RSS

Category Archives: Practical Spiritual Advice for Daily Living

LENTEN CHALLENGE: MAKING ALL ONE’S CONVERSATIONS HOLY

LENTEN CHALLENGE: MAKING ALL ONE’S CONVERSATIONS HOLY

“ANY TIME WE CATCH OURSELVES AGREEING TO SOMETHING WHICH IS CONTRARY TO OUR CONVICTIONS, WE ARE NOT TALKING CHRIST’S LANGUAGE”

HOW TO HAVE CHRISTIAN CONVERSATION

“‘If anyone speaks, let it be as with words of God.’ In this admonition St Peter in his first Epistle sets us a standard, although a perfectly logical one. If we are Christians, Peter is saying, then we ought to talk like Christians. The words that we speak should be words that would not be out of place on the lips of Christ Himself.

NOT CONFINED TO RELIGIOUS TOPICS

This does not mean that all our conversation should be confined to religious topics. The Gospels record for us a very small percentage of our Lord’s conversations. It is only His words of major importance and of universal application that are related by the Evangelists.

JESUS IS FULLY HUMAN

However, Jesus is fully human, and we can be sure that He took part in ordinary, every day human conversation. With His disciples and other friends He undoubtedly discussed local politics, the weather and the happenings around Him – the comic, tragic or just plain interesting incidents which make up an ordinary day.

THE THREE NOTABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHRISTLIKE CONVERSATION

No, we do not have to be perpetually preaching in order to speak ‘with words of God.’ Even in the most casual chat there is a Christlike way of speaking. There are three notable qualities which characterise such conversation. These qualities are charity, humility and sincerity.

WHAT NOT TO MAKE TOPICS OF CONVERSATION

CHARITY bars from our conversation all that might give unnecessary pain to another. Sarcasm, ridicule, fault-finding, angry or resentful remarks – none of these, surely, would reflect Christ to our listeners. Equally foreign to the lips of Christ would be every type of unkind gossip, every type of tale-bearing, slander or detraction.

ONE-UPMANSHIP AND OTHER CONVERSATION HABITS

Perhaps a little less obvious than the need for charity is the need for HUMILITY in our conversation. There is no one (God excepted, let us hope) whom we love more than ourselves. Consequently it is a real struggle to keep self to a minimum in our talk.

Most of us are too sophisticated to indulge in outright bragging. Just listen to us, though, as we manage to mention (so very offhandedly!) some small triumph of ours or a compliment someone has paid us or an honour that has been accorded us.

Then there is the matter of one-upmanship, as it is called. This consists of topping the other person’s experiences. If someone mentions having had a serious operation, we describe our own much more serious one. If another person speaks of his trip to Mexico, we tell about our trip to Europe. If the speaker recalls an unusual bridge hand he held last night, we can remember a still more freakish hand which we held a week ago.

THE VERY TRICKIEST PART

SINCERITY is the third quality which characterises the conversation of a Christian. Insincerity is a much more difficult defect to spot in ourselves than is either uncharitableness or self-centredness. The reason is that usually we are not trying deliberately to deceive other persons. We first of all deceive ourselves and others only incidentally.

INCIDENTAL DECEPTIONS

All too often in conversation we say what we think we ought to say and try to convince ourselves that we really mean it. We stifle the small voice inside us which whispers, ‘You’re talking hogwash and you know it. You don’t really believe what you’re saying.’

AGREEING FOR POLITENESS’ SAKE

Sincerity does not demand that we stud our conversation with disagreeable truths or opposing opinions which may give offence without accomplishing any proportionate good. Sometimes it is more Christian to be silent. However, any time we catch ourselves saying or agreeing to something which is contrary to our own convictions, we are compromising our integrity. And we are not talking Christ’s language.

ARE WE UP TO THE CHALLENGE?

We may be tempted to feel that Christlike conversation is beyond us. There is too much to guard against. We simply cannot be that alert all the time.

True, we probably never will achieve absolute perfection. Nevertheless, with a little effort we certainly can speak ‘with words of God’ much more consistently than we do. We shall find it a challenging experience to try to go through just one day (for a starter) with our conversation keyed to the question, ‘What would Jesus probably say under these circumstances?’

It may tend to curtail our conversation somewhat. But no matter. Most of us talk too much anyway.”
– Fr Leo J. Trese

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , ,

IT IS GOOD FOR US TO HAVE OTHERS KNOW OUR FAULTS AND REBUKE THEM, FOR IT GIVES US GREATER HUMILITY

IT IS GOOD FOR US TO HAVE OTHERS KNOW OUR FAULTS AND REBUKE THEM, FOR IT GIVES US GREATER HUMILITY

Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. (Mt11:29)

HUMILITY

Be not troubled about those who are with you or against you, but take care that God be with you in everything you do.

Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God’s help. He knows when and how to deliver you; therefore place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men and free them from all distress.

It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke them, for it gives us greater humility. When a man humbles himself because of his faults, he easily placates those about him and readily appeases those who are angry with him.

It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory. He reveals His secrets to the humble, and with kind invitation bids them to come to Him. Thus, the humble man enjoys peace in the midst of many vexations, because his trust is in God, not in the world. Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look upon yourself as inferior to others.

– From: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WOLVES IN SHEEPS’ CLOTHING (Mt 7:15-21)

WOLVES IN SHEEPS’ CLOTHING (Mt 7:15-21)

For the text of this Bible passage, please see the previous post.

All men are known by their works

The Lord warns us that we must measure the worth of fair words and seeming meekness by the fruit of works. That is, we should look not so much to what a man says of himself, as to what he does; for there are many who hide the ravening of a wolf under sheep’s clothing.

As, then, thorns do not bear grapes, nor do thistles produce figs, and evil trees do not bring forth good fruits, so, the Lord teaches, neither do evil men bring forth good works. Therefore, all men are to be known by their works. Words alone will not win the kingdom of heaven, nor will he ever inherit it who says only: “Lord, Lord.”

– St Hilary, Bishop, Commentary on Matthew, can. 6, from: An Approved Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 (bold emphasis added)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I DO NOT DESERVE THAT GOD SHOULD HEAR ME, FOR I AM A SINNER

I DO NOT DESERVE THAT GOD SHOULD HEAR ME, FOR I AM A SINNER

WE SHOULD PRAY WITH CONFIDENCE

“Ask and you shall receive.” God Himself has said it. How then, can we still doubt, since He has bound Himself by this promise, and consequently, cannot reject our prayer, or refuse us any grace really advantageous to our salvation? “By this promise,” says St Augustine, “He has constituted Himself our debtor.”

Hence we should never invoke God without the firmest confidence that we shall be heard. This is the best means of obtaining what we desire. “Whatever it may be,” says Our Lord again “that you ask for in prayer, be sure that you shall obtain it, and that you cannot fail to obtain it.”

Someone may say: I do not deserve that God should hear me, for I am a sinner. But Jesus Christ has said: “Whoever asks, receives.” Whoever, without distinction of just or sinner. For the power of prayer to obtain graces for us does not spring from our own merits, but from the mercy of God Who has pledged Himself by His promise to hear anyone who invokes Him.

“In all its demands,” says St Thomas “prayer relies, not upon our merits, but wholly on the mercy of God.” And to completely banish all fear, Jesus Christ says further: “Amen, Amen, anything that you ask My Father in My name, He will give it to you.”

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

JESUS REMAINS ALWAYS FAITHFUL

JESUS REMAINS ALWAYS FAITHFUL

THE FAITHFUL HEART OF JESUS

It is not with God as with men,” says the Holy Spirit. Men often break their word, either because they lie in making the promise, or because they change their mind after promising. But God cannot be unfaithful to His promises; for He cannot lie, and He is unchanging.

How faithful then, is the Heart of Jesus, and what confidence we should have in His promises! He is faithful to the poor sinner, who asks Him for grace and mercy, for He has said: “If any hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will enter into his house, and I will sup with him, and he with Me.”

He is faithful to those who pray to Him with confidence. “Ask,” He has said, “and you shall receive.” He is faithful to the soul exposed to temptations who addresses to Him its cry of distress, for, as the apostle assures us, “God is faithful and He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond your strength.” Oh, how much better it is to deal with God than with men.

We ought to have as certain a conviction that the Heart of Jesus cannot fail us, as we have reason to fear that men would betray us.

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

MEEKNESS AND RESIGNATION ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY

MEEKNESS AND RESIGNATION ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY

“Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart” (Mt11:29a,b)

IT IS ALWAYS A DUTY TO GIVE A GOOD EXAMPLE

“Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”

Such is the lesson of the divine Master. Meekness [the opposite of anger] and resignation are virtues which are absolutely necessary.

Let us not yield to hastiness, the first impulses of which are almost always independent of our will.

Reproaches for what is already done are often useless; mildness renders efficacious those which are necessary.

If it is a duty to reprehend, it is equally and always a duty to give a good example; for impatience in a pious person can only be a source of scandal.

The habit of self-restraint and self-denial tends greatly to the increase of holiness [both in ourselves and in those around us].

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

SEND A GOOD THOUGHT WHICH WILL TELL OF GOD’S GOODNESS

SEND A GOOD THOUGHT WHICH WILL TELL OF GOD’S GOODNESS

YOU WISH TO PERFORM CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY, BUT…

You wish to visit prisoners and the sick, to console those who weep, to speak of God to little children who do not know Him… but your duty keeps you within the narrow precincts of a cell, a room, or a family; send a good thought which will tell of God’s goodness, which will speak of the happiness and the merit of suffering, and will show how, perhaps in a few days, it is followed by the sweet repose of Paradise… This thought will give birth to hope, to a smile, to some act of love, … and God will be indebted to you for regaining to Himself a soul that perhaps had forgotten Him.

– From: Golden Grains, Little Counsels for the Sanctification and Happiness of Everyday Life, H. M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,