Tag Archives: patience

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!!

​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!!

​Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost

 

In the picture the Holy Ghost is represented by a dove. It was in that form that the Holy Ghost showed Himself visibly when St. John baptized Jesus. The dove symbolizes gentleness and peace. The Holy Ghost dispenses the graces of God. However, the Holy Ghost produces nothing beyond what Jesus Christ merited. The merits of Our Lord are infinite, for He is God. The Holy Ghost merely perfects, the works of Christ. In a somewhat similar way, the sun shining on a field does not sow new seed; it merely develops what has been sown, making it bloom and bear fruit.

 

    Which are the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost? –The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

    The gifts are infused in our souls with sanctitying grace. With God the Holy Ghost come sanctifying grace, and inseparably, His gifts.

     

  1. Wisdom is that gift by which we recognize the emptiness of earthly things. By it we come to regard God and spiritual things as of the highest good. Without the gift of wisdom we are indifferent to spiritual matters, avoiding all mortification.

    The best example of the effects of the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the Apostles, who after receiving the Holy Ghost became penetrated with His graces.

     

  2. Understanding is that gift by which we are enabled to recognize the true Catholic teaching, and to detect false doctrines. Before the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, they did not understand the divine mysteries Christ revealed to them, often interpreting His words materially.

    Saint Clement Hofbauer began his studies late in life, and had just enough instruction in theology to be ordained. But he was often consulted by high officials of the Church on matters of doctrine, because he had the gift of understanding to an extraordinary degree.

     

  3. The gift of counsel helps us to discover the will of God under difficult circumstances.

    Before they received the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were inconstant in their thoughts, desires, and actions, at one time full of high zeal, at other times despairing and weak. But Christ promised them the gift of counsel, saying: “Do not be anxious how or wherewith you shall defend yourselves; or what you shall say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you” (Luke 12:11-12).

     

  4. Fortitude is the gift by which we are strengthened under trials, to do God’s will.

    Before the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were of good will, but they were weak and fearful. For instance, when Jesus was taken prisoner, they all fled. St. John Nepomucene chose to be tortured, and finally cast into the river, rather than break the seal of the confessional.

     

  5. The gift of knowledge enables us to grasp the teaching of the Church, to know God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent.

    Before the advent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were ignorant men who did not care for intellectual pursuits; neither were they expert in holiness or the things of God. The saintly Cure d’Ars had made but little study, yet his sermons were so remarkable that even Bishops were eager to listen.

     

  6. Piety is that gift by which we love God as our Father, ever striving to do His will.

    Before the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles loved Jesus, but more for their own sakes rather than His, more for the reward He promised than for love of Him. But after Pentecost, what a change! They were ready to suffer death just because they loved Jesus and wished to declare Him everywhere.

     

  7. The fear of the Lord makes us dread sin as the greatest of all evils, and enables us to quell fear of man and human respect.

    Eleazer, the old Jewish scribe, chose death rather than offend God by eating, or even pretending to eat, forbidden meats (2 Mach. 6).

     

  8. Besides these seven gifts, the Holy Ghost also grants certain extraordinary gifts, which are given only on rare occasions and to selected persons. Such extraordinary graces are granted principally not for the benefit of the recipient, but of others. They were common during the early days of the Church, and helped in its rapid spread. Among them are the gift of tongues, of miracles, of visions, and of prophecy. The Apostles received the gift of tongues on Pentecost, so that although they spoke to a crowd of different nationalities and languages, everybody understood what was said.

    The Apostles also possessed the gift of miracles, curing the sick, driving out evil spirits, raising the dead to life. Many saints have been blessed with the gift of miracles. The prophets before the coming of Christ foretold future events. A number of the saints have been granted the gift of visions and ecstasies, though this is rare; good examples are St. Francis of Assisi, who received the stigmata of Our Lord’s wounds, and St. Catherine of Siena.

    How do the gifts of the Holy Ghost help us?The gifts of the Holy Ghost help us by making us more alert to discern and more ready to do the will of God.

     

  1. If we look with discerning eyes, we can see how the gifts of the Holy Ghost have greatly helped the world at large.

    As the psalmist sang: “Thou shalt send forth Thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth” (Ps. 103:30). “And hope does not disappoint, because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5).

     

  2. The operations of the Holy Ghost were easily discernible among the early Christians.

    “And they continued, steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of the bread and in the prayers. And … many wonders also and signs were done by means of the apostles” (Acts 2:42-43).

     

  3. The difference between the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost consists in this: the virtues enable us to do what our reason directs; the gifts make us follow the inspirations of the Holy Ghost.

    Which are some of the effects in us of the gifts of the Holy Ghost? –Some of the effects in us of the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the fruits of the Holy Ghost and the beatitudes.

      Which are the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost? –The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency,and chastity.

       

    1. These twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are good habits performed under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. They make us happy and contented, and help us to be pleasing to both God and man.

      With the fruits of the Holy Ghost it becomes easier for us to persevere in the union with God by the practice of virtue; our heart inclines with charity towards God and our neighbor, and finds it almost natural to be detached from the world.

       

    2. With the gift of sanctifying grace and its accompanying theological virtues, gifts of the Holy Ghost, and their effects, the Christian soul may be said to possess sanctity, to be in the state of Christian perfection.

      Sanctity is the fervent surrender of one’s self to God and the practice of virtue. It does not require extraordinary works. The Blessed Mother of God the most holy of mortals, never performed any extraordinary works to excite worldly admiration. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”

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