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Posts Tagged ‘Attitude’

“Sadness is the end product of selfishness”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/03/18 at 12:00 AM
May no one read sadness or sorrow in your face, when you spread in the world around you the sweet smell of your sacrifice: the children of God should always be sowers of peace and joy. (Furrow, 59)

Being children of God, how can we be sad? Sadness is the end product of selfishness. If we truly want to live for God, we will never lack cheerfulness, even when we discover our errors and wretchedness. Cheerfulness finds its way into our life of prayer, so much so that we cannot help singing for joy. For we are in love, and singing is a thing that lovers do.

If we live our lives in this way, we shall be bringing peace to the world. We shall be making God’s service attractive to others, because ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ [1]. Christians are ordinary people, but their hearts overflow with the joy that comes when we set out to fulfil, with the constant help of grace, the will of the Father. Christians don’t see themselves as victims, underrated, or restricted in their behaviour. They walk head on high, because they are men and children of God.

Our faith brings out the full meaning of these human virtues, which no one should ever neglect. Christians should be second to none as human beings. Those who follow Christ are able (not by their own merit but by the grace of God) to communicate to those around them what they at times suspect but cannot quite grasp: that true happiness, a genuine spirit of serving our neighbour, can only come by passing through the Heart of our Redeemer, perfectus Deus, perfectus homo. (Friends of God, 92-93)

[1] 2 Cor 9:7

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“The richness of our faith”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/12/20 at 12:00 AM
Don’t be a pessimist. Don’t you realize that all that happens or can happen is for the best?—Your optimism will be a necessary consequence of your faith. (The Way, 378)

In the midst of the limitations that accompany our present life, in which sin is still present in us to some extent at least, we Christians perceive with a particular clearness all the wealth of our divine filiation, when we realize that we are fully free because we are doing our Father’s work, when our joy becomes constant because no one can take our hope away.

It is then that we can admire at the same time all the great and beautiful things of this earth, can appreciate the richness and goodness of creation, and can love with all the strength and purity for which the human heart was made. It is then that sorrow for sin does not degenerate into a bitter gesture of despair or pride, because sorrow and knowledge of human weakness lead us to identify ourselves again with Christ’s work of redemption and feel more deeply our solidarity with other men.

It is then, finally, that we Christians experience in our own life the sure strength of the Holy Spirit, in such a way that our own failures do not drag us down. Rather they are an invitation to begin again, and to continue being faithful witnesses of Christ in all the moments of our life — in spite of our own personal weaknesses, which, in such a case, are normally no more than small failings that hardly perturb the soul. And even if they were grave sins, the sacrament of penance, received with true sorrow, enables us to recover our peace with God and to become again a good witness of his mercy.

Such is the brief summary, which can barely be expressed in human language, of the richness of our faith and of our christian life, if we let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. (Christ is passing by, 138)

Work with cheerfulness”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/01/02 at 12:00 AM
“If you say that you want to imitate Christ|… and yet have time on your hands, then you are on the road to lukewarmness. (The Forge, 701)

Professional work ‑‑ and the work of a housewife is one of the greatest of professions ‑‑ is a witness to the worth of the human creature. It provides a chance to develop one’s own personality; it creates a bond of union with others; it constitutes a fund of resources; it is a way of helping in the improvement of the society we live in, and of promoting the progress of the whole human race|… For a Christian, these grand views become even deeper and wider. For work, which Christ took up as something both redeemed and redeeming, becomes a means, a way of holiness, a specific task which sanctifies and can be sanctified. (The Forge, 702)

Work with cheerfulness, with peace, with presence of God. In this way you will also carry out your task with common sense. You will carry it through to the end. Though tiredness is beating you down, you will finish it off well; and your works will be pleasing to God. (The Forge, 744)

You should maintain throughout the day a constant conversation with Our Lord, a conversation fed even by the things that happen in your professional work. Go in spirit to the Tabernacle… and offer to God the work that is in your hands. (The Forge, 745)

“Renew your joy for the struggle”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/09 at 9:11 AM
Sometimes you feel that you are beginning to lose heart and that everything is getting on top of you. This kills your good desires, and you can hardly manage to overcome this feeling even by making acts of hope. Never mind: this is a good time to ask God for more grace. Then, go on! Renew your joy for the struggle, even though you might lose the odd skirmish. (Furrow, 77)

There are many who repeat that hackneyed expression ‘while there’s life there’s hope’, as if hope were an excuse for ambling along through life without too many complications or worries on one’s conscience. Or as if it were a pretext for postponing indefinitely the decision to mend one’s ways and the struggle to attain worthwhile goals, particularly the highest goal of all which is to be united with God.

If we follow this view, we will end up confusing hope with comfort. Fundamentally, what is wrong with it is that there is no real desire to achieve anything worthwhile, either spiritual or material. Thus some people’s greatest ambition boils down to avoiding whatever might upset the apparent calm of their mediocre existence. These timid, inhibited, lazy souls, full of subtle forms of selfishness, are content to let the days, the years, go by sine spe nec metu,* without setting themselves demanding targets, nor experiencing the hopes and fears of battle: the important thing for them is to avoid the risk of disappointment and tears. How far one is from obtaining something, if the very wish to possess it has been lost through fear of the demands involved in achieving it! (Friends of God, 206-207)

* ‘Neither hoping nor fearing’

“God who created you without you, will not save you without you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/03/21 at 9:11 AM
 I am copying this example of cowardice from a letter so that you will not imitate it: “I am certainly very grateful to you for keeping me in mind, because I need many prayers. But I would also be grateful if, when you ask Our Lord to make me an apostle, you would not insist on asking him to make me surrender my freedom.” (Furrow, 11)

I readily understand those words of St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, which ring out like a wonderful hymn to freedom, ‘God who created you without you, will not save you without you’ [1]. Every single one of us, you and I as well, always has the possibility, the unfortunate possibility of rising up against God, of rejecting him (perhaps by our behaviour) or of crying out, ‘we do not want this man to rule over us’[2]…

Ask yourself now (I too am examining my conscience) whether you are holding firmly and unshakably to your choice of Life? When you hear the most lovable voice of God urging you on to holiness, do you freely answer ‘Yes’? Let us turn our gaze once more to Jesus, as he speaks to the people in the towns and countryside of Palestine. He doesn’t want to force himself upon us. ‘If you have a mind to be perfect…’ [3], he says to the rich young man. The young man refused to take the hint, and the Gospel goes on to say: abiit tristis [4], he went away forlorn. That is why I have sometimes called him the ‘sad lad’. He lost his happiness because he refused to hand over his freedom to God. (Friends of God, 23-34)

[1] St Augustine, Sermo 169, 13 (PL 38,923)
[2] Luke 19:14
[3] Matt 19:21
[4] Matt 19:22

“Here I am, Lord, ready to do whatever you want”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/08/09 at 1:45 AM
“What do I have to do to maintain my love for God and make it increase?” you asked me, fired with enthusiasm. Leave the “old man” behind, my son, and cheerfully give up things which are good in themselves but hinder your detachment from yourself. You have to repeat constantly and with deeds, “Here I am, Lord, ready to do whatever you want.” (The Forge, 117)

Once again I raise my heart in thanksgiving to my God and Lord, because there was nothing to stop him from creating us impeccable, irresistibly drawn towards the good. Nevertheless, ‘he judged that his servants would be better if they served him freely’ [1]. How great is the love, the mercy of our Father! Whenever I think of his divine extravagance for us his children, I wish I had a thousand tongues, a thousand hearts and more, with which to be constantly praising God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Just think: the Almighty, who through his Providence rules the whole universe, does not want the forced service of slaves; he prefers to have children who are free…

But we can still say ‘no’ to God, rejecting this source of new and permanent happiness. Anyone who does so stops being a son and becomes a slave…

Allow me to insist on this point. It is quite evident, as we can see in ourselves and in others, that everybody is a slave in some form or other. Some stoop before riches; others worship power; some, the relative tranquility of skepticism, and there are those who discover in sensuality their golden calf. The same happens in noble things. We put effort into a job of work, into an undertaking, large or small, into scientific, artistic, literary or spiritual activities. Wherever there is commitment and real passion, the person involved lives enslaved, joyfully devoting himself to fulfilling his task. (Friends of God, 33-34)

[1] St Augustine, ibid (PL 34,134)