, “teaching” them anything, which is tragic, since that is how God teaches us much of the time (which is why we are so blind). These are the ones we should expect to hate us in return.
“Do not reprove the arrogant, lest they hate you; reprove the wise, and they will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8)
But because of this great pride which is in most, when we are loving God’s children (by enlightening them to their sins, which need to be amended and/or The Way), we might be treated poorly, rejected and even sometimes suffer greatly, which is all God’s will for us to learn and grow in faith.
We must expect the proud to not like us in return and even bear false witness against us…for they can’t see black from white (they don’t know good from bad) and can’t bear having what is in the darkness come to the light. But this is the only hope for many…so, according to God’s will, we preach.
We can clearly see someone’s pride and learn how is best to help them from their response to our help (as I explain more in detail later). Do they ignore us, fume in anger at us, etc. We can also see our pride in how we respond to them…so we won’t live in the dark.
But regardless of how we are treated, we absolutely must be willing to forgive and love in return. It doesn’t matter how we are treated; it matters HOW WE TREAT OTHERS. Plus, we can’t just forgive with our words…and still brew over and remember what was done to us after everything is over…That isn’t true forgiveness. Don’t be deceived.
We must truly forgive and understand they act in such an unloving/sinful way since they lack grace…grace we are trying to help them to receive. How can we care about another if we are concerned with how we are treated; if we aren’t understanding; if we aren’t loving them how Christ loves us–great sinners who we are too?
If we are going to preach, it must be from a heart that will carry any cross given to us as we live The Word.
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28)
If we want to save souls, but we don’t have enough grace to tolerate the cross or better yet, love to be hated and have people think poorly about us (knowing the GREAT GRACE that comes from that cross), then preaching with our words to those who don’t want our help and even some who want our help, isn’t for us. We need to seek God for more grace. Serving God take courage and a desire/willingness to suffer–love the cross.
I promise you, if we do this correctly (according to God’s will) some people won’t like us. If everyone likes us, that is a clear sign we are failing. If we are seeking to make others happy while we are preaching, we are dead preachers…so it is better to remain silent.
- Must Obey–if we are speaking the truth and a person of authority (who we have vowed to obey or someone who is in control over us) tells us to stop, then we must obey…of course, that is, if what they are asking doesn’t violate God’s law, but we must understand God values obedience over anything.
“Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities” (Romans 13:10).
The devil, the fullness of pride, can’t humbly obey and carry a cross so to love God. That is impossible. He does what he wants…what he thinks is best. Therefore, we must relent our will, if we are told we can’t do something we want, even if what we are doing is good…obedience is the greatest good, and what the saints have done.
If we aren’t sure what to do….look into the lives of the saints, as our examples. Defiance isn’t The Way. Padrie Pio, at one point in his religious life, was not allowed to celebrate Mass or write books (all of what was very good) but those in authority over him told him he couldn’t. As hard as it was to not be active in his ministry, Padrie Pio didn’t disobey and do what he thought was best; no, he perfectly obeyed and carried his cross for the salvation of souls as long as God willed. This is what we must do too.
This goes without saying, but of course, we must always obey the laws and teachings of the Church (the Cathechism correctly translated written by the saints)…once we start thinking we know better and don’t need to obey, we are suffering greatly from pride and won’t help save souls but lead them towards death.
- Be growing in our personal faith–growing in virtues (patience, self-control, understanding, etc.)–towards maturity in the faith (becoming like Jesus) or or the faith we think we have is really dead and can’t truly help anyone;
- Be humble--know our great need for mercy or our pride will blind us to what is truly good and we won’t love but want to be loved. Then we won’t know what to say or not say, or do or not do;
- Be meek or we will seek to force others to hear instead of enlightening them and/or speak outside of love. But watch out, the devil will try to convince us that much needed directness (like Christ and His disciples spoke at times) isn’t loving or meek, when it most certainly is;
- Grateful for criticism or we won’t be able to grow ourselves and leave our sins so to come to truly preach perfectly since God uses other to enlighten us;
- Have courage or our fears–especially of rejection, ridicule or humiliations–will keep us from serving God the way God wills. Then God’s plans to use us will be lost;
- Endure under tribulation or we won’t persevere under trial, loving the cross, and we will suffer despair and run from our suffering, not rejoice in it;
- Be a person of great humble prayer or our preaching will simply be ineffective, since the devil is combated by grace, which comes from our humble prayers for the souls of God’s children.
- Love of the cross (desire to do penance for our and other’s sins) or our preaching will be in vain as the devil will do all he can to keep the ones we preach to from hearing and/or having the strength to change (from a lack grace) that comes from carrying the cross like Christ did for us.
- Exercise prudence or we will not do things according to God’s will and we’ll be working outside of God’s priorities;
- Tolerant/understanding of others sinfulness (for we too are great sinners) or we will speak out of disgust for others sins and be too harsh in correcting them;
- Be patient or we will stop helping others who simply need more time to convert;
- Be able to learn or we won’t know what to change or do for each particular situation;
- Have self-control or we will speak or act outside of love;
- Be hard working or this job, which is harder than all of the rest, from being a sloth, will be poorly performed.
Please be honest with ourselves or, when we are mistreated/misunderstood, we will seek to prove ourselves right, be approved and have all sorts of reasons from self-love driving our actions. Then God won’t be able to use us to save anyone. If we think we can tolerate abuse because we understand the weakness (lack of grace) of those we are trying to help and the grace that comes from being treated like Christ, then be vigilant in looking for the signs of pride in ourselves, as the devil will try and try hard to sneak into us, so to kill us too. He will work and work even harder on us who seek to serve God and save souls. Therefore, always be alert, for after having preached, we can fall and die too.
Therefore, we must seek to love, not to be loved….but rather to humbly allow ourselves be persecuted/misunderstood…fully understanding, they (those whom we are loving/helping but are offended in return) don’t know what they are doing…for their pride is blinding/killing them. They can’t do any better; yet,from their blindness, they believe they are correct. Tragic!
Please remember, we are only hear to please God…if the whole world hates us, we must remember it hated Jesus too. God will be very pleased with us, if we are truly seeking to love others and are treated poorly in return like Him. Praise God, for we are growing into the image of Christ. But only if we are truly hated for our acts of love…remember the devil is the great deceiver, trying to get us to think we are dong good when it is really evil. Beware!
Proud or Broken?
For anyone to hear The Truth so to want to change, their pride must be crushed. The broken–those suffering greatly because of their sins–don’t need their pride crushed to hear…their suffering has opened their ears.
However, like I said, the proud, must be crushed first before they can hear anything…we can preach and preach to the proud but until their pride is crushed, they will believe you to be dumb and them wise. Truly, God could speak the perfect words of Eternal Life catered exactly for them and they won’t hear anything. The more pride someone is suffering from the more outragious blinding pride they will have…especially towards someone who has no authority speaking to them.
However, if God sends someone of authority to preach The Truth, the rate of comprehension is far greater since one will humble one’s self to authority, but not to someone on the level as dust. But as we know, God calls many of us who are nothing but dust and he also calls many of us who are leaders in the faith.
But regardless of who we are or who we are preaching to…to love/help someone suffering from much proud, their pride must be crushed first by us or someone else or even if they are fearing death…they won’t hear enough to truly repent and change.
But the broken to love/help them, we don’t need to crush their pride, we need to help them carry their cross and after we have showed them we care, then we lead them away from their sins.
Hard, Painful Work
Yes, there is a corrrect way to preach to each persion and each situation.
But much of the time, even when we preach perfectly according to God’s will, when we preach and others simply won’t hear, it can break our hearts…but that doesn’t mean we stop. Perhaps, we do need to stop with our words but that depends upon the amount of blinding pride someone has (their response to the preaching). But regardless, we must be persistent like Christ is with us, but not the kind of persistence that makes someone want to scream at us and tells us to leave them alone. No, the kind of persistence God uses with us.
We can see how Christ and His apostles preached in varied ways. No two circumstances were alike. They did what was the greatest good for each person, group and moment. To preach correctly, we must not preach according to our will but God’s, using the correct temperament, words and actions–one’s of Christ–in the right place during the right time. To not be confused as to what Christ’s temperament is please read, “What Does Evil Look Like.”
Preaching with our words to individuals (who aren’t looking for help), which is quite hard, is very different from preaching to groups, which is far easier, and preaching with the written word to nobody specific is the easiest (like with this web-site). But regardless of who we are preaching to, there is a way which is the greatest good–what Jesus would do (God’s will)–so the most souls can be saved…and there are many lesser goods and even wrong ways to preach driven solely from pride. We want to learn the best way to preach “to save at least some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
One Person Can Save Souls
Truly, souls are dying, especially today since we live in such great darkness. One person’s “yes”, can make the difference between someone being banished to the unquenchable fires of Hell for eternity and being saved. If we can hear, then we must preach…and preach like someone’s life depends on it, because it does!
Truly, nothing else matters if we can’t avoid eternal torment. Look around at our neighbors and our family, reality is most of them…yes, most of them are going to suffer in torment for all eternity if we don’t do something; WE MUST HELP THEM! This is reality!
Yes, with just one man God can use to turn a dying soul towards the path of Life. You can save someone’s soul….well, I should say, God working through you, can save a life. Please don’t cower into silence…allow God to work miracles through you.
“She [riddled in sin] then told him [St. John of the Cross] that she had been tempted sorely, and that she had resolved to fight no longer [to obtain a saving faith]; the attractions of sin has prevailed over the terrors of the judgment to come.
The holy man heard her with horror, and then lifting up his eyes to God, and full of the cost compassionate zeal [for her soul], spoke to the miserable woman of the terrible judgment of God upon sinners, and of the inevitable penalties which awaited her.
She was moved at last, and burst into tears of true contrition, fell upon her knees and cried to God for pardon.”
— Life of St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church
We NEED Fear of The Lord
Today, we don’t have to rekindle one’s fire–to strengthen them–so they will continue to work hard to seek a saving faith: to leave all of the pleasures of the world and their will that they long for and come to true love for God, by gaining a continuous true sorrow/true hatred for our sins, or at least have this faith at the moment of our death, so to win the crown of Life…like St. John of the Cross did.
Tragically, the devil has stolen our fear and the church is falling apart. People think having fear is a lack of faith…we are so confused. Pope St. John Paul II said “do not be afraid” (which was meant for souls truly striving for the crown of Life) but bounds of people, living in the dark, have misinturped that saying and now believe fear is bad even for those who are NOT living a life striving to become a real self-sacrificing saint. To learn more please read “The Blessings of Fear.”
“One has to live in Fear of God [fear of sin], work on the delicacy of conscience [work on our susceptibility to illness (sin) in our conscience]. One needs to keep God’s law, commands and the mystery of justification [from the forgiveness of our sins] always before one’s eyes.”
–Pope St. John Paul II
Horribly, we don’t have servile or finial fear of the Lord. We have complacency with sin instead. We aren’t living the saving faith or even trying to obtain one and are living in blind–in deadly peace (pretending everything is fine), when we are dying, since we are suffering greatly from presumption of salvation. We have been deceived!
Everyone thinks we have God (that we are united with Christ), since we have some faith, when we only have the beginning of faith…no where close to a saving faith, as we prove, since we aren’t leaving sin, our pride or the world and becoming saints, as obedience demands.
No, we habitually commit bounds and bounds of sins, from a great lack of true sorrow for them and are running towards our doom, since we don’t even hate our sins enough to work hard to amend them.
“If you are a habitual sinner [who isn’t working hard to amend them]…You are very ill; you are one of those invalids who, as St. Thomas of Villanova says, are seldom cured [by the prayers of others]; you are on the brink of perdition [Hell].
St. Alphonosus, Doctor of the Church
Therefore, because of the horrible conditions of the Church today, when we preach, we need to start from the beginning, as if we have no faith, because sadly, most are still only in the infancy of our faith…even if we have been “faithful” our entire lives, we just haven’t grown. We have no fear of sinning.
We must “strive to raise the spiritual temperature of the people around you, leading them to live a truly Christian life” as St. Joesmaria Escriva teaches.
As often as we can, according to God’s will, we need to give God’s children a REAL REASON TO CHANGE.
We must know what the consequences are for not amending our ways is. We must know if we aren’t working with all of our hearts to perfectly obey/love God, leaving all we seek for happiness–really striving to become self-sacrificing saints–we don’t really hate our sins and don’t really hate offending God, and are rejecting Gods’ forgiving mercy and choosing Hell instead.
We must know we are dying. Please don’t allow the evil one to silence this truth from our tongues. The whole reason why this web-site has any effect is because I have clearly told the truth and explained why…so our proud hearts can understand.
“Beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 9:10)
Horribly from the beginning of Christianity there has been a big problem with The Truth not being correctly preached. People want to do the right thing, but the devil prides us so greatly into us becoming blind. Then we think we are doing good but it is really bad.
St. Augustine speaks in depth of the poor deceived Shepards, who deceive themselves into thinking they are righteous but are in fact are “wicked” leading many astray to their eternal doom. We don’t want to become one of them, and if we are one of them, we need to repent and change.
“There are VERY FEW healthy and sound sheep, few that are solidly sustained by the food of truth…by his [the shepard’s] wicked life [not truly imitating Christ] he kills even the sheep he had not strengthened but had found strong and hardy [since even the few sheep who were on the correct path have been deceived and are now walking to their doom].”
–St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church
Tragically, as unfathomable as that is, this false truth being spread is far worse today than during the time of St. Augustine.
The most basic teaching of the requirements of salvation are lost. So few truly know The Way…We don’t know what TRUE belief in Christ really is anymore. As a result, we are going off to eternal torment. Horrific!
I hate to think of the punishment that is being incurred upon those God has called to preach/teach the truth, who simply aren’t. I shutter!
“This is what the priests are doing to me in this time…they speak and preach beautiful words in order to win praise for themselves…but not out of love of me…their humility is as Lucifer’s, and they are obedient to their own desires and not me…by their bad example, also lead astray others who want to do my will….They do not care or bother about their obligation for the salvation of souls…[they shall] be locked in eternal torment and anguish.”
–Christ to St. Bridget of Sweden
As a result, if someone were to be so blessed and given the grace to know they need to amend their ways for the salvation of their soul and desired to walk towards the Path of Life, tragically there is simply no one to truly help them (outside of God and the heavenly hosts), since there are so very few who can correctly guide someone to Life.
If today you can hear His voice, harden not your hearts. Do you hear God calling for you to save souls. Then with all courage, run to Him and lets learn how to preach, like nobody has ever preached before, because if we don’t countless souls God was counting on you to save will die.
Please answer God’s call. Your and many others eternities depends upon your, “Yes, Lord.” Therefore, lets work hard to learn and grow in faith so God can use you to save His children. God will give you everything you need to live His will. TRUST IN HIM!
“Good priest benefit souls especially in two ways: first, through the power of the Lord’s body and second, through the love that burns in them.
Qualities Needed to Preach Well
Like I said, there are very specific qualities we need to preach well, so others can hear…so we can open up others hearts and not close them. Outside of knowing the truth. The most important quality to have is a heart that is selfless…that truly wants to help others.
We must remember when we are preaching, we are not preaching so we can be liked or treated well. We don’t need to be treated well in return; we need to treat them well. This isn’t about us, it is about others obtain eternal life.
Therefore, when we are loving someone and showing the The Way, we don’t need to be loved, understood, or respected in return. We need to love, understand and respect. We aren’t here to get love but give it. We must understand another’s lack of grace is the cause of any sin. Have pity of them and not on ourselves if we are given a cross to bear. Bear it with joy.
To preach well, we are to seek the Holy Spirit to try to figure out what we should be thinking, speaking and doing for each person and situation…so we can love them: inspire and guide them to Life, just like Jesus would.
The hard part is defidently trying to figure out what truly loving another is…since it is different for each person and in each situation. Sometimes it is silence, sometimes it is being blunt, oh, the varied ways Christ spoke…we need wisdom to know when and how to preach like Him.
That way when others don’t hear what we are saying, or we are treat badly in return, we won’t be self-concerned…and then act out of fustratation (from our pride) or angry or feel self-pity. We will be selfless and love them like God has loves us.
To do this, we must decide we want to be servants and not seek to be loved…so all we do is for another for the salvation of their soul. Then when we are not liked, as even Christ was not liked by all. Frankly, being disliked is how we should be expected to be treated, especially if we are preaching to an individual who don’t want help. To not be caught into a trap of pride, we should never be moved by friend or fow. People are ficlel one moment they love us and the next they hate us. If we are excited over the praise, we will fall under the ridicule. We can’t be attached to anything but God…doing all for the love of Him for the salvation of souls. We don’t need a single friend, only God alone.
A good mind set to have when working to save souls is, expect others to be angry with us, and then be pleasantly surprised if they aren’t, fulling accepting and loving God’s will.
How to Act Like Christ
For example: Lets say we are in a store and we see a woman treating her four kids very poorly. She is all impatient and discussed with everything. Nothing her children do is acceptable as she yells at them for everything, treating them roughly. Then, seeing this terrible behavior, we begin to feel badly for the children and if we lack a heart of understanding and love, we might start to get angry at the mother. We might want to tell her to calm down and stop abusing her children. Well, that is an option, but is that what Jesus would do?
But then, the rest of us, who don’t like to get involved, who have been deceived into caring more about ourselves (avoiding problems) than helping another, will say nothing just to avoid a possible conflict. But would Jesus do that?
So, what would Jesus do in this situation…stay silent and just think horrible things about this woman…or tell her to stop, that her children deserve better? No, probably neither of them. Jesus, would most likely have pity for the children, but also have pity for the mother, who is obviously struggling with some burden she can’t carry.
This is where most of our love ends. We love the victim but not the sinner. We don’t help others carry their crosses when they are crushing them, much of the time we condemn them instead.
Therefore, when preaching, we must have a heart of love and pity for everyone, especially the sinner. And when we do that, we will approach the mother with love and concern…not criticism. Then instead of her being more frustrated that we butted into her business, she very well might see our love and accept our help. But it really doesn’t matter how she responds…we love because Christ loved us…great sinners too, and calls us to love like He loves us. We do nothing for the smile in return, but to love God by loving His children, and we rejoice in the cross (ridicule) if God allows us such a blessing to occur.
Do we really think this woman needs to be reprimanded right now for her deplorable behavior? Actually, yes, she does. But, only a humble heart, someone, who is looking for their errors–how they aren’t loving or carrying their cross–will be able to tolerate such reprimanding during such a stressing time. Many people can’t tolerate correction ever, never mind while under great distress, that will most likely only worsen her burden. Therefore, when someone is being crushed by their cross, we must first help them carry it before we can guide then to the Light.
So, how do we help someone, who is at their wits end and just can’t tolerate their kids anymore. If it is God’s will, we approach her, as i said, with all love in our hearts for her, saying, “My friend, I can see you are having a hard time. Can I help you?” Sure she might think we are a crazy person or maybe that we want to kidnap her children, but maybe she will turn to us, seeing all the love and concern we have for her in our eyes and say, “Yes, I”m falling apart; I can’t take it any more.”
Then we can let her talk; see what she really needs and help the best we can. Perhaps offer to watch her kids at the park while she takes some time to herself. And then after she has composed herself, we can, if God wills, speak about God’s healing love, perfect peace and salvation that is waiting for her, when she turn away from sin and trusts in God. But regardless if we are given the opportunity to preach with our words, we always leave praying for the salvation of their souls, preaching with our thoughts.
This is how we act like Christ. We love others and help them, not because we want to be good (athiests like to be good too), not because we enjoy helping others, not because we God will bless us, not for any reason but to love God through loving our neighbor for the salvation of souls.
When others are hurting and need help, from our compassion for man we should see their need and seek to help them, knowing God allowed them to be in our presence not just so we can make today better for them, but to also, most importantly, help them to obtain a saving faith. It are souls like these, crushed by their sins, sadness, tragedy, etc., who are most open to hearing the Word of God and able to accept grace, if we seek to help them according to God’s will with all love and humility in our hearts.
Learn The Way – Live The Way
The number one quality we need to preach well–to truly do what Jesus did–is of course to learn The Truth (The Way) correctly. Countless people are guiding others right into darkness and don’t even know it. People what to help others, but if we don’t truly know The Way, we will be guiding others to their doom instead. We don’t want to do that.
If we aren’t removing bounds of sins ourselves, increasing in trust and growing in wonderful virtue: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then we still haven’t found The Way ourselves and can’t correctly guide anyone else to The Light.
How can we teach anyone how to follow The Way, amend their life so to find the Path to Life for the salvation of their soul, if we don’t know it ourselves? We can’t
Therefore, learning The Way–and living it–is the first and most important quality to preaching well. Oh, please don’t be deceived. We might have gone to school and learned fantastic theology, and have great knowledge of the faith, but that isn’t necessarily The Way. Plenty of us have been taught quite wrong.
Plus, we can hear the true Word, if we are still shrouded in sin. Truly if we aren’t constantly amending our life so to one day perfectly live the Word, then we don’t really know The Way. It is our sins that block us from truly understanding it…therefore, no matter how knowledgeable we believe we are, if we aren’t daily growing into the likeness of Christ, we simply don’t know it.
So we need to go back and learn the faith again…from the saints and then modify our lives accordingly so we can become true teachers of the faith.
“You have become sluggish in hearing. Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food. Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).
We don’t necessarily need to know great theology to save souls…we just need to know the requirements of salvation and be able to preach with our own lives, as I will explain.
I’m not saying we need to understand The Way as wonderfully as one of God’s saints–living it perfectly–but we must learn it well enough to where we know what it really takes to become saved and have successfully removed some of our sins–proving we know how to obtain grace and how to discern good from evil–and are continuing to remove sin after sins striving for perfection.
We must have proof our knowledge of the faith is true. Then we can go out and serve God saving souls.
Therefore, if we aren’t successfully removing sin after sin growing in wonderful virtue (qualities of goodness) and we want to preach…wait. We must wean ourselves off of God’s milk and grow enough to at least to be on some solid food. So, please learn The Way or re-learn The Way and begin to live it first before we preach.
Then from seeking God, we will learn how to obtain God’s transforming grace and become able to teach it to others…We will know what works and what doesn’t from our own efforts in succeeding and failing to remove our wretchedness.
Truly, would we want to learn how to paint from someone who only read a book on how to paint or would we want to learn from someone who conquered the many problems the arise with composing a successful painting and is now an accomplished painter. Therefore, before we can successfully preach The Way, we must learn how to live the faith first (or at least some of it correctly), if we want to successfully teach someone else how to live it and obtain a saving faith because wrongful preaching only leads people to their doom.
Must Preach for the Love of God
After we have learned The Way, we can really want to save souls, but if we can’t get our intentions in proper order and preach for the love of God alone to fulfill His will, our preaching will end up leading us into sin and failing.
I can’t express how important it is to be willing to die so to serve God and save souls–wanting nothing but His will.
Our work will seem good but fall into sin…guaranteed, if we get tangled up in seeking anything but to Love God by doing His will, like wanting:
- success in our preaching (hoping for success in our prayers, words or actions)
- conversions (desiring conversions),
- friends to preach with us (seek help, companionship and supporters),
- approval of others (boost our confidence with praise and admiration of others),
Success-If we aren’t careful, when success happens, we will begin to crave it. Who doesn’t like being successful? Oh, lets say someone converts, someone complements us, people begin seeing us a holy…oh, that is exciting and can be good. But with everything good, the devil does his best to twist it and make it into something to pride ourselves with. Then the good winds up destroying our souls. Beware!
We must let go of all desire for anything but God’s will.
If we allow the devil, he will take what is good and see to it we make our success into an attachment–something we long for–an idol. Then we will be seemingly doing “good” on the outside to everyone around us but inside our “good” will be derived and driven by sin, which injures God’s Sacred Heart–doesn’t actually serve Him–causing all sorts of loss of grace and the ruin of works (even if they appear successful).
Plus, when failure happens, from wanting success, we will become upset, fall into despair…or disappointment to say the least. Then, we will clearly see how we have made success our idol–what we long for or need to make us happy. This longing for our will will stifle our progress too, since we took our eyes off of serving God and seeking His will alone and sought our own will. Instead of living for God, we will want things to go the way we desire, as if our will is The Way. Oh, how foolish we can become.
When success doesn’t happen, which is of course God’s will, we must stay strong, trust in God, learn God’s lessons (as there is a lesson in all moment to grow and change towards greater holiness in the good and especially the bad), then accept His wonderful grace and modify our life.
When failure happens, God has a plan listen for if. Perhaps it is to continue to preach the truth even if only a few people can hear a little or even if nobody hears at all. Yes, sadly, with this work, much of the time, we will wind up not appearing to reap any benefits as most people are too hardened in the heart to truly hear.
Such a reality will rip out our hearts, and we will cry for souls as we see people just ignore our warnings and continue to live their life for the world, not repenting of their sins.
“Why do you cry?” a brother asked St. Padre Pio, “Why should I not cry seeing humanity damning itself at all cost.” Biography of St. Padre Pio
Nonetheless, if God allows it, it is His will, therefore we accept it. However, trust in Him and patiently wait for what God wants us to do next and continue to pray especially since sometimes conversion takes a while to happen. Along this journey to save souls, perhaps God will want us to stop preaching with our words and just preach in our prayers and actions…but no matter what we do, we must continue to preach and do what we can for others to learn The Way.
Conversions-To truly love/serve God and preach well, we must never put hope in anyone converting as our goal for our efforts. We must do all simply for the one reason–to love God for His will alone. That is it. Sure we can desire for everyone in the world to be saved, but our true desire–what we really long for–is for God’s will alone.
If God wills to use us for one person to truly convert, great! If He wills 20 million to convert, great! If He wills nobody to convert, great! Yes, whatever God wills is great! We are simply called to serve Him however He wills, success or not.
However, if we are actively seeking the salvation of souls and nobody is growing in Fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences) and moving towards the Light…one must take a good, honest look as to why that is occurring so we can learn from all moments as God intends. (I speak about this later in this article.)
Friends-A great trap we fall into that is opposed to loving God is seeking to make others happy, avoid conflict and have people like us; in other words, wanting friends. We must learn how to banish those sinful desires before we can have any real success in our preaching. To learn more please read, “What is God’s plan for Family, Friends and Salvation.”
Truly, we must seek to love only and be OK with others not liking us. No where in the Word does it say we are to seek to make others happy…not once–that isn’t true love. Yet, bounds of people spend all their days trying to put a smile on others faces as if that is the love God taught us…it isn’t.
We are to seek to save souls and preach the truth. If that makes someone happy and they want to be our friend great, but if not that is fine as well. That is what Jesus did. That is how we love God. People pleasing is only from the deception of the devil to fill us with misguided love for another so we don’t say and do what is needed for the salvation of their soul.
Truly, we are more in danger of falling into great sin if we have just one person befriend us than if the whole world hated us. So beware. Far better to be rejected by all than to have just one supporter if we lack great humility. Don’t crave supporters/friends. The incredible humility one must have to have supporters/friends and not fall into great deadly pride is a terrifying reality. Therefore, trust in what God wills…don’t seek friends.
Approval–When someone likes us and approves of what we are doing or saying, especially if it is someone we reverence, it is very hard to not want their repeated kindness and approval. Just like with seeking friends, wanting conversions or desiring anything that is opposed to God’s will–wanting to be approved by others leads to the loss of God’s fantastic peace, when we don’t get the approval we desire.
We might not realize it, but to do all for God’s approval alone is quite the surrender of one’s will. It won’t come overnight, but with repeatedly repenting and seeking God’s grace crying out “Lord, only You I want…only You!” Focusing on loving others and seeking nothing in return, being willing to carry any cross God allows is the way our preaching won’t be tainted with evil.
However we should know, that prideful pleasure, of wanting praise, can easily become an attachment which causes us to do things solely for the approval of others, because we are now craving the gratification their approval brings. But from our hidden pride most won’t see it. Please beware.
The desire for approval is a most dangerous of desires. If we aren’t careful, our self-seeking attitude will wind up tainting every action we do. This is an issue I speak about in “How to See My Sin.”
This problem is so great, but most will never see that our desires for self-glory are controlling our life choices. But, they can control us so much to where we won’t preach how we are called to preach. We will change what we should say to gain approval, preach with a modified truth, veiled truth or not even say the truth at all, just so we can protect our fan club–even if it is just one person.
Rather than love God and preach the truth, if we seek the approval of others, we will choose to stay mute and prefer others stay in darkness or being misguided–walking to their eternal death–all so we can be approved and avoid conflict. So tragic!
“Those who risk all for God will find that they have both lost all [in the world] and gained all [Eternal Life].”
—St. Teresa of Avila
Truly, many would rather not teach someone about Fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences) nor truly explain what is needed to obtain a saving faith, if there could be a potential conflict.
What kind of horrific punishment awaits us for such a crime against humanity! We MUST banish all desires of self-love to preach well so to save our and other’s souls.
This love of ourselves over others is so great, people will even allow their family members to die, even the ones we are supposed to be honoring and never say a word…all to avoid potential problems. So horrible. We don’t truly love others, but ourselves. When we do this we are guilty of a horrible crime against God and our neighbor.
We must truly love others and be willing to suffer for the love of them. This is how we preach like Christ and His saints, who truly loved and saved souls.
Of course we are not to intentionally upset others nor speak without tackfulness (which I speak about later) but in whatever we do ask ourselves, are we REALLY loving how God would love…with the truth spoken the way we need to hear?
Truly Love Others
How can we preach like Christ if we don’t truly love others. Truly loving another is to want what is best for someone even if it hurts us for them to obtain it. When someone does what is wrong or is following the path of darkness, we must enlighten them to The Way. That is true love…the love God showed us.
“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
This is very hard as most, from a lack of grace, take enlightenment to ones sinfulness in a negitive light, but the humble, who have ears that can hear will be glad their evil deeds were exposed so they can repent and change. However, for the proud, they will reject the truth, try to cover it and even respond with anger as such reality.
If we try to guide someone to the light the best we can, we will learn how humble they are from their responses to correction. Then we will learn what we need to do to try to humble them enough so they can become open to the truth that saves. For many this takes time, but if we want to save souls this is what we must do.
What is the greatest gift we can give someone…the salvation of their soul. Now we can’t directly give that to anyone, but we can give them the next best thing…we can teach them The Way and provide them with enlightenment of their sinfulness so they can more easily work toward a saving faith.
God provides us with different opportunities to preach (truly love others). Each one is unique so there is no specific direction I can give to help us in each situation. But one fact remains the same: some people will love and really want our gift and some people won’t and then there will be all of the people in-between.
The ones who love our gift, will see what God has done for us, and they will want His transforming miracles in their life. We will speak to them, and they won’t want to argue with us to try to prove they are right or just brush off what we are saying. They will hear the truth and feel the love and seriousness of the matter from God speaking to them through us. They will want our gift. We won’t have to go to them over and over again to beg them to transform. They might even come to us, not for attention, but they might come over and over again for us to help them obtain a saving faith. They have ears that can hear and are humble.
While others, from their great sickness (great blinding sinfulness), will not see our greatest gift to them as a gift at all and will actually think we are disrespecting them and not in fact loving them. They will be offended. They won’t see God’s wonders in our life, because they can only see through distorted lenses which can’t see good from bad. Horribly the Light–the greatest gift we can give someone–will be given to them, and they will reject it…even despise us for it. But we still must love them…especially if they persecute us in return. God perform’s miracles through love.
How to Love-Since we and the one’s we are trying to help suffer from much pride, it makes it is very hard to truly love others. To truly love someone else we must have all of our pride die, but we have much pride. So what are we to do?
Well, Jesus gave us an example of what true love is, which we must strive to follow. Are we REALLY willing to do what Jesus did for another? Are we willing to proclaim the truth soley to love God and Christ who lives in each one of His children…even if it is for someone who we don’t really like? Are we willing to be hated by all and even die to preach the Word that saves?
“Yes!” our excited spirit to serve God might resound. But from our weakness, the first time someone speaks poorly to us, about us or no longer wants to be our friend, from a lack of grace, most won’t rejoice in the cross.
Honestly, how are we going to react when someone goes around from their self-pity, changing the truth, speaking evil about us, telling others what a horrible unloving, self-righteous person we are, when all we tried to do was love them? Are we going to silently endure this cross, praise God for such mistreatment, truly forgive and pray for our offenders salvation? We should.
However, most will have their own self-pity, become angry, seek to reduce what we said so others don’t stay offended or try to prove we are right. Perhaps we will put them down and try to build ourselves up. Aw, many will become just like those we are tying to save…who have little grace, because we have such little grace too. But to preach the true Word for the salvation of souls that takes MUCH GRACE.
Without much grace when the cross of Our Lord comes, most won’t seek to love our neighbor but ourselves. Tragically, if we lack much of grace, our efforts to save souls won’t wind up to enlighten the blind–to save them–but for self-love to prove our righteousness and correctness.
Some people who try to preach the Word but aren’t ready will leave and never try to help (truly love) someone again who treats them badly. Sadly, many have so little willingness to suffer for another.
Sometimes it takes time for hearts to soften. We may need to try many many things to try to figure how someone can hear, and we must be willing to be treated poorly along the Way.
What are we willing to endure to truly love someone and help save their soul from eternal torment?
“When you correct someone–because it has to be done and you want to do your duty–you must expect to hurt others and to get hurt yourself [what a small price to pay to help save a soul]. But you should never let this fact be n excuse for holding back.” –St. Josemaria Escriva
Even if we have much grace, horribly some people, even in our own families, we will just have to leave–outside of praying and sacrificing for them.
“Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10).
Sadly there are some people who will be so hard in the heart that nothing we do or say can get them to reduce their pride enough to hear anything at all. “Neither will they be persuaded [to amend their lives] if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31). They just won’t hear.
Tragically, they may even become completely opposed to us and the truth–the Word–we preach. To our surprise, from their horrible blindness they suffer, they will truly believe they are correct and justified in their behavior even as they persecute us. But with God’s grace we will still love them…just without words.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.” Matthew 10:34-36
But for some, who can obtain ears that can hear, if we don’t grow weary waiting for their conversion, and keep on reaching out to them, little by little as God wills, they will start to hear and change and continue to change, much of the time needing us to spur them along, and move closer and closer towards a saving faith. Hopefully they will obtain it before their hour comes. Praise Jesus!
Therefore just because someone didn’t convert right away, doesn’t mean they won’t ever change. Sometimes we will have to say the same thing over and over again…just in different ways, along with our many prayers, fasting and sacrificing for them, then God’s grace will finally take effect.
Bear the Cross for Souls
Preaching effectively so at least those who have ears to hear or those who one day can have ears can be given the opportunity to repent and change to be saved is what Jesus did for us and that is what following Him is all about, but get ready to suffer.
If we don’t wish to suffer with Christ, then preaching the truth isn’t for us. This we must understand so we don’t run when crosses of various kinds come along as they most certainly will.
If we think we are preaching the truth and saving souls, but we don’t have great crosses like Our Lord and His disciples had suffered, then we simply aren’t preaching the way Christ has done. If we are preaching correctly, we will suffer and suffer just like Our Lord and His saints have experienced.
When we are preaching, we must understand we are preaching to those with illnesses (like ourselves)…who are tainted with pride, perversions and all sorts of issues that keep them from hearing correctly and that can cause them to react in all sorts of horrible ways.
Just like with Christ, the more we speak–especially with clear words directed towards an individual (rather than a group) the more we will suffer.
Most people don’t want their sinfulness and need to repent and change brought into the light. The Light came into the world, but horribly the people prefer the darkness.
This is especially true if we, who are preaching, are considered nothing in the eyes of others. People of authority won’t have as many problems as those who are considered beneath others.
You see, people from their great pride can become even more infuriated when someone as lowly as us preaches The Way to someone who considers themselves so much above us. They won’t see our love, but from their pride, think we are offending them.
Just like with Herodias (Herod’s wife), she was outraged when John the Baptist brought her sin to the light so she could see her evil and great need to repent and change. Therefore, we too should expect similar responses. Sadly when God sent the truth to Herodias to help save her, she greatly lacked humility, demanded respect and was horribly offended at John the Baptist’s words of truth so much so that she sought to kill him for such an offence against her pride.
Instead of praising God for sending someone to enlighten her to the darkness that lived within, so she may have real hope for eternal life, she allowed the evil one to consume her in prideful anger, and she chose to destroy the greatest man ever born of a woman.
When God calls us to speak the direct clear truth, even what might seem to be the harsh, like John the Baptist, sure most won’t want to literally chop off our heads for bringing to light what has been in the dark but I tell you, many of the proud will want to cause us pain for exposing their misery (sending them guilt or having them believe they are being falsely accused which produces pain).
Since most just don’t want to be humbled, many refuse to admit their sin even if we bring it right in front of their face. They will lie–and believe it and are compelled to boost their egos and seek revenge instead of humble themselves and repent.
The proud, who reject grace are under the power of the evil one greatly. They will even when seeking to harm us, spread lies about us all from their great blindness. Sadly they will truly believe those delivering the truth are the one’s at fault and causing them harm. They are suffering in such a horribly misery. They will think they have every right to their behavior. Oh, the misery of blinding pride!
Now that we have been blessed and can see The Way and want to preach, we very well might understand this horrible behavior clearly, as we too, before our conversion, might have behaved just the same. But someone loved us enough to guide us to the Light, even if it was just Jesus, now is our opertunity to love others too.
Are we willing to suffer to save souls? Without self-sacrificial love, we won’t really preach–not the way Christ and the saints have done…not in a way that can save our or other’s souls.
But when preaching the last thing we want to become is like an overbearing parent, who constantly corrects and preaches with his words always criticizing, “teaching” and putting down others, but yet, he thinks he is loving and helping, but he isn’t. That isn’t love. That is pride and it hurts others.
We need to realize being a preacher doesn’t mean we are now everyone’s parent. When a child grows up they are not to be parented but loved, helped and shown another way, sometimes by our words but mostly by our example. Sure sometimes we might need to be bold, like Christ and the saints to wake others up, but that surely won’t be our constant mannerisms.
Many of us know people, perhaps we are one of them, who come across as know-it-all’s. Have we ever had, lets say, a boss, a spouse, a parent or an in-law come tell us the vast things we are doing wrong in our lives and then tell us how we can do them so much better. Or, have we been caught into this same trap ourselves and lets say, we have gone over to our grown child’s house and told them many of the things we think they are doing wrong with their house or raising their children? Or, have we had a superior, who we spent out time critizing (in our minds) for all of the faults we see in him.
At times, do we think we are so much better than others? Has pride caught us? Well, for many, if we can be honest with ourselves, it has. But when we “help” in such a way, we are deceived into believing we are truly “helping” others, but we aren’t.
Now, when we encounter someone with this controlling, prideful personality, we will want to run from them. And if we do this, people will want to run from us too. And the reason we feel this way, is because we are “helping” us from a heart of pride, not true love. To learn more please read, “How Does Our Pride Kill Us.”
Sure, sometimes the person trying to enlighten us might be truly acting like Christ and we are really the one’s with the greater problem, who can’t bear anyone enlightening us to our faults (from our pride), but much of the time, the main problem with preaching is with the person doing the preaching. They aren’t doing it from a heart of real love, who truly wants to save souls. And that pride is what kills our works and makes them derived from sin.
There are different ways of speaking to different people and different ways to approach different audiences. Frankly, the style of preaching we need for each situation is so unique that I go into greater detail later in this article, but their isn’t a clear cut formula for any one event. But knowing what to say and when to say it is vital to truly loving one another and guiding them to Life.
Therefore, we want to to rid all pride from our preaching so God’s love can work through us. The key to doing this well is to see that every word we utter is done to HELP another (with the ultimate goal being their salvation). Oh, but we must stop and pause, because like I said, the proud believe they are “helping” too, but from their illness, they can’t see reality, so removing our prideful thinking must come first, so we don’t help others wrongly.
Ways we incorrectly (with pride) help others:
- criticize (we are too harsh with our words, since we lack understanding, patience and love)
- tell someone their wrongs to benefit ourselves (we don’t want someone to continue to offend/hurt us or we are looking for respect, self-pity, an apology, etc…not with the intention to help them change for their salvation)
- correct others from being intolerant of another’s lack of grace (lack knowledge of our own sinfulness and need for mercy)
- correct while have enjoyment in finding and pointing out the faults in others (we use this as a tool to build up our own blinding pride–all sorts of sinful slander comes from this),
- act like we are better (when we are no better than any other sinner–we lack self-knowledge),
- treat them like we are a parenting a young child (as we seek power, which is degrading),
- speak outside of meekness, like we are a demanding authority full of knowledge (even if we are, with authority and knowledge, we shouldn’t speak in such a way),
- seek to hurt them (make them feel bad), punish/teach them a lesson (wanting other to feel bad for making us feel bad is a vengeful attitude of unforgiveness–where are wanting others to feel bad for their sin so they will seek to repent to God is very good),
- want to prove ourselves right or better (which is mostly how the devil traps us–beware…look for this sin…we don’t like to be seen as less and will seek to crush those who correct, wrongfully accuse, offend or challenge us–that is a lack of love for them)
- desire to get them to do what we want or what we are doing, without considering what is really best for them (as if our way is what is best for everyone; we do this to justify our sins much of the time)
- pester them…thinking, from our great knowledge, they will surely change if we just tell them one more time their sins (from a lack of trusting in God to work through moderatation, we go over board, thinking it is by our words that people will hear, when conversion comes from God’s grace, when we do His will is when the greatest good can occur…this nagging also makes resentment, drives others away and shuts ears even more tightly)
We want to reject doing all of the above. We want to only say what is best for our neighbor. But to do that we need to honestly look into ourselves to see how many of these pridefull qualities we have. Then pray and pray a lot for help to remove them and stay alert, constantly seek an attitude of humility and love so we can serve God well. Praying, “I’m hear to help not hurt…show me how to love.”
When we can’t tolerate others wrongs and lead them to Life according to where they are in their spiritual life (what they can or can’t do), our efforts to help will be in vain. Sure everyone should be perfect, but we can’t get there instantly so helping someone take baby steps is where we need to begin. The challenge is to learn what others can or want to do, and help them along the path they can take, if they can begin to walk at all.
But of course, just like with Christ’s preaching, sometimes gentle baby steps aren’t what is best especially if all other means to convert have lead to nothing or if we are dealing the the very arrogant, then if God wills, it might be best to be blunt and direct, which might appear like we are lacking meekness and criticzing someone, but we are simply doing God’s will, because they can’t hear any other way. But, as I discuss this later, our preaching no matter what we say or do must be directed by the Holy Spirit for God’s will to be done if we desire something truly good to to come from any of our words and actions.
When we first begin to preach with our words, after we gain a good amount of the first five virtues, we should only speak a little…especially until we acquire great humility and much meekness.
With each interaction we do have, we must contemplate what occurred so to learn what worked and what didn’t…so to repent and change with what sins we committed and grow in faith. There is so much to learn, more than I could fill in volumes of books. We will learn mostly from our failures, if we want too. we have to look for our errors.
Each of these qualities I listed in the beginning that we must have to preach well, and grow towards perfection from each time we preach, if we seek God (His grace and lesson).
Sometimes the rejection we might receive from others isn’t just from them rejecting The Way or not liking what we said, sure that can be part of it but perhaps they couldn’t hear the message correctly because of how we delivered the message. Therefore, whenever someone is angry with us, we need to not look to see if we can improve, if we delivered God’s message of love and truth how Jesus would speak His message or did we fall short on some level. Now this is challenging as sometimes Jesus was blunt and other time He spoke in parables or didn’t speak in His words at all, but we know all He did was the best for each persons salvation. at them but look at us and see if we are in deed at fault. Perhaps, in our efforts to love and preach the truth we actually weren’t meek, didn’t have humility–understanding of the other’s faults–or lacked some other quality to preach well. Then we need to apologies and make right our wrong if possible.
At first when we try to preach, until more grace is received, we will fail to preach how we should. If we fail to love how Christ loves that is OK. But we must be truly sorry and seek to do what is necessary to grow in grace, make right our wrongs and make resolutions to amend that sin so it doesn’t happen again.
If we can’t do the above, then this job of being a disciple of Christ isn’t yet for you. Pray, fast and do what you can for others, obtain more grace and then go out and be a true self-sacrificing servant for the salvation of souls.
Our focus must be to seek to do what God wills, doing everything for the love of Him. This is first done by bring to light our desire for self-love and then running to God for grace to banish that longing…proclaiming with all of our heart, “Only You I want, Lord…only You,” as we reject any desire for even the slightest kindness from another.
However sadly some of us, who know some of The Way, won’t love others from fear alone that a cross might come. Many won’t follow Christ and truly love His children with the truth because they have allowed the devil to conjure up all sorts of excuses as to why the clear truth isn’t good to preach. Sure we are supposed to think before we preach and approach everyone differently (as I speak about later), but many will be convinced it is better to have many friends/supporters than just a few true friends…that the people can’t hear anything if they leave. If we have a ministry, we will wonder how we will function if so many leave from hating the truth. But that isn’t what Jesus did.
Where is our trust in God?
Who says everyone is going to leave? Oh, the devil has caught us with fear. Either we preach a dead word driven by the devil or we let go of fear, and allow the Spirit of truth to flow through us and preach the true words of Everlasting Life.
Sure, the saints who preached in churches suffered but after they suffered a little, they had the churches packed with the people who were longing to hear the true words of Everlasting Life. The people are waiting for the truth. They want to be saved. Lets save them!
Don’t Be Someone Who Speaks but is Still Mute
Horribly, because of the great darkness we live in, there are bound of souls, who know nothing about how to obtain a saving faith and are dying an eternal death. We must do more.
“I don’t know how we can be calm, when we see Satan carry so many souls daily away.”
–St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church
Souls are dying but tragically most are mute. If we know the truth and speak, sadly most speak so gently so veiled that nobody can hear any message at all…nothing that will give them any fear of the Lord or awaken them to the fact that they are walking to their doom.
Horribly, from our self-love, we shrink from preaching boldly for fear of being rejected. Now there are some, we have no problem with preaching boldly but they lack true love for the people and preach without meekness. We obtain much of God grace to preach like Christ, with all love for the salvation of souls.
We must learn and preach the Way with conviction and love for souls; most of the sheep are very lost.
Preaching the truth, with all love for lost souls, is how we love God. If we can hear God calling us fantastic. God has a plan for us to serve Him for the salvation of souls. He just has us going about doing this in different ways, but the goal is the same the salvation of His beloved children.
Today because we live in a time of great darkness, we are so deprived of the truth. Therefore, we need disciples, who have ears that can hear, with courage to speak, who want to give their lives to God without concern for themselves and save souls.
We must remove our self-love and not be concerned if someone will love or hate us and preach the life saving truth, all for God’s honor and glory. Our sins of omission allowing so many of God’s children to remain in great darkness. If God gives us ears and we don’t preach the truth, truly God will hold us accountable for their loss. God calls us to preach and we must preach the CONSEQUENCE OF SIN.
If we understand the Way (at least enough to help others) and can speak it in a loving intelligible way, we are responsible to preach with words…especially today since the need is so great and the greatest way we can hear is through direct clarity as most aren’t even looking to know the truth nor know they need a saving faith to live.
“Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary.”
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church
Some of us might be preaching, and that is wonderful, but it is rare if the devil hasn’t muted our tongue or veiled our words so we can avoid confrontation for our benefit. Few preach like the saints with clarity and tell God’s children what will happen if we don’t live the Way. Most are quite guilty of not giving God’s children Fear of the Lord (fear of sin). So few are willing to love God enough to preach Fear of the Lord and give people an understanding of the consequences of sin. As a result of such lukewarm preaching, there are hardly any of God’s children who know the Way and are seeking a saving faith. Sadly, most don’t even know we need such a faith to live.
But if you are up for the challenge and want to serve God and as a result of your service to God, save your own soul, then Praise God. Your and others souls will hasten towards the Light for salvation and can become part of the “few”.
But like I said, this work of saving souls, requires carrying huge crosses. Just like Our Lord told His disciples.
“I have told you this [suffering to come] so that you may not fall away [before you have the grace to delight in such suffering]” (John 16:1).
Truly, this ministry of “go[ing] into the whole world and proclaim[ing] the gospel” (Mark 16:15) is full of pain. Once we clearly tell people what will happen if we don’t truly strive to obey or we try to enlighten them to their sinfulness…when we preach the truth and tell others they don’t appear to be even close to having a saving faith, many, who don’t want to hear, will send us much suffering. Many people don’t want to know they are choosing Hell and don’t want to be told if they are.
“Don’t judge me!” they will call out…as they can’t bear having their sin brought to the light, as they try to convince themselves we are judging them and the one in error so to not see their guilt.
Oh, but if we don’t bring others sins to the light, warn them of the consequences of their sins and teach them what is a saving faith and how to obtain it, they will surely die, and we will be to blame as God has commanded us to preach His entire plan of merry and justice for the salvation of souls.
“I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood [eternal death] of any of you, for I did not shrink [from fear of persecution] from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God” (Acts 20 26-27).
Of course enlightening someone to their sinfulness and telling someone what is a saving faith and what isn’t, isn’t rashly judging anyone at all. Jesus and His true disciples did that. To learn what the sinful judging is that God speaks about in the Word please read the article “What is So Wrong With Judging?”
But, until God blesses us with much grace, this pain people deliver us for loving them will be hard to bear. But stand strong…grace is coming through trust. Then after we receive God’s fantastic strength, we will rejoice in our suffering as God’s holy will for us and for the salvation of souls. But until then, pray–don’t abandon preaching the Way, unless of course our crosses are crushing us (from a lack of grace)–then seek God’s strength from humility, receive His grace and preach again, trusting in God to deliver us the strength needed to correctly and joyfully serve Him as He has called us to do.
Most Don’t Hear
Sadly when we do preach, with all love for the salvation of souls, we will cry out to souls as we preach–in our prayers, actions and words–crying and crying for them to wake up from their sleep of death, and yet, hardly anyone will hear well enough to understand the seriousness of what is at stake nor understand with enough conviction to truly want to leave the world and strive with all our hearts to turn from sin and seek only God and His will alone–by way of the cross. Most simply can’t hear.
Sadly, no matter what we say (in our prayers, actions or words), most will reject the grace God is sending them and still believe they are already doing well enough..that their prayers, devotions and/or good works will save them, when so many are still rejecting God’s saving mercy from liking some horrid sin instead of God and His saving love.
But if we want to serve God and preach, we simply must be willing to endure this cross that will come…for there are a few elect who God wants to use us to bring to the Light so they can be saved. If we say no to God’s call and don’t bravely speak, souls we were called to save will die. Can we imagine, we will be the cause of someones eternal torment. Can there be anything more horrible than that?
On a wonderful note, after we do say yes and preach during the good and the bad, even some of those who persecuted us from their lack of grace and great blindness, if we persist in all patience, meekness and love seeking their salvation through our prayers, actions and words (as God’s wills), just like God has done for us, who have persecuted and reject Him just the same–some of our persecutors might finally accept God’s grace and see their great need to repent and change. Praise Jesus! Truly, we must be there for those who can hear or eventually hear. Our brave preaching will save their and our souls too. Eternity is forever!
The More We Preach the More We Will Suffer
Learn What is the Greatest Good
Yes, we must preach clearly, but, we must also know sometimes God preached silently (in prayer) and sometimes He was very direct and called others lairs and hippocrates, but all of the time He did what was best for each person’s individual needs for their greatest chance of conversion. Sometimes silence is best and other times we must strive to get through others great denial of their sinfulness with the clear direct truth.
To do this correctly, we need to pray and pray a lot, so the Spirit of Love can guide us, while learning what to say and what not to…what is truly the greatest act of love for our neighbor…since we are to seek to love and convert not to make war or prove we are correct. Arguing and defending our selves (to prove we are right) should never exist…Jesus didn’t do that. Humbly take the abuse and false witness preached against us just as Christ did…sure the “proud men [will] smear me with lies” (Psalm 119), but I promise trying to prove we are right…our arguing–even the best of arguments–won’t soften hearts even if we can crush someone’s ill-logic with the truth…guiding someone to the Light with loving/clear words of concern (sometimes soft, sometimes harsh) but with meekness and love is the only way.
But since we, who are preaching, are still great sinners ourselves, as we try to proclaim the Gospel and fail to love how Christ loves (as most certainly will happen), we must repent, forgive ourselves for our sinfulness, and learn from each moment, growing from God’s grace and changing, so we can one day truly grow into God’s image and preach the perfect Way as God intends for us to do.
“This covering [atoning for sin] is charity [love], the readiness to die for God [do what ever is necessary to save souls], and even – if it were possible – to be separated from God for the sake of the salvation of one’s brethren. This kind of charity covers all sins [makes saints], preserves the virtues, placates God’s wrath, makes all things possible, frightens demons away, and is the joy of angels” (The Blessed Mother to St. Bridget of Sweden).
Humility Suffers in Silence
To serve God well, we must be humble and the humble who are rejected, ostracized, mocked, beard false-witness against, looked down upon, accused of being self righteous and have nobody understand them but God, suffer all of this in silence. As St. Anthony Mary Clare teaches, we must “bear in silence [not seeking pity or consolations from man] for the love of God all the harassment which your state of life [living the faith] carries with it, and all the troubles coming to you from Divine Providence [God’s will for our good].” Truly, if we love God and want to save His children, we will be more than willing to endure whatever God wills silently, all with the hopes of someone being able to correctly hear, and learn how to love Our Lord so to be with Him for eternity.
Learn How to Be Silent
When we do begin to preach, we will be rejected and hurt by others. Those of us who are still lacking much grace will not rejoice in our suffering silently. Some will become angry and maybe even reject and treat poorly those who have rejected us. Or depending upon what kind of issues of pride we are suffering from, we might want to prove we are right or maybe perhaps we will seek to re-gain one’s approval (for self-love reasons). These sinful behaviors are very harmful to the work of saving souls and must be rid of before the devil destroys some or all of our efforts.
Of course, we, who are great sinners ourselves, have no right to be angry at anyone for their sinfulness. We are to show mercy: forgive, love and understand their weakness. Truly we are no better (we just perhaps sin differently). We also should never strive to prove we are right for the sake of winning an argument because we don’t want to be seen as wrong. Humble ourselves. Our pride must decrease so God’s glory can shine not our self-love. Only God will save through humility. Nor should we seek to re-gain someone’s approval because we are unwilling to be rejected or not liked by someone. It is OK if people don’t like us; who are trying to impress; who do we want to be our friend God or man. Be silent.
We must we willing to be hated or have someone not behave towards us the way we desire. We don’t need everyone or even anyone’s love and support. All we need is God. If God does provide others to support us…great! If not that is OK too. Focus our eyes on God. Allow His will to be done and accept it–of course it is good. Let go of control. Sure we should continue to seek to win souls for their salvation…not for our self-love or self-glory. Look carefully into our actions to see what our true intentions are. Just seek to love others (not to be loved). If there is the slightest imperfect motive in our preaching/actions amend it. Figure out how to speak/act without sinning ourselves.
To learn how to preach well, of course we need to seek perfection. To do this, we need to learn how to be silent and only speak when necessary. Sure some will think we are oh so rude for not socializing and speaking, but again, who are we trying to impress? If someone wants to judge us as to why we aren’t talking, that is an issue they will have to resolve. We need to seek the greatest good and learning how to speak is essential for saving souls. Therefore, to learn how to speak we must learn how be silent. Unnecessary words only allows the devil to use our weakness to offend God and others. Idle chatter or conversations that aren’t to know, serve and love God through loving others for the salvation of souls should be omitted. Until we gain much grace, we need to be very careful and mostly practice great silence even when preaching or sin will ruin God’s work.
“Every virtue is a good thing but most of all gentleness and meekness” -St. John Chrysostom
This proclaiming of the Word surely won’t be effortless. We will need much courage and wisdom so to preach correctly. It is so easy to be scared right into saying and doing nothing, or being so vague and gentle nobody can hear, when God is crying out to us to live our faith. For others, who lack patience with God, we might want to force others to hear when they won’t. It will be quite hard to say nothing and just pray and sacrifice in silence when God is calling us to love in our actions and prayers alone–not our words. But with the strength of God, constantly learning and improving, we can learn how to live His will.
To do this well, we need to stop thinking we are the ones doing anything…because if we are relying on our abilities, we will fail. We simply can’t do anything truly good without God moving our hand no matter how blessed with talents and knowledge we might have. We need to let go of being in control and allow God to love and convert His children through us at whatever pace He wishes and who He desires.
We need to look for ways to relate to others, so they can hear. We need to change ourselves, not seek for others to simply hear, but for us to adapt to them so they can have a better change of hearing.
“I [Paul] have become all things to all people, that I might by all means [doing whatever I can] save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
Sometimes, it will seem like nobody is hearing. There are many reasons could be happening. We need look to improving ourselves as perhaps the lack of conversion has much to do with us. Perhaps we are preaching poorly…too aggressively, too tepid, not clear…etc. Perhaps, we don’t pray fervently before we speak or even ask God if we should speak. Perhaps our actions of serving and suffering isn’t genuine and is lacking from laziness and selfishness. Oh, we must learn from God how to improve–humbling ourselves with our failures and then allowing God to grow us towards perfection.
When God sends grace to His faithful servants, if we are accepting it correctly, we receive it in over flowing quantities that spill out onto the ones we are trying to save, which hopefully moves their hearts ever more greatly. Sure perhaps God wants us to be patient and wait for His glory to show and perhaps some will simply never hear no matter how much grace is sent, but much of the time the reason we aren’t seeing true conversions is from our own inability to learn (like humble children) so to preach better and from our lack of faith. We need to not only deliver God’s children the truth with the words that save but also with the grace that moves hearts to hear and desire to completely change their life to live for God alone. And this takes much grace since most have rejected bounds of grace from God, because of their pride and lack of fear of the Lord, and are in dire need of it to be moved at all.
“The grace of our Lord overflowed for me [Paul] with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14).
God’s grace is constantly compelling hearts to turn to the faith. Some are even so blessed to receive enough grace to learn the correct Way to Life. Frankly however, none of that matters, if we don’t obtain enough grace to move into a saving faith. Many souls grow in faith and knowledge, but not for the right reasons or they don’t grow enough…they might gain much knowledge, increased prayers and many works but they gain no wisdom or not enough to bring them to a saving faith. They feel Gods love but sadly use that to boost their prideful thinking, and don’t truly return His love with a heart of true love. A full conversion of souls into a faith that saves, one driven by fear of the Lord into true contrition for our sins, must be our goal. It is God’s. What does it matter if we are baptized into the faith, begin doing great works for God, change and become better people but still die from a desire for a single sin (lack of contrition). Oh the horror. We all must grow to truly seek to become saints, who honestly want to sin no more, who seek to surrender their will completely for God because we can’t bear offending God by a single sin if we want to Live.
Sermons alone will do very little if our faith is so little. If we aren’t a person of great prayer and suffering/sacrificing for souls so few will be saved…not even ourselves. I’m not saying that all will convert correctly, as God gives us a free will to hear Him or not; to leave sin or stay in it; to choose Him or not. And even Christ, Himself, didn’t have everyone who heard Him convert either. Sadly, so many were even deaf to the thoughts (prayers), words and actions of truth coming from God Himself. However, we see clearly through the apostles and the saints after Christ that a great number can convert through us miserable souls too and seek a saving faith if the faith of those delivering the message of truth is great. With great faith, we let go of ourselves, pick up our crosses and allow God’s incredible grace to work through us. We stop hindering God’s work by our sinfulness, but allow God to work true miracles through our wretched souls as His tools for His divine providence. This we must learn how to do if we are to truly preach the truth effectively.
Don’t Doubt Mercy
Even in the most tragic situations, as we see people so far from understanding the Way, living a life of great sin, this mercy God pours out upon us, especially at the hour of our death, for our salvation, can never be doubted especially since we can’t read our souls. God wants us to hope in mercy for all. Oh, what one word or prayer, especially from a faithful soul, can do! I have watched God raise a boy from the dead from one prayer. One prayer prayed from a heart pouring out to God, completely open to God’s will, through faith, is very powerful. “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith [trusting in God and what ever He wills], you will receive [and what do we want to receive?…whatever God wills]” (Matthew 21:21). One word of guidance of God’s truth can send enough grace to make a life changing effect in any soul. “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective” (Hebrews 4:12).
“The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (James 5:16).
Therefore increase in our own faith so God’s power can flow from us and grow in knowledge and perfection as we serve God for the salvation of souls. That “by prayer and supplication [begging] with thanksgiving [for all God allows as being good] let your requests be made known to God [with faith and trust]” (Philippians 4:6). May we preserver in serving God seeking His will alone for the salvation of souls. Oh, for the sinner who finally obtains enough grace to open up their souls and humble themselves before Our Lord, they can receive all the grace needed to save their soul even at the moment of death. This is true; very rare, but oh so possible. So never doubt in the mercy of God. But so sadly, as we know, so few will reduce their pride and choose to gain true self-knowledge to see their misery and their real need for mercy and still sadly blindfully reject God’s saving love. But even though all of this is true, if we pray, fast and sacrifice–preach the Word in our words, thoughts and deeds–on behalf of God’s children…there is always hope. God’s power is simply amazing. We are never to doubt that God’s mercy can’t save anyone. We must not despair.
Our hearts might be crushed as we see beautiful faithful people loving God and giving so much of their life to Him, but so tragically from their deadly pride, because of the very faith they believe is saving them, they won’t see their sins they are tragically still delighting in, nor the need to live the faith more perfectly with true contrition. Horribly, many in the faith are simply stuck in much self-righteousness and never choose to grow into a saving faith. We will just want to cry; as they believe with a deceived heart that Jesus will save them. It is incredible sad. There will be so much sorrow in our heart like Our Lord’s and His Mother’s Sacred and Immaculate hearts that are ” ” as Jesus said to St. Margret Mary. Oh, our hearts will bleed along with God for His children. But we must be aware, when our agony seem more than we can bear, that is when the devil comes in and tries to convince us it is hopeless…so why continue. Oh, don’t fall for his trap of despair. No matter how hopeless salvation seems for any person…no matter how steeped in the darkness of presumption of salvation someone may appear, there is always hope in God’s mercy to save them. Therefore, continue to preach in thought, word and deed and never despair.
Wonderfully, when we truly embrace God’s will, with all sorrow in our hearts for the souls of others, God will fill us with great peace, trust and joy in suffering any cross for the salvation of others. How long did St. Monica pray for her son (St. Augustine) to convert…17 years. Yes, some times we need to pray and suffer for many years for God’s glory to shine. The problem is our hearts don’t burn for our neighbors salvation like a holy mother does for her child and the grace many need to be saved simply isn’t given from our lack of fervent consistent prayers of each other. Nonetheless, we simply don’t know what God wills; so even if we can pray just one prayer for someone, there are some who are just waiting for one sacrifice one additional prayer and it will be enough of grace to move them towards Life. Don’t underestimate the power of one prayer.
There is a wonderful story that Our Blessed Mother told to St. Bridge of Sweden of a soul the devil wanted, but he couldn’t take him. This soul was spared from eternal punishment from the prayers, fasting, alms giving (donating money) and suffering from His mother. This soul’s pious mother’s life time of tears that she wept to God resulted in magnificent grace being sent to her son that merited in enough grace for him to seek frequent confession with true contrition for his sins…Wow! “[With] his mother’s tears and long labors and many prayers [fearing for her son’s salvation]. God sympathized with her sighs and gave to her son this grace: namely, that for every sin he committed, he obtained contrition, making a humble confession out of love for God. Therefore those sins [the devil was trying to find him guilty for] have been blotted out” (Blessed Virgin to St. Bridget of Sweden). Therefore, since God came to suffer and sacrifice for the salvation of souls and God wants us to do the same, we must do our best to do it with a heart of great love for our neighbor especially as they are mistreating us for our love for them. It is amazing what great love for another can do.
So if we are mistreated and told we are the most disrespectful person alive, etc. for trying to save someones soul, remember it is so hard for the proud to hear God speaking through us; love and understand them and pray for their souls and along with the saints, “rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12). If we properly offer up to God any malicious words or actions done to us and God sees fit, God will envelop us with a joy so great that the greater the mistreatment of us the more joy we will feel. This is true. We will begin to experience what the saints have delighted in “The Joy of Suffering.” Wonderfully when a soul truly looses all self care and offers up any misuderstanding or malicousness given to us, for the sake of proclaiming the gospel out of great love for God and our neighbor, we will be immersed with God’s fantastic love. This love will squash any physical or emotional pain that is being inflicted upon us, as sadly the poor lost soul, without much grace, will be stuck in their fit of anger towards us for loving them how Christ loved us. Truly for the soul serving God correctly, nothing will cause them to despair and frankly the more horrible someone treats us the greater God’s love and joy will increase in us. It can grow above anything we have ever experienced with any worldly pleasure..and this is all possible from saying “yes, Lord…they will be done” as we happily accept all God allows out of great love for God and our neighbor seeking to live for His will alone.
Preaching the Word
Preaching the words of Everlasting Life is very hard to do. It is amazing how greatly we have been deceived. If we are blessed to be able to see how we have been tricked into believing a false truth in one aspect of the faith, then I can assure you, we have been deceived in other ways too. It will just take some time for us to open up our souls to understand more completely the real truth. But if we can go with true humility wanting to know our errors so to learn the truth, God will enlighten us. Day by day, understanding our nothingness, God will begin to show us to His truth that will save. How can we possibly show someone the Way if we don’t know it ourselves? Therefore, we must learn before we being to preach.
So the first thing we need to do is begin seeking God grace correctly–with a humble contrite heart–making resolutions and removing our sins we can see, since our unrepentant sins (lack of real desire to amend) is the biggest blinder to understanding the truth. It is our sins that are our obstacles to God’s grace. Then work to gain self-knowledge of all of the sins we have been covering so we can remove them too by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church along with the books from the saints, and of course along with the Word, wanting to know our failings so we can amend our life and learn the Way. Then, after we gain a better understanding of the Way from gaining humility and removing sin, we can guide others to Life correctly.
Shepherding the sheep (the people God gives us to help save) is hard for various reasons. The evil one will have us being silent, when we should speak, being veiled when we should be clear…not really speaking with our thoughts and actions when we think we are. Our thoughts, words and deeds will be selfish and not truly for love of our neighbor. Even when we do or don’t speak, as God wills, our thoughts, actions and words will constantly need improving as they will be less than perfect and from God’s grace need to change. Therefore, we always have to be alert and changing–improving–to grow closer to God’s image in everything so the most perfect truth that Our Lord can deliver to His children through us for the salvation of souls can occur.
This work of guiding the flock to Life bears great responsibility so we want to do it well. Lukewarm love isn’t acceptable in God’s eyes. Like St. Benedict declared, “Be aware that the shepherd [those guiding the people] will bear the blame wherever the father of the household [God] finds that the sheep [the people] have yielded no profit [aren’t converted into a saving faith]. Still, if he [the shepherd] has faithfully shepherded a restive [difficult] and disobedient flock, always striving to cure their unhealthy ways, it will be otherwise: the shepherd will be acquitted at the Lord’s judgement. Then like the Prophet, he may say to the Lord: I have not hidden your justice in my heart; I have proclaimed your truth and your salvation (Ps 39:11), but they spurned and rejected me (Isa :2; Ezek 20:27)). Then at last the sheep that have rebelled against his care will be punished by the overwhelming power of death.” This Christian role of being a Shepard to the lost sheep varies in responsibility from the Head Shepard the leader of the Church–the Pope, down to the bishops, the priests and to us lay members who are called also to guide those God brings into our lives towards Heaven. But all of us are accountable for the role God has called us to according to His Divine Providence (God’s will).
Oh this role of being a true Christian is a serious one. Therefore, since Jesus was the example of the Way (the Perfect Shepard), we, in every facet of our lives, need to be the correct example too. What are we doing that isn’t guiding others to Life by our actions, even if it is hidden? As all hidden sins, not only condemn us, but silently taint our every action by pushing away God’s actual (helping) grace which effects all that we do. Oh, we must change into the image of Christ to preach in any way correctly.
Three Ways to Preach
Most think of preaching as only done by our words, but preaching is so much more. God speaks His Words of Everlasting Life through our thoughts (prayers), words and deeds (behaviors and sacrifices/sufferings of love)…this is how Christ preached to us and is the fullness of how we are to proclaim the Word to others. Since we are all called to do everything for the salvation of souls, because that was Jesus’ intention for all that He did, and we are to follow Him. We need to learn how to preach properly just like Christ in every thought, word and deed making sure everything is being done, with the driving motive, for the benefit of our neighbor and not ourselves.
Not that everyone is called to be a preacher with the spoken word, yet we are all called to preach (proclaim the good news in various ways). We are mostly called to preach with our prayers and actions as we are all called to be missionaries. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16: 15). But if it is appropriate to speak and it’s God’s will to speak, yet, we are too scared to proclaim the truth with our words, when words are necessary, souls will be lost, souls God wanted us to use our prayers, actions and words combined to bring others to salvation. God wants His children saved and desires to use us, His disciples, to heal the hearts of man and guide them to Live.
“Jesus Christ has declared that to save men his Passion alone was not sufficient, but that preaching was also necessary in order that men might do penance [repent-choosing the cross-to obtain grace to grow in holiness] for their sins and amend their lives” (St. Alphonosus, Doctor of the Church).
For some, God simply won’t give us the gift of eloquent, convicting speaking and that is just fine. God can us is in other ways for the salvation of souls. God provides many with gratuitous grace (gifts to be used for the salvation of souls). Some of the gifts God gives are more prevalent and in greater quantity is some than in others but these gifts we have received from God are all given to us for His honor and glory for the salvation of souls. Most think of gratuitous grace strictly as prophecy, gift of miracles, gift of tongues and all of the priestly powers. But the natural gifts/talents God gives us are to be used for God’s service, not self-glory, and are in a way a gratuitous grace from God as well. We have a choice to use the gifts God gives us to better know, serve and love Him or for personal gain. And of course, if we want to preach the words of Everlasting Life, we need to use our blessings to guide souls to Life.
Speaking the true “words” of Everlasting Life, in our prayerful, written, active and spoken words is hard to do since someone needs both knowledge and wisdom from God. Without both knowledge and wisdom being lukewarm in our “words” will happen. We will negate to say and do what moves souls to repent and change and/or misguide others away from the Light as well from not fully understanding the Way ourselves. To fulfill God’s command to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel” we need to seek out knowledge and wisdom to do this correctly. Knowledge without wisdom is fruitless. Someone can gain all the knowledge in the world from reading books and taking theology classes and won’t truly know what it means or how to preach the real truth to save themselves or others. Wisdom is what we should first seek and wisdom is faith. And faith is gaining the firm resolve to change from our sinful ways and follow Christ to Heaven, and faith is blossomed by gaining humility. Therefore we must gain wisdom, which is fear of the Lord by coming to know our great sinfulness.
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres [in trying to live it perfectly], and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does [that will profit him towards the goal of Eternal Life]” (James 1:22-25).
But like I said before, it takes not only knowing the Way but much courage too. And to have true courage, we need to be with a saving faith–to have left all mortal sin behind and are now burning on fire with the Holy Spirit to proclaim Christ as crucified for our sins so we can follow Him by doing the same. Those who obtained this goal of a saving faith with holy courage, as God the Father told to St. Catherine of Sienna, have “persevered in fasting [self-denial] and in humble and continual prayer, until they had received the abundance of the Holy Spirit, they lost their fear, and followed and preached Christ crucified.”
The more we grow in greater knowledge of the truth, the more God might allow us to feel like we are just dying of grief. It will be very hard to bear.
Horribly, the ones we love, when we try to bring them to the Light, most likely won’t hear and/or will be offended. It is true everyone responds differently to their sins being brought to the light or being told they need to change or they will perish for they don’t appear to have a saving faith. Some will hear with joy and gratitude, and then we will be able to continue to motivate them (and each other) towards the Light, while others will be embarrassed, insulted, hurt, shocked, or angered. Some will do all in their power to justify how the truth just isn’t so and will even con others onto the path of death too all to stay in their sinful ways without guilt. Horrible! But God has called us to concur all of this with His love.
“You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone” (Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary #1767).
Yes, prayer and this suffering–grief, saves too. That is much of the “preaching” we will need to do…suffering. Those are the actions that save.
Oh, this of saving souls is simply agonizing, as we look on to so many marching to their doom even after we have done all we can. Of course, that doesn’t mean we stop preaching, for until someone dies there is always hope for conversion–even at the moment of death. However, the pain in our hearts, the pity for their loss, could be so intense from the vivid understanding of our neighbors pending doom that is so clearly present before us. It might be as if we are seeing them fall into eternal torment right before our very eyes with every rejection of the truth they choose to believe and live, but what a gift!
Oh, how much more diligently we can work, and more fervently and unceasingly one can pray, when our hearts are bleeding like Our Lord’s for our neighbors’ salvation…not that I really mean “like” Our Lords. Our hearts could never really suffer like God’s since our love for our neighbor pales in comparison to the love He has for us, but the pain we experience will move and inspire us to do all we can and give up everything of pleasure for the cross so God can use us to the fullest for their Eternal Life and of course God will help our poor broken souls work towards salvation at the same time too.
“Why do you cry?” a brother asked St. Padre Pio, “Why should I not cry seeing humanity damning itself at all cost.”
But if we believe in the power of God–His great Spirit that transforms cowards into fearless servants of God–that comes from the Holy Spirit, we will gain courage and preach fearlessly. God calls us to use all means that we can to help God’s children obtain the grace and knowledge needed to be saved. As the Word says, “proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). Therefore, preach we must do and learn how to do it well.
“There is a remnant [few], chosen by grace” that are waiting for us to proclaim the Gospel to them; “the elect attained it [will hear and change]; the rest were [remain] hardened” (Romans 11:5).
If God can use us to save the souls of those able to hear, oh what joy! For certain, we surely don’t want to be accountable to God for neglecting to save the souls of His children. What an incredible tragedy it would be to loose someone God was calling upon us to save-who had ears but nobody to proclaim the Word to them. Therefore, with all joy in the cross, for the sake of the Gospel, we proclaim the Word that saves.
“I [Luke] solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you [going to Hell], for I did not shrink [decline] from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God” (Acts 20:27).
When we are a preacher, we are a counselor too…a guider of others away from the pain they are suffering in life from sin towards Life. Any good counselor knows one persons interpretation of events is truly just “their” version of reality. Only God knows the real truth…even if someone is being, what they think is, perfectly honest, they still can’t really see. The more blinded we are by sin–especially that of pride–the more jaded our version of the real truth can be.
Our goal as a counselor isn’t to believe everything someone says thinking that is how we are to help them. We know only God knows reality. Everything is a lie to some degree…we just can’t see the truth. We aren’t God. Our goal is to pull someone away from blaming others or situations–what they think is their reason for their misery and put the focus on how they can learn and grow from all circumstances in life. We are to teach others how they can love and change to more truly follow Christ during the worst of situations.