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THE ANGELS OF THE FIRESIDE: THE ANGEL OF GRATITUDE

THE ANGELS OF THE FIRESIDE: THE ANGEL OF GRATITUDE

How to attain a happy home and a content family

The Angel of Gratitude

This is perhaps the most beloved of the Angels of the Fireside, because he unceasingly reminds us of our kindness to others. Nothing is so sweet as to feel that we are kind.

But it must be confessed, alas! that the angel of gratitude – that angel who, either as a child, friend, brother, sister, or companion, repeatedly makes us know that we are kind and generous – is not often to be found.

Unconditional appreciation and kindness

To merit this name it is not sufficient to manifest the gratitude of our hearts on particular occasions, such as when we receive a benefit, or on some feast or anniversary; on the contrary, this sentiment should so fill our hearts as to flood over all our faculties and senses.

Whenever we are in the presence of a benefactor, or in conversation with him, the smile on our lips and the gentleness of our words must let him see that “we are happy near him, because he is so kind.”

When we seek to give him pleasure, or to lavish attention upon him which we think he requires, our manner must say to him: “I do it all to remind you how kind you are.”

Finally, our repeated attentions, without being obtrusive, and our services, without being troublesome, must say to him: “I can never be as kind as you are.”

Oh! is it not true that there is happiness in having near us a heart thus filled with gratitude?

It will never weary of us, nor we of it.

It will never cease to be devoted to us, and we will never cease our efforts to do it good.

It will make us know that we can always rely on it, and it understands that it can equally depend on us.

Such a heart is not a mere dream of the imagination; there are many such in families, in communities, and amongst friends… but they have not the courage to show themselves.

Do you, who read and love these pages, not feel that they make known your experiences, and relate only what you yourself would wish to do for some people near you, and to whom you owe very much?

Why, then, do you not do it?

Why do you gradually permit to depart from you that desire to be grateful which God has been pleased to give you, and of which he will demand an account?

A grateful heart is a privileged grace.

The absence of this virtue, says Father Faber, is a grave fault, and certainly does not prove the holiness of him who is devoid of it.

Show me a person who retains for a long time the remembrance of some trifling favour, who seems never able to pay the debts which he thinks his heart owes, who exaggerates his obligations to others, who estimates them at twenty times their value; … in my opinion that person is infinitely more likely to become a saint than if he were raised in ecstasy during prayer.

Then prove yourselves grateful. Gratitude attracts new favours, too, and this sweet interchange of treasures between hearts softens them, opens them to grace, frees them from little antipathies, mean jealousies, petty rivalries – all of which are to the family what thorns are to the rose.

Prove yourselves grateful. It is impossible for a grateful heart ever to become a wicked heart.

– From: Golden Grains, A Collection of Little Counsels for the Sanctification and Happiness of Every-Day Life, H.M.Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

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Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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WHAT FATHER HAS EVER SHARED HIS CHILDREN’S GRIEFS AS GOD HAS SHARED OURS?

WHAT FATHER HAS EVER SHARED HIS CHILDREN’S GRIEFS AS GOD HAS SHARED OURS?

GOD IS OUR FATHER

God is our Father, and we are His children by predilection; idle and wasteful, unworthy to be still called His sons, and nevertheless, still His heirs, still the objects of His paternal tenderness.

What mother has ever watched over the cradle of her first-born with the solicitude which He has shown for us? What father has ever shared his children’s griefs as God has shared ours, or bestowed his treasures more generously upon them, without even making the smallest claim on their gratitude?

Never has an affectionate father, in leading his children to bewail their fault, by showing them the pain it has caused him, and by redoubling the proofs of his affection, shown such patience as God has employed to touch our hardened hearts, and led us, humbled but more loving, to His feet. Even the rigour of His chastisements becomes dear to us, since they are accompanied by such favours and such fresh contrivances of His love.

– Fr Faber in Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

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DO NOT FEAR PEOPLE’S USELESS OPINIONS – TRUST GOD INSTEAD

DO NOT FEAR PEOPLE’S USELESS OPINIONS – TRUST GOD INSTEAD

What can anyone do to you by word or injury? He hurts himself rather than you, and no matter who he may be he cannot escape the judgment of God. Keep God before your eyes, therefore…

THE VAIN JUDGMENTS OF MEN

The voice of Christ tells us… My Child, trust firmly in the Lord, and do not fear the judgment of men when conscience tells you that you are upright and innocent. For it is good and blessed to suffer such things, and they will not weigh heavily on the humble heart that trusts in God rather than in itself. Many men say many things, and therefore little faith is to be put in them.

An impossibility

Likewise, it is impossible to satisfy all men. Although St Paul tried to please all in the Lord, and became all things to men, yet he made little of their opinions. He laboured abundantly for the edification and salvation of others, as much as lay in him and as much as he could, but he could not escape being sometimes judged and despised by others. Therefore, he committed all to God Who knows all things, and defended himself by his patience and humility against the tongues of those who spoke unjustly or thought foolish things and lies, or made accusations against him. Sometimes, indeed, he did answer them, but only lest his silence scandalise the weak.

Today he is here, tomorrow he is not seen

Who are you, then, that you should be afraid of mortal man? Today he is here, tomorrow he is not seen. Fear God and you will not be afraid of the terrors of men. What can anyone do to you by word or injury? He hurts himself rather than you, and no matter who he may be he cannot escape the judgment of God. Keep God before your eyes, therefore, and do not quarrel with peevish words.

If it seems, then, that you are worsted and that you suffer undeserved shame, do not repine over it and do not lessen your crown by impatience. Look instead to heaven, to Me, Who have power to deliver you from all disgrace and injury, and to render to everyone according to his works.

– From: The Imitation of Christ by Venerable Thomas à Kempis

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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A MAN OUGHT TO ROOT HIMSELF SO FIRMLY IN GOD THAT HE WILL NOT NEED THE CONSOLATIONS OF MEN

A MAN OUGHT TO ROOT HIMSELF SO FIRMLY IN GOD THAT HE WILL NOT NEED THE CONSOLATIONS OF MEN

We are cast down, but we perish not: Always bearing in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our body. (2Co4:9b,10)

THE VALUE OF ADVERSITY

It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men.

When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realises clearly that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good. Saddened by his miseries and sufferings, he laments and prays. He wearies of living longer and wishes for death that he might be dissolved and be with Christ. Then he understands fully that perfect security and complete peace cannot be found on earth.

– From: The Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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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

 

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LOVE IS THE DAUGHTER OF HEAVEN

LOVE IS THE DAUGHTER OF HEAVEN

COMPASSION

Charity is the daughter of heaven.

Without charity, nothing avails me, with charity I am all-powerful. Charity is patient, benevolent, self-sacrificing, forgiving.

What happiness to be able to forgive!

If my head were cut off, I would wish that it were possible to put it on again, in order to forgive, and to have it cut off again in order to forgive again. Saint Paul says that if he had not been the victim of mercy on the road to Damascus [Acts 9:1-30], he could not so well have preached mercy. Mercy is the love of God giving itself to us.

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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WITH EVERLASTING LOVE THE LORD YOUR REDEEMER HAS TAKEN PITY ON YOU (IS 54:5-14)

WITH EVERLASTING LOVE THE LORD YOUR REDEEMER HAS TAKEN PITY ON YOU (IS 54:5-14)

For he that made thee shall rule over thee, the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, shall be called the God of all the earth.

For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and mourning in spirit, and as a wife cast off from her youth, said thy God.

For a small moment I have forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.

In a moment of indignation have I hid my face a little while from thee, but with everlasting kindness have I had mercy on thee, said the Lord thy Redeemer.

This thing is to me as in the days of Noe [Noah], to whom I swore, that I would no more bring the waters of Noe upon the earth: so have I sworn not to be angry with thee, and not to rebuke thee.

For the mountains shall be moved, and the hills shall tremble; but my mercy shall not depart from thee, and the covenant of my peace shall not be moved: said the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

O poor little one, tossed with tempest, without all comfort, behold I will lay thy stones in order, and will lay thy foundations with sapphires,

And I will make thy bulwarks of jasper: and thy gates of graven stones, and all thy borders of desirable stones.

All thy children shall be taught of the Lord: and great shall be the peace of thy children.

And thou shalt be founded in justice: depart far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee.

 

 

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