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Archive for the ‘humility’ Category

The virtue of meekness which Jesus so strongly recommends brings many blessings. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the land”(Mt 5:5) The meek soul is a gentle soul that does not easily get upset. These souls are calm, generous, patient, kind and self-possessed. Meekness is able to deflect and destroy the angry outbursts of another and therefore ‘inherit the land”. Humility and patience also accompany this virtue. Like all virtues, this gentleness needs to be practiced until it has been acquired as a sustained habit. A soul can be having a peaceful day until some trial, injury or contradiction comes along. Then peace disappears. This disposition needs to be more than just exterior; it should be interior as well. A meek soul has control over impulses and interior feelings like resentment, indignation and anger. When habitual, meekness is accompanied by a great peace. And who wouldn’t want to inherit peace in their land? Our Lord Jesus is the perfect example of meekness. In examining his life as recorded in the scriptures, many passages can be found exemplifying his gentle character. The way he treated others, especially his enemies and those who opposed him, his forgiving those who injured him and even his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey all bear witness to his gentleness. By his meekness he conquered the world. This is power.

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Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, OCDS over at Spirit Singing has a wonderful post about false peace and the importance of self-knowledge that St. Teresa of Jesus so often emphasizes. Check out what she wrote here.

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The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The essence of this devotion is to His mercy and love and to make reparation for the neglect, indifference and ingratitude of man that results in Christ being left alone, abandoned and forgotten in the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Therese had a different approach to the Sacred Heart – it was always that the heart of Jesus was a heart of love – a purifying love. Suffering is part of the process of this purifying love, but it is not the end. For our saint this devotion is an aid in conforming our hearts to the heart of Jesus – one that is burning with love.

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St. Therese particularly emphasized Christ’s love as merciful. In a letter to Maurice Belliere written just weeks before she was to die, St. Therese wrote in order to inspire him, and all of us who call ourselves His friends, that:

 

“the heart of God is saddened more by the thousand little indelicacies of His friends than it is by the faults, even the grave ones, which people of the world commit.” But my dear little brother, it seems to me that it is only when his friends, ignoring their continual indelicacies, make a habit out of them and don’t ask forgiveness for them, that Jesus can utter those touching words which the Church puts on his lips in Holy Week: “These wounds you see in the palms of my hands are the ones I received in the house of those who loved me.”  For those who love Him, and after each fault come to ask pardon by throwing themselves into His arms, Jesus trembles with joy. He says to His angels what the father of the prodigal son said to his servants: “Put his best robe on him and put a ring on his finger, and let us rejoice” Ah! my brother, how the goodness of Jesus, His merciful love, are so little known! 

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The heart of Jesus is full of mercy – an infinite treasure of mercy. St. Therese urges us to go the Jesus with confidence in His mercy. She sees in the Gospel account of the prodigal son a message that applies not only to those who have committed great sins, but even to those who have turned away from venial sins. If we humble ourselves and strive to rise again after each fall or fault committed through a lack of reflection or through weakness, Jesus never tires of forgiving us and is thrilled “with joy” when we humbly acknowledge our faults and throw ourselves “into His arms” asking for forgiveness. Jesus’ love for us will be as tender as ever.


 

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4331084-praying-in-the-dark-with-a-rosary Today’s feast reminds us of the power of the Rosary and the value of prayer. It was established by St. Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto. Mary’s intercession was invoked through the praying of the Rosary by the faithful. The victory was attributed to her aide. The Rosary is a meditation on the life of Mary and a penetration into the mysteries of Christ. When we pray the Rosary we are following Mary’s example and are associating ourselves closely with the mysteries of salvation: the incarnation, passion and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God. To say the Rosary well requires recollection. Saying the prayers well and meditating on the events from the Gospels will nourish our interior life. The Rosary said well becomes for us a quarter of an hour’s meditation.

Lord, fill our hearts with your love, and as you revealed to us by an angel the coming of your Son as man, so lead us through his suffering and death to the glory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and  ever.   Amen

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“O Lord, You could not humble Yourself any more in order to teach me humility. That is why I want to respond to your love by putting myself in the lowest place and by sharing Your humiliations, so as to be able to share the kingdom of heaven with You hereafter. I beg You, divine Jesus, send me a humiliation every time I try to put myself above others. But Lord, You know my weakness; every morning I make resolution to practice humility and every evening I acknowledge that I still have many failures. I am tempted to be discouraged by this, but I know that discouragement also has its source in pride. That is why I prefer to put my trust in You alone, O my God. Since You are all–powerful, deign to create in my soul the virtue for which I long.”

 

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Our own sensuality and the world can give us peace. The riches we have can be a source of great peace, and our downfall. These riches are not our own but are given to us by God. As His good stewards they are to be shared among the poor. Instead we often store up our treasures or gather stuff into our barns “while delaying and putting off the poor who are suffering”. What St. Teresa stresses to her “daughters” in this matter is that they “be content with little”. She tells them that if they don’t “you will find yourselves frustrated because God is not going to give you more, and you will be unhappy.” (Meditations on the Song of Songs, 2,10)

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Another false peace that St. Teresa says the world gives is through honors. She begins by mentioning that “the poor are never honored very much.” Praise can do great harm because “once it starts it never ends – if you are not careful” and humble yourself afterward. So she cautions that we are never to seek peace for ourselves through words of praise because “little by little they could do you harm and make you believe that the truth was spoken”. Her counsel is then to never let words of praise pass without waging war interiorly.

“Remember your sins, and if in some matters people speak the truth in praising you, note that the virtue is not yours and that you are obliged to serve more. Awaken fear in your soul so that you do not rest in the kiss of this false peace given by the world; think that it is a kiss from Judas. Although some do not praise you with such an intention, the devil is watching to see how he can take away the spoils if you do not defend yourself against him. Believe that you have to stand here with sword in the hand of your thoughts. Although you think the praise does you no harm, do not trust it. Remember how many were at the top and are now at the bottom. There is no security while we are alive. For love of God, Sisters, always wage an interior war against these praises, for thus you will come away from them with the gain of humility, and the devil and the world who are on the lookout for you will be abashed.” (Meditations on the Song of Songs, 2, 13)

Another false peace comes from seeking one’s peace in comforts. This, too, is very dangerous. St. Teresa brings to mind Our Lord and His life which was far from a life of comfort. He suffered many trials. “Who has told us that comfortable living is good?”, she asks. “The body grows fat and the soul weakens.” Herein lies the danger, that the peace in comforts keeps us from thinking of the care of our soul. She gives examples of the harm that comes, without being aware of it that the craving of comforts give. Our bodies are fickle. One day “it will hurt you to take the discipline and eight days later perhaps not. Another day or number of days you will be unable to bear the coarse tunics, but this won’t be permanent. Some days eating fish may hurt you, but once your stomach gets used to it, it will not harm you.” What she is trying to tell us is to not grow lax and to keep in mind that the flesh is “deceptive and that we need to understand it”.

To sum up her thoughts on “false peace” we must remember that peace does not come without war. So let’s take up the battle, armed with God’s grace, and manfully attack the enemies or our souls: the world, the devil and the flesh.

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“To love is to give all and to give oneself.” ~ St. Therese of the Child Jesus

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I want to be more generous at prayer and to pray with greater devotion. This has long been my desire because I love God. I want to serve Him in this way, which is why I am a Secular Carmelite. I love to pray and want to put more love into the time that I spend in prayer. Often times though, I race through it just to get it done. It seems at other times I am just going through the motions. Sometimes the goal is just to fit in more quantity rather than quality, so I will fill up my time at prayer with various devotions without any real sentiment attached to them.

 To give myself completely and generously to prayer I need to be attentive to the task at hand. What holds me back from being generous with God at prayer?

 One thing for sure is selfishness. I need to make generous efforts to pray, which would greatly help in conquering “self”. I am often preoccupied when I begin to pray and these preoccupation encroach upon my prayer and carry me away from actually praying. I need to give these preoccupations to God first before beginning to pray. Attention to a short period of preparation before praying will aide in overcoming this obstacle to generosity. Sometimes I am just lazy; therefore, I need to arouse zeal within me by recalling the goal and to stir up within me the desire to rise higher. Additionally, prayer is a sacrifice and in this I am most wanting. It requires the sacrifice of time. It takes time to pray and this means to take away time from doing something else. But what else can be more important to do with the time I have? Sometimes I lack a generous spirit in praying because of discouraging results. Prayer is not always pleasant or rewarding. But then this is not the reason I pray. All these obstacles keep me from raising my heart and mind to God.

 Prayer needs to be approached not as a duty or obligation, but as the means of striving for union with God. Prayer is, after all, a gift. That I can commune with God is His gift, underserved by me worm of the earth! Therefore, I should approach prayer with great humility and trust.

 God is generous in His distribution of gifts, so I should be generous in my efforts, seeking to pray with the right dispositions and making a complete gift of myself to Him when I pray. I should never shrink from prayer, hesitate, avoid doing it, or waste away the time when I could be praying. Praying is a way to redeem time.

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