Tag Archives: meekness

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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Meekness, Abstinence, Zeal, Brotherly Love

 

As an example of true zeal we have the Apostle of the Indies, the Patron of Catholic Missions, St. Francis Xavier. Born of a noble family of Navarre, a descendant of kings, he was brought up for a career of earthly power and glory. But he met St. Ignatius, and decided to become a soldier for Christ. Inflamed with zeal, wishing only to reap rich harvests for God, he went through India, Malaya, and Japan planting the seed of the Faith, converting innumerable heathen to Christ. In Japan so fruitful was his apostolate that a generation after him the Christian population still totalled 400,000 souls. He is Protector of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

 

    What is meekness? –Meekness is that moral virtue which disposes us to control anger when offended, and resentment when rebuked.Meekness however must be distinguished from pusillanimity, which is weakness of spirit, and cowardliness. 

  1. Meekness is patience between man and man. It is related to the cardinal virtue of temperance, and is opposed to the sin of anger. The patient man keeps calm in the midst of the vicissitudes of life; he preserves his cheerfulness for the love of GodThe motive is important. If we are calm and patient only because we hope to be admired or because we thereby wish to avoid temporal trouble, by indifference, then we do not practice virtue. Virtue is the result of love for God, doing things for His sake, because it is His law or desire. “By your patience you will win your souls” (Luke 21:19). 
  2. We must endure with serenity all trials, not merely a part of them, in order to be truly patient. For instance, some are patient with sickness, but keep lamenting their being a burden to others on its account. Some are patient with others, but have no patience with themselves: for example, they feel irritated if they fall back into old sins. Such persons are not truly patient and meek; they show traces of pride, believing themselves too good to relapse into old sins. “Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 16:21). 
  3. The patient and meek man shows no anger when wrong is done him. He is a peacemaker at heart. However, although we should forgive and forget wrongs for the sake of peace, we must not give in to sin just to avoid opposing others; this would be sinful. Let us keep the peace with all when there is no good reason to break it; this should be our policy. Our Lord is the best example of meekness and patience. Did He use His almighty power to punish those who did Him evil? For hours He hung meekly on the cross, until He died. Every day God is patient with sinners, giving them time to change their ways. 
  4. The meek man is master of his own self; he has self-control, and will find it easy to control others. He has peace of mind and will attain heaven, the home of the meek of heart. Let us gaze at Jesus Crucified; He is the supreme example of meekness, the Lamb of God: “And I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim” (Jer. 11:19). Indeed, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth” (Matt. 5:4) -the land of the hearts of their fellowmen. As St. Francis de Sales practically said, “One catches more flies with an ounce of honey than with tons of vinegar.”
    What is abstinence? –Abstinence is that moral virtue, related to the cardinal virtue of temperance, which keeps within bounds use of and pleasure in foods or drink.This general sense is to be understood as different from the particularized sense of “abstinence” during certain days, such as Fridays and Lent. 

  1. A temperate man eats only what he needs, does not fully satisfy his appetite, and is not dainty about the kind of food he eats. The virtue of abstinence is opposed to the sin of gluttony. One who is moderate in eating will be moderate also in many other things, and will escape numerous evils and sins. He always remembers the words of Our Lord: “Not in bread alone doth man live.” 
  2. Temperance is a boon to both soul and body. It improves the health and strengthens the mind. It increases holiness, and aids towards the attainment of eternal life with God. A temperate man is like a person who travels light. He can move quickly and reach his destination, heaven, more easily. He is not like those who miss every train on account of the numerous bundles to be counted and carried and taken care of during a journey. 
    What virtues are opposed to sloth? –The virtues of diligence and zeal are opposed to sloth. 

  1. From the days of Adam work has been laid as an obligation on men. God said to Adam: “In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread, until thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken” (Gen. 3:19)All men must work, whether mentally or bodily. The Apostle said: “If any man will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). Our Lord worked all His life, and chose working people for His Mother and foster-father. Diligence in labor is a shield against temptation, for thieves do not break into a house full of busy people. 
  2. In opposition to spiritual sloth, we have zeal. It consists in fervor for our salvation and for that of others, out of love of God. It manifests itself in the propagation of the faith, the sanctification of souls, and making God better known. The zealous man talks to God as often as he can in prayer; he does not forget his religious duties. He loses no opportunity in doing good works, and cheerfully makes sacrifices for the love of God. All his works and sufferings he offers to God, for his own salvation as well as for that of others. He works hard, remembering that “The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault, and the violent have been seizing it by force” (Matt. 11: 12).
    What is brotherly love? –Brotherly love is charity towards our fellowmen, our brothers in Christ. Our Lord said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). And St. John exhorts: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. … He who does not love does not know God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).Love and envy cannot live in the same heart. Our Lord says: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35) ; and He commands: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you” (Mat. 5:44)

    If God commands us to love even our enemies, how much more should we love those who have done us no harm, and avoid envying them! Let us remember that the mark of the Christian is love for his fellow-men; all that we do to others, whether for good or ill, we really do to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when we feel the temptation to envy, let us banish it at once by praying for the person, and try our best to do all the good we can to him. In this way we follow Christ our Master.

    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!!