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Category Archives: Words of Wisdom

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FALSE ACCUSATIONS?

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FALSE ACCUSATIONS?

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone (John 8:7)
“ALMOST ALWAYS IT WILL BE A SELFISH SPOUSE WHO ACCUSES HIS OR HER PARTNER OF SELFISHNESS”
NOT OURS TO JUDGE

“Two women were chatting as they stood in line at the checkout counter. ‘The thing I can’t stand about Grace,’ one woman said, ‘is the way she’s always ctiticising other people, always seeing their faults.’ The lady made the remark with a perfectly straight face. She was quite oblivious to the fact that she herself was doing what she pretended to abhor.

THE LORD’S TREATMENT OF THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF ADULTERY

One of the most touching incidents in our Lord’s life surely was His treatment of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Frightened and shamed, she was dragged before Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees as He sat teaching in the Temple courtyard. The woman’s accusers posed what they thought was an inescapable dilemma to Jesus: should the woman be stoned to death as the Law of Moses prescribed?

If Jesus said, ‘No, let her go,’ He would convict Himself of contempt for the Law, held sacred by the Jews. If He said, ‘Yes, stone her,’ His reputation of compassion for sinners would be destroyed. ‘What dost thou say?’ the Pharisees urged.

CASTING THE FIRST STONE

Seeming to ignore their question, Jesus leaned over and wrote in the dust with His finger. What He wrote has remained a secret for twenty centuries. Were His markings an aimless tracing, or did He begin to spell out the sins of the men who stood before Him? In any event, as He continued to write He directed the accusers, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.’

One by one they slunk away until the pitiable woman stood alone before Jesus. Only then did He look up with merciful eyes to say, ‘Go thy way, and from now on sin no more.’

Christ’s admonition, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone,’ should be graven deeply in the heart of each of us. A saint will weep for sinners and pray for sinners, but it takes someone much less than a saint to condemn a sinner.

Almost always it will be a selfish spouse who accuses his or her partner of selfishness. It will be a self-seeker who censures a fellow employee for toadying to the boss. There will be a basic streak of covetousness in the person who imputes dishonesty to another. It will be a fundamentally proud or ambitious person who points to pride or ambition in his neighbour.

FACING OUR HIDDEN WEAKNESSES SQUARELY

Psychologists have a name for this habit of fault-finding or of criticising others. They call it ‘projection’. It is a defence mechanism by which we try to still our uneasiness concerning our own unacknowledged and perhaps unrecognised weaknesses. Subconsciously we try to get rid of our unworthy feelings and desires by projecting them onto someone else. For example, the self-righteous woman who shows most scorn for a prostitute or an unwed mother, is trying desperately to keep the lid on her own suppressed sexual urges.

Projection is a very unhealthy form of personality adjustment. It would be much more salutary to drag our hidden weaknesses out into the daylight and to face them squarely.

We ARE human. We possess all the defects to which fallen human nature is subject. There is no sin in the book of which we are not essentially capable. If we have not erred grievously, it is no great credit to ourselves. It is God’s grace which has won our victories for us, plus perhaps the good fortune of a truly Christian upbringing and a protected environment – which themselves ate gifts of God.

LIVING A CHRISTLIKE LIFE

This matter of forbearance toward others, of patience with their mistakes and compassion for their sins, is enormously important for the living of a Christlike life. In fact, there IS no genuine Christian life without it.

Probably few of us ever will become totally perfect in our effort to leave all judgment to God. There will be moments of resentment or of pique when we forget our resolve. However, such moments will be few if, as accusatory words rise to our lips, we summon up the vision of Jesus writing in the sand and hear the challenge of His invitation, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone.’

– Fr Leo Trese

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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in Words of Wisdom

 

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AT THE HOUR OF DEATH YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF SURROUNDED BY EVIL SPIRITS

AT THE HOUR OF DEATH YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF SURROUNDED BY EVIL SPIRITS

Jesus Christ said, ‘I will come as a thief, unseen and in secret.

Jesus Christ said, ‘I will come as a thief, unseen and in secret.’ Your merciful Saviour warns you in season, for He desires that you may be saved. Do what God desires of you, profit by the warning, prepare yourself to die well before death itself comes. ‘Be ready,’ for when there is no more time for preparation, it is necessary to be already prepared. (Examine here your besetting sins.)

It is certain that you must die. The drama of this world must close for you, and you know not when. Who knows whether you will live a year, a month, or even till to-morrow? Jesus! enlighten me and pardon me. (Arouse your soul to contrition, and make a firm resolution.)

Consider how you will lie, at the hour of death, stretched upon a bed, surrounded by your weeping friends, a priest by your side to assist your soul; a crucifix at your head, the lighted taper at your feet; in fine, already just at the entrance of eternity. Dreadful pains afflict your distracted head, it grows dark around you, your tongue is parched, your breath is short, your breast is burdened, your blood chilled, your flesh shrunken, your heart rent with anguish, all you have is gliding from you, and, poor and naked, you will be thrown into a grave to rot. There worms and insects will gnaw your flesh, and nothing of you will be left but the crumbling bones and a little dust. Open some grave and look! what has become of that rich, that avaricious man, that vain and worldly woman?

Thus ends this earthly pilgrimage

Thus ends life. At the hour of death you will find yourself surrounded by evil spirits, who will bring up before you all the sins you have committed from your childhood. Now the devil conceals and excuses your sins, that he may lead you into sin; he says to you, This vanity, this pleasure, this dangerous company, this inclination is no great sin; you have no bad intention in this acquaintance; but at the hour of death he will show you all the enormity of your sins. (Examine yourself thoroughly as to your besetting sin.) By the light of that eternity into which you are just entering, you will then see what an evil it was to have offended an infinite God. Now, while there is yet time, while you can do it, remedy the evil, for then it will be too late. (Awaken your contrition, and make a firm resolution.)

Consider that death is a moment upon which a whole eternity depends. Behold! here lies a man just dying, and therefore near to both eternities: near an eternity of happiness, or an eternity of misery. See, his fate for eternity depends upon his last breath, after which his soul will be forever happy or forever lost.

The moment on which eternity depends

Oh, the end of life! the last breath! that last moment, on which eternity depends – an eternity of glory or of pain – of happiness or of misery; of joy, or of despair; an eternity of every good, or an eternity of every evil; an eternity in heaven, or an eternity in hell! For, if in that last moment you are saved, you will have nothing more to suffer, you will be forever happy and blessed; but if you die in sin, and are damned, you will be wretched, and in despair, so long as God is God. In death, you will see what mean those words, heaven, hell, sin, an offended God, contempt of the divine Law, sins hidden in confession, good of others not restored. ‘O, miserable being that I am,’ the dying man will exclaim, ‘I must now, in a few moments, appear in the presence of God! Who knows what judgment will meet me there? Whither am I going, to heaven or to hell? Shall I rejoice forever with the angels, or shall I burn eternally with the damned? Shall I be a child of God, or a slave of the devil? Alas! soon, too soon, I shall know, and where I find myself the first moment, there shall I remain through eternity.

Ah! what will become of me in a few hours, in a few moments? What will become of me when I can no longer repair that scandal? when I cannot restore those ill-gotten goods? when I cannot pardon my enemies from my heart? when I cannot any longer make good that confession?’ (Examine yourself as to your principal sin.) Then will you curse a thousand times that day in which you sinned; you will curse that pleasure, that revenge which you have taken, but too late, and without avail, because you will do it then only from the fear of punishment, and not from love of God! Ah! Lord, behold – now, at this very moment, I turn to thee; I will not wait for death; now, and always, I will love thee; I embrace thee, and in thy embrace will I die! My Mother, Mary, let me die under thy protecting mantle; help me in my death! Amen. (Awaken your contrition, and make a firm resolution.)

– St Alphonsus

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in Words of Wisdom

 

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WHY WAS JESUS CONCEIVED OF A BETROTHED VIRGIN, RATHER THAN OF ONE WHO WAS FREE?

WHY WAS JESUS CONCEIVED OF A BETROTHED VIRGIN, RATHER THAN OF ONE WHO WAS FREE?

HOMILY OF ST JEROME, PRIEST

(Book 1 of Commentary on Matthew, Ch.1)

Why was he conceived of a betrothed virgin, rather than of one who was free? First, that through the genealogy of Joseph, the lineage of Mary might be shown. Secondly, lest she should be stoned by the Jews as an adulteress. Thirdly, that she might have a comforter when fleeing into Egypt. The Martyr Ignatius even added a fourth reason why he should have been conceived of a betrothed virgin: “That his birth,” he says, “might be concealed from the devil, since he would suppose that he had been born, not of a virgin, but of a married woman.

Joseph kept silence about the mystery he did not understand

But Joseph, her husband, being a just man and not wishing to expose her to reproach, was minded to put her away privately. If anyone is joined to an adulteress, he becomes one body with her, and according to the Law, not only those who commit such sin but also those who have knowledge of it, are held guilty. How then could Joseph be described as just if he had concealed the sin of his wife?

But it is a testimony to Mary that Joseph, knowing her chastity, yet wondering what had happened, kept silence about the mystery he did not understand.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2017 in Words of Wisdom

 

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PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS

PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS

LET THEM COME TO ME, FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

O Jesus, Friend of children, Who from thy most tender years didst grow visibly in wisdom and in grace before God and men; Who at the age of twelve east seated in the Temple, in the midst of the doctors, listening to them attentively, asking them questions, and exciting their admiration by the prudence and wisdom of thy discourse; Who didst receive so willingly the children, blessing them and saying to thy disciples: “Let them come to Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven,” inspire me as thou didst inspire Blessed Peter Canisius, model and guide of the perfect Catechist, with a profound respect and a holy affection for childhood, a taste and a marked devotion for instructing them in Christian doctrine, a special aptitude in making them understand its mysteries, and love its beauties. I ask this of thee, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

[300 days, once a day. – Pius X., March 15th, 1906.]

– St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty & Sons, Leeds, 1916

 

 

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DEARLY BELOVED, LET EACH OF US FIGHT FOR EITHER THE WHITE CROWN OF VIRGINITY, OR THE RED CROWN OF MARTYRDOM

DEARLY BELOVED, LET EACH OF US FIGHT FOR EITHER THE WHITE CROWN OF VIRGINITY, OR THE RED CROWN OF MARTYRDOM

And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Today, dearly beloved, on one solemn day of rejoicing, we celebrate the feast of all the saints in heaven. In their communion, heaven exults; in their patronage, earth rejoices; in their triumph, holy Church is crowned with glory. Their testimony becomes more glorious with honour in proportion to the intensity of their agony. As the battle waxed fiercer, the greater was the glory which came to those who fought; the more terrible their tortures, the more illustrious the triumph of their martyrdom; the greater their torments, the greater their rewards. As our holy mother the Catholic Church – now spread far and wide throughout the whole world – has been taught by Christ Jesus her Head, not to fear shame, or the cross or death, but to become stronger and stronger, not by resisting but by enduring, so has she breathed into her children, welded by the cruel prison into a glorious band, a triumphant spirit equal to her own in its fire and in courage to carry on the conflict.

Courage

O mother Church truly holy, whose glory God deigns to illumine, whom the glorious blood of conquering martyrs adorns, whom the white robes of virgins clothe with an inviolate confession of faith, roses and lilies are not wanting to your garlands. Dearly beloved, let each one of us fight that he may gain the high dignity of one or the other of these honours, either the white crown of virginity, or the red crown of martyrdom. In the heavenly camps, both peace and war have their own garlands with which the soldiers of Christ are crowned.

The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.

For the ineffable and limitless goodness of God has provided that the time of both toil and struggle shall not be prolonged unduly, nor drawn-out and without end, but brief, and as I might say, of a moment. Therefore, although in this short and difficult life there may be labours and struggles, in that life which is eternal there are crowns and rewards of merits. The struggles are soon over, the rewards for merits last forever. God in his goodness has provided, too, that after the darkness of this life they shall see an exceedingly great radiance, they shall receive blessedness far beyond the bitterness of all their torment. The Apostle bears witness of this when he says, “The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” [Romans 8:18]

– St Bede the Venerable, Priest, Sermon 18 on the Saints, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
 

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“THOU SHALT NOT KILL”: TO FULFIL THIS COMMANDMENT, IT IS NOT ENOUGH JUST TO REFRAIN FROM PHYSICALLY MURDERING SOMEONE

“THOU SHALT NOT KILL”: TO FULFIL THIS COMMANDMENT, IT IS NOT ENOUGH JUST TO REFRAIN FROM PHYSICALLY MURDERING SOMEONE

For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:20)

The righteousness of the Pharisees is that they shall not kill; the righteousness of those who are destined to enter into the kingdom of heaven is that they shall not be angry without cause. Not to kill is, therefore, the least commandment; and whoever shall break that shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever shall fulfil that commandment not to kill will not necessarily be great and fit for the kingdom of heaven; but yet he has ascended to a certain degree. He will be made perfect, however, if he refrains from anger without cause; and if he shall do this, he will be removed much further from the guilt of murder. And, therefore, he who teaches that we should not be angry, does not destroy the law which forbids us to kill, but rather completes it; so that we preserve our innocence both outwardly when we do not kill, and in the heart when we refrain from anger.

– From: St Augustine, Bishop, Book 1 on the Sermon of the Lord on the Mount, Ch. 9, from An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ST JOHN DAMASCENE ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

ST JOHN DAMASCENE ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, FEAST: NOVEMBER 21

Joachim was united in marriage with Anna, a most excellent and praiseworthy woman. Like that first Anna, who was barren but who through prayer and a vow bore Samuel, this Anna, through her supplications and a promise received from God – the very Mother of God – that in this she might not be inferior in any way to those other illustrious matrons. Thus grace (for the name Anna means grace) brings forth the Lady (for the name Mary means Lady). Truly she becomes the lady among all created beings, since she was the Mother of the Creator. Mary first saw the light of day in the house of Joachim near the Probatica, and was brought to the temple. Like a flower planted in the house of God, nurtured by the Holy Spirit, like a fruitful olive tree, she became the abode of all virtues. She dispelled from her mind every desire of this life or of the flesh. She preserved virginity in soul and body as became her who was to receive God into her bosom.

– From the book of St John Damascene on the orthodox faith, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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