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Category Archives: Words of Wisdom

IT IS NOT THE VIRTUE, BUT THE MOTIVE FOR VIRTUE, WHICH GOD REWARDS

IT IS NOT THE VIRTUE, BUT THE MOTIVE FOR VIRTUE, WHICH GOD REWARDS

Commentary on Matthew 5:43-48

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour, and shall hate your enemy.'” And so forth.

But I say to you: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Many people, measuring the precepts of God by their own weakness rather than by the strength of his Saints, think it is impossible to perform what they command. They say it is enough if the virtuous do not hate their enemies. To love them is to command more than human nature can bear. We ought to realise that Christ did not command impossible things, although he did command perfect things: David did it to Saul and Absalom; Stephen the Martyr prayed for his enemies who stoned him; Paul wished to be anathema for the sake of his persecutors. This, too, Jesus taught and did when he said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. If observing the commandments of God makes man a son of God, then is man a son of God not from his nature but from his will. “Therefore when you do an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets that they may be honoured by men.” The man giving an alms and sounding a trumpet is a hypocrite. He who fasts that he may disfigure his face, and that its emaciation may show the emptiness of his stomach – he, too, is a hypocrite. So, too, is he a hypocrite who prays in the synagogues and on the corners of streets, for the sole purpose of being seen by men.

The danger of vain-glory

From all this we may conclude that hypocrites do what they do that they may be glorified by men. It seems to me that, he, too, is a hypocrite who says to his brother, “Let me cast the speck out of your eye,” for he does this through vain-glory, that he may seem just. Wherefore, the Lord says to him: “Hypocrite, first cast out the beam from your own eye.” It is not the act of virtue, but the motive for virtue, which has the reward from God. And if you swerve even but a little from the straight way, it matters not whether you stray to the right or to the left, since you have lost the true way.

– From: St Jerome, Book 1, Commentary on Matthew, Ch. 5-6

(see also: Examination of Conscience, Spiritual Direction, Confession)

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Posted by on April 6, 2017 in Words of Wisdom

 

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OUR DAILY APOSTOLIC WORK AND PRAYER-LIFE

OUR DAILY APOSTOLIC WORK AND PRAYER-LIFE

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: TAKING ON BOARD THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS PARALYSES THE POWERS OF ACTION

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Courage is shown not only in the performance of the Child of Mary’s apostolic work but also in his prayer-life. His devotion to the means of grace appointed by the Church and fidelity to prayer have a quality of heroism and are models and inspirations to the rest of the faithful. Only thus will he attain the degree of courage expected of him in his work for souls.

Courage

Natural timidity and fear, false or well-grounded, must be overcome. Every member amongst the most wretched and dejected of the population must not only be visited but known personally and intimately. This is the goal, and his courage must rise to attain it. He always remembers that his search for each individual member of the degraded classes may be their only chance of eternal life. How intense, how earnest, how courageous must that search be!

Natural philanthropy is not love and requires no courage

Natural philanthropy serves humanity for humanity’s sake; but that is not love and it requires no courage. The apostolate sets itself to devoted and universal attention to the “down-and-out,” the hopeless, the impossible, the unlovely, the repulsive elements of the population that those who see it at work are amazed at the courage of such love and recognise in it a confounding of the materialistic systems which offer but a counterfeit of Christian charity. The effect is electrifying; even the irreligious are startled into a new seriousness towards religion; modes of thought are changed, and new and nobler ways of living begin to show themselves.

Beyond the prudence of the flesh

Through the strictly disciplined system of the apostolate, the member is thoroughly trained in the spirit and practice of prudence. He is warned against a common fallacy of the present day which confounds the Christian virtue of prudence with what is merely natural – the prudence of the flesh.

The Gospel must be preached to every creature

In the first place, exercise of prudence demands a mature deliberation of which the best means to attain the end in view may be discovered, and a wise judgment as to the means likely to be most effectual. Secondly, it requires that the plan adopted be executed without delay, but with foresight, discretion and necessary caution. The Gospel must be preached to every creature. That supreme wish must swallow up every difficulty and overcome every obstacle.

Apostolic outlook

The Child of Mary is trained in such a way that his outlook will invariably be apostolic. The apostolic spirit enters his soul and reigns there as master. By a judicious mixture of prudence and courage, he sets himself against the spirit of cowardliness which seems to prevail even amongst the good. His training fits him to undertake difficult work and the system reduces the possibilities of harm to the absolute minimum. When it is known that a work is difficult and dangerous, but yet it is necessary if certain souls are to be saved, everything possible is done in the interest of safety and the attack goes on with appropriate materials. He does not stand by and look on while souls are being plunged into hell.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part 1).

 

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SUPREME JOY

SUPREME JOY

ABNEGATION (poem)

 

To love the loving when skies above

Love’s heaven are fair; to see the bloom

Of flowers we plant from our hearts of love

In hearts that pity our days of gloom;

 

To know in a world where all forget

A love unchanging – are joys supreme

For the loving soul; but they fill not yet

The measure fair of a Christian’s dream.

 

For generous souls seek other bliss

Than love rewarding love; their hope

Has loftier flight and broader scope,

And finds fruitition not in this

 

In self-forgetfulness they live,

In sacrifice their dream is wrought,

Believing that, receiving naught,

Their highest pleasure is to give.

 

– Golden Grains, Sanctification and Happiness of Every-Day Life, Eighth Edition, M.H. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

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HOW CAN WE FOLLOW JESUS MUCH BETTER THAN BEFORE?

HOW CAN WE FOLLOW JESUS MUCH BETTER THAN BEFORE?

TO FOLLOW JESUS IS MEANS TO IMITATE HIM

In order to be able the better to imitate Jesus Christ, we must look upon Him continually: He is the model, of whom the artisan, who wishes to fashion his soul to His likeness, must not lose sight.

We must meditate on His example, for in this pious meditation the soul will find the necessary sustenance, and the only true nourishment for its piety.

We must remove all obstacles which hinder this imitation, such as:

Sins,

Bad habits,

Evil inclinations.

We must employ the sacraments, and, finally, take courage afresh each day and advance joyfully.

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2017 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ARE THERE EVIL SPIRITS IN THINGS, WHICH TAKE PLEASURE IN SPITING AND THWARTING US?

ARE THERE EVIL SPIRITS IN THINGS, WHICH TAKE PLEASURE IN SPITING AND THWARTING US?

We are tempted to say sometimes that there are evil spirits in things, which take pleasure in spiting us, thwarting our desires, and resisting our wills. The more petulant we show ourselves, the more irritating they become; the more we wish to hasten, the more they persist in remaining hard and rebellious.

The Antidote

Gentleness will cause us to look upon them kindly and touch them delicately; and this regard and this tact will, as it were, restore their good nature.

Who among us has not experienced this?

In the spirit of serene resignation…

Happy are the souls who, living in friendship with the Angel of Resignation, have learned from him to “will what God wills; to turn from an obstacle rather than waste their strength trying to remove it; to yield rather than obstinately persist; to insinuate themselves rather than to enter brusquely; to ask rather than command; in fine, to will with all their hearts what they cannot prevent.”

These souls are strong to bear, pliant to yield, and, above all, kind in forgetting all that has given them pain.

– From: Golden Grains (Sanctification and Happiness of Every-Day Life), H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Words of Wisdom

 

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CONFIDENCE IN GOD IS AN INESTIMABLE GIFT

CONFIDENCE IN GOD IS AN INESTIMABLE GIFT

Let us endeavour to aspire to two things – great humility, and great confidence in God. We cannot be too humble, and we cannot be too confident. When humility and confidence are found united, confidence sustains humility, and humility purifies confidence. Humility can never be dejected, when it possesses confidence, and confidence can never be presumptuous when it is joined by humility.

Humility and confidence

We can then employ the language of Saint Teresa, who was accustomed to say: What great and good things are those possessed of who have confidence in You, and of how much do those deprive themselves, who have it not!

This inestimable gift of confidence is a grace which God bestows on all those who ask for it; but if, on the one hand, it flows from the Heart of God, and is infused, on the other, it cannot be acquired without our own co-operation.

– Cardinal Manning

 

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WITHOUT HUMILITY, LIKENESS TO MARY IS IMPOSSIBLE

WITHOUT HUMILITY, LIKENESS TO MARY IS IMPOSSIBLE

He hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Lk1:48)

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: OUR WARFARE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Humility is necessary for that union with Mary upon which the apostolate relies for its supernatural efficacy. It is more essential in Mary’s soldiers than are courage, intelligence and physical fitness in the soldier of worldly armies.

A man may be determined to be a good soldier, to play a worthy part in the battles in which his country’s forces are engaged and, yet, through the absence of the necessary qualities, be unable to do so. A paralysed man may long to walk, but even the most vehement longings will not give him the capacity he does not physically possess.

So it is, the Children of Mary are bound to be rendered ineffective unless they are rooted in true humility. Without this virtue HOLINESS, the source of all apostolic action is impossible. Without it, there can be no real likeness to Mary.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part 1).

 

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