Tag Archives: humility

Thoughts On Death

EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES WE STAND ON THE BRINK OF ETERNITY. TWELVE ADVANTAGES TO BE DERIVED FROM THE CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH

1. Contemplation of death enables us to judge properly and prevents our being imposed upon in all affairs. With nothing we came into this world, and with nothing shall we leave it. Why then should we consume our very lives in the accumulation of riches? No one is to accompany us out of this world; why then are we so fond of creatures? The stench and corruption of the grave in which the pampered body is the prey of the lowest vermin show us the folly of carnal pleasures. In our narrow cell beneath the earth among the meanest things of creation, when our very blanket of soil may be trampled upon by the meanest beggar, then we shall be freed of the vanity of seeking distinction and preference over others.

2. It is our best instructor through life, laying down but one simple rule, which is the direction of all our acts to one last end. This consideration drives away all the petty troubles which punctuate this life with unfailing regularity: it steadies us on the course and sustains us on the journey.

3. It teaches us to know ourselves, one of the essential points of true wisdom.

4. It teaches us to despise all that this world can offer, and is the solace of all true servants of God.

5. It is like ice, and helps to chill and deaden the fire of concupiscence; it is a bridle which curbs our sensual appetites.

6. It is a continual source of humiliation, a specific remedy against pride and vanity.

7. It is an excellent preservative against sin. “In all thy works be mindful of thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.” [Eccl. 7: 40]

8. It brings exasperated minds back to peace and reconciliation. Whoever considers seriously that a certain and unavoidable death will one day bring him before the Judge Who shows no mercy but to those who show mercy to others, he will easily be induced to forgive.

9. It is an antidote against the pleasures and vanities of the world. Thus the prince who once placed a jester in a crazy chair over a large fire told him very justly, seeing the jester’s uneasiness, that life should be considered like a defective chair, which at any hour, at any moment, might fall to pieces; and the fire beneath the prince represented as the fires of Hell which everyone should hold in dread.

10. It teaches us a provident economy with regard to our salvation, by setting before our eyes the transitory character of this life, and the necessity of laying up a treasure of good works while it is in our power to do so.

11. It induces us to embrace penances with a cheerful spirit.

12. It encourages us to persevere in the way of penance with unshakable firmness.

Taken from the Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

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​The Eight Beatitudes

 

And opening his mouth he taught them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:1-10). These are the beatitudes; they are thus called, because they bring us happiness on earth as well as in heaven.

 

    Which are the eight beatitudes? –The eight beatitudes are: 

  1. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
       

    1. The poor in spirit are those who, however great their wealth, dignity, learning, etc., acknowledge that in God’s sight they are poor, and realize that their riches come from God. They are detached in heart and mind from worldly possessions, for love of God. Even in this life they are at peace, a foretaste of heaven.Thus a rich man may in fact be poor in spirit, if he is not attached to his wealth, but spends it freely for good causes, and is willing to be parted from it at God’s will. On the other hand a poor man is not truly poor in spirit, if he is not resigned to his poverty, but envies the rich, if he is poor against his will, or prides himself on some quality of his. 
    2. In general, the poor in this world’s goods are also poor in spirit. They are saved from temptations into which the wealthy fall. This is one reason for seeking poverty voluntarily, according to Christ’s counsel.Our Lord often emphasized the difficulty of salvation when one is rich: “But woe to you rich! for you are now having your comfort” (Luke 6:24). “If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast and give to the poor, … and come, follow me” (Matt.​ 19:21). “With difficulty will a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:23) 
    3. We are, however, expected to be industrious. Pauperism which is the result of laziness is not a virtue. Beggary which can be avoided is not beneficial either to the individual or to society in general. Each one is obliged to provide for himself and for those dependent on him.

     

  2. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.”
       

    1. The meek are those who bear patiently all the contradictions of life, looking upon them as happening through God’s Will or by His permission. The meek shall have peace of heart and peace of life, loved and respected by all, and at death will “possess the earth” of the living, heaven. 
    2. Those are also meek who, though of a naturally fiery disposition, master their anger, impatience, or desires for revenge. The meek man does not get angry or curse or seek revenge. He forgives his enemies, and even wins them by gentle words. He imitates Christ, Who said: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt. 11: 29).

     

  3. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Here the reference is to spiritual sorrow, grief for sin, one’s own sins or the sins of others. It includes a longing amidst the sorrows of life for the joys and peace of heaven.Mourning for sin is not sadness, for it is not incompatible with spiritual joy. Those who are most penitent feel most gladness upon their release from sin. But to sinners who do not mourn, these words of Our Lord should bring salutary fear: “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep” (Luke 6:25). 
  4. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”This refers to those who ardently desire the things of God, truth and perfect virtue, as well as to those who try to become better, more humble and pure, more closely united with God. Spiritual hunger and thirst is the craving for growth in holiness, a desire to be more pleasing to God, to make daily progress in doing His will. Even in this life they shall taste the joy of divine consolations; in heaven they shall enjoy the full abundance of heavenly bliss. 
  5. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful are those who practice the works of mercy, corporal and spiritual, who help others not from human or natural motives simply, but from supernatural ones, from faith, from love of God. To such people, Christ at the day of judgment will say: “Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in …” (Matt. 25:34-35). 
  6. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” Only those who are not in habitual sin are clean of heart, and possess virtue. They will be rewarded with the vision of God in heaven; and even on earth by the great light given them. There are several degrees of purity of heart: to the first degree belong those who are free from mortal sin; to the second belong those who are free from deliberate venial sin and all affection for sin; to the third degree belong those who are free from the least ill-regulated affection; to the fourth belong those who are free from the almost imperceptible stains that delay a soul’s entrance into God’s home; and to the last degree belong those Christians of such purity of life and thought, of such perfection of zeal and intention, that they habitually live for God alone, that they are perfectly united with Him, so that when they close their eyes in death they will fly straight into the Heart of God. 
  7. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Men who love peace and preserve it in themselves and among others are beloved by God.We should also try to reconcile those who are not on good terms with each other. This is a superior degree of the second beatitude. 
  8. “Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Those are blessed who suffer for Christ, religion, or some Christian virtue. They will receive an eternal reward. Those who faithfully observe the entire law of God and defend the cause of His Church, procure His glory and save souls. In this world those who are active in preserving the rights of the Church are often ridiculed and persecuted; they will be especially blessed.Our Lord preached the Eight Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon He taught something new in the world. Where people had always striven for riches, honors, and pleasures, Christ praised the poor, the humble, the suffering.If we practice faithfully the doctrine of the eight beatitudes, we shall find the true path of perfection and be happy besides on earth. The Beatitudes contain in substance the law of God and all evangelical perfection.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

​Humility, Liberality, Chastity

 

At a very early age St. Agnes had such a high regard for the virtue of chastity that she vowed her virginity to God. The Roman authorities, who were persecuting the infant Church, tried to make this child offer incense to the idols, but she refused. Seeing her firmness, the persecutors tried to win her by flattery. She was only thirteen years old, beautiful and wealthy; they offered to marry her to the son of a high official in Rome. But she answered that she was consecrated to her Heavenly Bridegroom. She suffered torture and meekly laid her head on the execution block.

 

    What is humility? –Humility is that moral virtue which disposes us to appreciate and acknowledge our true position with respect to God and our fellowmen.Jesus Christ often praised and recommended humility. “Unless you turn, and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). He always answered the prayers of the humble, as of the centurion (Matt. 8:11). “If any man wishes to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:34) 

  1. The humble man acknowledges God as the source of all the excellent things he may possess. He recognizes his limitations, his own nothingness, and the uselessness of all earthly things without God.Compared to God, what are we? All things pass away; only God is eternal. These simple truths will help us keep humble; without God we are nothing. Let us practice the behest of Our Lord. “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt. 11:29). 
  2. The humble man knows that earthly things are of value only if they lead us to God. His detachment from all things worldly frees him from all human fear.In order to become humble, let us think often of the majesty and grandeur of God. Let us contemplate His works, beside which ours would be nothing. Above all, let us remember that without God we would not even exist. Do we feel proud of our wealth? Tomorrow a fire, a business depression, may wipe it off completely. Are we proud of our appearance? An accident, some sickness, would make it as if it had never been. Are we proud of our intelligence? Amnesia would take it all away. 
  3. The humble man has his best, model in the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ, Who humbled Himself out of love for men.“Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt. 11:29). The Son of God humbled Himself when He came down to earth as man. He came as a poor man, in the eyes of the world the son of a carpenter. His companions were simple fishermen. He associated with the humble, with sinners even. At the Last Supper He washed the feet of His apostles. He was put to death on the cross, the manner of death then most despised. 
  4. Our Lord continually urged us to humility; as when He said, “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 23:11).In the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican Christ exalted humility; as also He did when, taking a little child, He said, “Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4). And again He said, after preaching to His disciples, “When you have done everything that was commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants'” (Luke 17: 10) 
  5. Humility is opposed both to pride and to excessive and affected self-abjection.To be humble, a man does not need to belittle his abilities. St. Thomas Aquinas says: That a person should recognize and appreciate his own good qualities is not sin.”
    What is liberality? –Liberality is that moral virtue, related to the cardinal virtue of justice, which finds expression in generosity towards our fellowmen, disposing us to use material goods rightly. 

  1. Ordinarily the term is taken with reference to material goods; but in a broader sense it also is with respect to spiritual and intellectual gifts.Liberality consists in giving, for the love of God, generous help to those in need. Our Lord said, in urging us to do works of mercy, that what is given to the poor is given to Him. Liberality does not depend on the amount given, but in the spirit. A poor man can be very liberal; whereas a rich man who gives millions, but does so only in order to get praised does not have the virtue of generosity. 
  2. Liberality is opposed to covetousness.With liberality we become willing for the love of God to help out those in material need. This virtue does not depend on the amount or material value of the gift, but in the goodness of the heart with which it is given. 
    What is chastity? –Chastity is that moral virtue which disposes us to be pure in soul and body.Those who keep themselves pure in soul and body are like angels on earth. It was the chaste Apostle John to whom Christ gave the privilege of leaning on His breast at the Last Supper; it was to him that He entrusted His Virgin Mother. 

  1. Chastity, opposed to lust, disposes us to preserve the mind and body from everything that is impure. Chastity is purity. It is termed the angelic virtue, because it makes men resemble the angels in heaven.Chastity gives health to the soul and light to the understanding; it aids wisdom and develops strength of character. Judith, a weak woman, had the courage to go into the enemy camp, and returned with the head of Holofernes; of her Holy Scripture says, “Thou hast done manfully and thy heart hath been strengthened, because thou hast loved chastity” (Judith 15:11). Thousands of martyrs died in defense of this virtue of holy chastity. 
  2. For the unmarried, chastity forbids indulgence of the sexual appetite; for the married, it regulates the use of that appetite in accordance with the dictates of right reason. It is wrong to suppose that chastity is not a virtue for the married. God requires chastity from everyone, in all states of life. A chaste marriage is the basis of the Christian family.Not all saints are virgins. God requires chastity to be practiced by all, in accordance with the state of life that each has embraced. It may be either absolute (for the unmarried), or relative (for the married). 
  3. The mere knowledge of facts does not destroy our chastity. It is wilful consent and yielding to impurity that sullies chastity of mind and body.Jesus Christ, Our Lady, St. Joseph, and other saints surely knew the facts of sex; but such knowledge did not spoil their spotless chastity. 
  4. Let us be careful of the company we keep, and avoid all occasions of sin to preserve virtue of chastity. Let us form the habit of temperance in all things, so as to strengthen our self-control. We should often have recourse to prayer and the sacraments, receiving these frequently. “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5: 16). Let us have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and ask her daily to preserve us in chastity. The following prayer has in many cases been found efficacious in imploring the Blessed Virgin to preserve one’s chastity:“My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to thee; and to show my devotion to thee, I consecrate to thee this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, guard me as thy property and possession.”

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

​Moral Virtues

 

The theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity furnish a strong basis for all other virtues. The cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, are the foundation of all moral virtues. The theological virtues define our relations with God; the moral virtues define our relations with ourselves and our fellowmen. If we have these virtues, we are on the way to perfection.

 

    Are there any other virtues besides the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity? –Besides the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, there are other virtues, called moral virtues. 

  1. These virtues are called moral virtues because they dispose us to lead moral, or good lives, by aiding us to treat persons and things in the right way, that is, according to the will of God. Moral virtues are opposed to the capital sins.For example, humility is opposed to pride; liberality is opposed to avarice;chastity is opposed to lust; meekness and patience are opposed to anger;temperance is opposed to gluttony; brotherly love is opposed to envy: and zeal and diligence in what is good are opposed to sloth. 
  2. Moral virtues are an outgrowth and completion of the theological virtues. The theological virtues perfect our interior being; the moral virtues perfect our exterior. If we sincerely strive after these virtues, we are on the road to perfection.The theological virtues affect our relations with God; the moral virtues affect our relations with our neighbor and our own selves. For example, faith makes us believe in the existence of God. Temperance makes us regulate our appetites.
    Which are the chief moral virtues? –The chief moral virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; these are called cardinal virtues.All other moral virtues spring from the cardinal virtues. These are called cardinal from cardo, the Latin word for hinge, because all our moral actions turn on them as a door turns upon its hinges. All other moral virtues depend on them.
    How do prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance dispose us to lead good lives? –Prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance dispose us to lead good lives, as indicated below: 

  1. Prudence disposes us in all circumstances to form right judgments about what we must do or not do.-It teaches us when and how to act in matters relating to our eternal salvation. Prudence perfects the intelligence, which is the power of forming judgments; for this virtue, knowledge and experience are important.Prudence shows us how to leave earthly things in order to earn riches for eternity. It is the eye of the soul, for it tells us what is good and what is evil. It is like a compass that directs our course in life. It is opposed to worldly wisdom. “Be prudent therefore and watchful in prayers” (1 Pet. 4:7). Prudence is a virtue of the understanding. 
  2. Justice disposes us to give everyone what belongs to him.-It teaches us to give what is due to God and to man. It makes us willing to live according to the commandments. Justice perfects the will and safeguards the rights of man: his right to life, freedom, honor, good name, sanctity of the home, and external possessions.The just man is an upright man. He gives to every one his due: he gives God worship; the authorities, obedience; his subordinates, rewards and punishments; and his equals, brotherly love. “Render to all men whatever is their due; tribute to whom tribute is due; taxes to whom taxes are due; fear to whom fear is due; honor to whom honor is due” (Rom. 13:7). 
  3. Fortitude disposes us to do what is good in spite of any difficulty.-It gives us strength to do good and avoid evil in spite of all obstacles and afflictions.We possess fortitude when we are not hindered by ridicule, threats, or persecution from doing what is right; when we are ready, if necessary, to suffer death. The greatest fortitude is shown by bearing great sufferingrather than undertaking great works. No saint was ever a coward. The martyrs had fortitude. 
  4. Temperance disposes us to control our desires and to use rightly the things which please our senses.-It regulates our judgment and passions, so that we may make use of temporal things only in so far as they are necessary for our eternal salvation. We have temperance when we eat and drink only what is necessary to sustain life, preserve health, and fulfill our duties.We should strive to be like St. Francis of Sales, who said: “I desire very little, and that little I desire but little.” However, temperance does not consist in refusing or denying ourselves what is necessary, thus unfitting ourselves for good works.
    Which are some of the other moral virtues? —Filial piety and patriotism, which dispose us to honor, love, and respect our parents and our country. It is, however, no virtue but a sin if we are so prejudiced in favor of our parents that we find no good in others; or if we are so “patriotic” that we see no good in other nations.The division and mutual antagonisms of nations and peoples in which certain ones profess to find themselves as “superior” can certainly not please God; from them come war and revenge. God is Father of all nations and peoples, without exception. 

  1. Obedience, which disposes us to do the will of our superiors. Obedience consists not only in doing what is commanded by our superior, but in being willing to do what is commanded. One who grumbles and murmurs while doing what his mother asks him to do is not obedient.Obedience is a virtue only when one subjects his will to that of another for God’s sake, not for material or natural motives. Christ is the model of obedience, for He obeyed completely and lovingly, even to the death of the Cross. “An obedient man shall speak of victory” (Prov. 21:28). 
  2. Veracity, which disposes us to tell the truth.We should always be truthful, as children of God, Who is Truth itself. Veracity, however, does not require us to reveal secrets, or to reply to questions about which the questioner has no right to ask. In cases such as these, we should either remain silent, or return an evasive answer. “Wherefore, put away lying, and speak truth each one with his neighbor, because we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25). 
  3. Patience, which disposes us to bear up under trials and difficulties.In sickness and ill fortune, in the difficulties of our occupations, in our weaknesses, let us have serenity of mind, for the love of God: “And bear fruit in patience” (Luke 8:15). “Be patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).Besides these, there are many other moral virtuesReligion is the highest moral virtue, since it disposes us to offer to God the worship that is due Him.Religion is classed under the virtue of justice.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!