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Showing posts with the label Humility

The Beatitudes: Jesus' Way Requires Virtue

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In today’s Gospel reading from Matt 5:1-12, we hear Jesus teach about the Beatitudes. I am quite partial to the Beatitudes, as they embody virtue. As you all know, virtue is my “thing.” When we look at each one of the Beatitudes, we see that they are actually God’s gift of grace. That is because, to master the Beatitudes, we must embrace virtue. To embrace virtue, we need God’s grace. The Beatitudes – Jesus’ Way!To be poor in spirit, one must embrace and exemplifyhumilityIf you are one who mourns, you arecompassionateMeekness is obvious. Yet to bemeek, one requires great strength (fortitude).If you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you embodyjusticeMerciful is obvious, like meekness. However, to bemerciful,to the extent necessary, one must be ready to alsoforgive... Read more... 

Where Do I Stand This Holy Thursday?

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The question which naturally arises on this night, on the eve of Christ’s death, is where do I stand?
Do I stand among the righteous, pure, self-sufficient ones or do I stand with the poor in spirit,  those captive to their woundedness, and oppressed in the face of their innate sinfulness? Do I need saved and am I humble enough to ask for help? If I can’t, then Jesus died in vain, the power of his crucifixion is wasted on me and I will be unable to rejoice on Easter Sunday. continue reading

"Raving Politics"

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Quite a few parts of the Bible don't talk about forgiveness. But quite a few do, and they're not just in the New Testament.

This morning's second reading doesn't mention forgiveness directly, but the verse right after it does.

They all say why forgiving is a good idea.

It's enlightened self-interest, in the long run....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Secrets to A Grace Filled Marriage: Humility and a Sense of Humour

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My husband, Michael, and I will have been married for 39 years on Sept. 1, 2017. After a difficult life, we are happy and still in love. Surprisingly, we have become one in reality, deeply in tune with each other’s spirits even though we are still opposites in personality. Our tangible joy is inexplicable through secular eyes because from all outward appearances our life together has been a tough journey through poverty, raising nine kids, facing overwhelming chores on a small family farm and dealing with long-term, clinical depression. Accessing Power in the Sacrament of Marriage How did our marriage survive never mind thrive? The grace available in the Sacrament of Marriage is not some esoteric theology;  it is real and it is powerful. The power available in the sacrament is what kept my husband and me together through the rough years. We both understood, beyond a doubt, that God brought us together. We never questioned this basic call from God, our vocation together, even during t…

So, HOW Do We Live in the Love of Christ?

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To the casual observer, I appear to be a devoted Catholic mother who has lived a sacrificial life worthy of a modern saint. Little do people realize that although I did pour out my life struggling to raise nine kids on a small farm with little disposable income, I actually missed the core of Christ’s message; I tried too hard to be a perfect Christian rather than allowing myself to be loved by God.

The stress of my lifestyle brought me low, low enough to finally realize I was not as Christian as I had once supposed. In fact, I realized I was actually a verified Pharisee, striving to please God. When I confessed this devastating insight about fifteen years ago, the priest told me he had never heard a better confession but I had missed the next step after my brutal self-examination, the most important step for a disciple of Jesus. I was refusing to accept the forgiveness and love of God.

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Why Most of Us Are Scapegoats, Not Saintly Martyrs

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When we suffer in isolation for our own failings or act like a scapegoat who suffers as the result of others who sin against us, we like to think of ourselves as saintly martyrs, but our suffering is anything but holy and especially not redemptive.
 In fact, there is no act filled with more pride because we are in fact stealing Christ’s job. It takes humility to realize our miserable, self-inflicted suffering does not save anyone, least of all ourselves. The only way to become humble is to trust in God to save us because we realized our own efforts have failed.
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Christ's Humility: A Teaching Moment, Then and Now

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Jesus didn’t enter Jerusalem on a beautiful stallion, or better yet in a covered canapé. No, He entered Jerusalem on the back of an ass; one of the simplest and hardest working creatures known to man. In Christ’s simplicity, we see Christ’s humility.

Throughout Christ’s entire Passion and death, He consistently placed the wellbeing of each one of us ahead of Himself. He thought more about us that He thought of Himself.  For example, He took the verbal abuse of His accusers in silence, not wanting to draw attention to His followers. When tensions escalated, He took... Read more... 

Saint Joseph: The Silent Saint of Salvific Service

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Saint Joseph, a man of few words; no – make that no words –had a huge impact on salvation history. He is portrayed in the Bible, without ever having spoken one word. All mention of him is in the third person. Yet, silent Saint Joseph was one of the most important instruments of Christ’s salvific action.

Had Joseph refused to take Mary as his wife, Mary would have been placed in a tenuous situation, and so would the safety of her child, Jesus. You see, in Mary’s day, if a woman was caught having relations with a man out of wedlock, she could have been stoned to death. Because Mary was pregnant with Jesus, everyone else would have assumed that Mary was having relations with a man. Therefore, no one would have understood that Mary’s pregnancy was a result of the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing of Mary. Saint Joseph’s silent “yes,” – his own “fiat,” to taking Mary as his wife – paved the way for fulfilling God’s plan for salvation. Thus, Jesus could be given a safe and secure means to grow to…

Footprints in Ancient Ash

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Scientists are pretty sure that Saccorhytus coronarius is an ancestor of lancets, sea squirts, fish, amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, and mammals: including us.

Much more recently, about 3,660,000 years back, five Australopithecus afarensis strolled across volcanic ash. One of them was "astonishingly larger" than any other A. afarensis we know of. Exactly what that means isn't, I think, clear. Not yet.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Stealing God’s Job: Defying Reality

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Just like most people, I do not simply break a rule here and there;  no, like every other human being, I continually break the most fundamental law of the universe without any conscious effort by refusing to accept reality. 

Instead of realizing my place in the universe, as one of God’s creations, I put on masks and false personalities in a vain attempt to deny my very nature. 

In pride, I act like a queen at the centre my own little world. Even worse, I steal God’s job by trying to save myself by my own efforts.


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The Virtue Trap

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I generally identify with the tax collector in today's Gospel reading: Luke 18:9-14.

That's okay, since emulating "those who were convinced of their own righteousness," despising everyone else, is a bad idea.

The problem wasn't what the Pharisee was doing.

Fasting, within reason, is a good idea. It can be part of penance. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1434, 1438, 2043)

Along with tithing, it's part of being a Catholic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Pride Will Infiltrate Your Soul; Chiseling Required to Uproot

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We conclude with the seventh installment of our seven-part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss Pride: the root of all evil!

Pride will infiltrate your soul, leaving no room for anything else. It will drive your thoughts and actions, if you let it. You don’t even know what is happening to you at the time. Unbeknownst to me, that is exactly what happened to me! Only upon reflection, and with a true dose of honesty, can one start the process of moving from prideful to humble. Here is my story:

When I was a child,... Read more...

Gluttony Will Harm You Physically, Spiritually: Time to Do Something About It

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We continue with the fourth installment of our seven-part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss Gluttony.

Gluttony, the overindulgence of eating/drinking to excess, will physically and spiritually harm you if left unchecked and unaddressed. Overeating/drinking can result in physical illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and liver disease, just to name a few. Gluttony robs you of the life you were meant to live, because you become the slave to the object of your temporal desire. You become fixated on the food and/or the drink.

Gluttony causes you to use food and/or drink to ... Read more...

The Spirituality and Miracles of St. Clare of Assisi

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August 11 is the memorial of St. Clare, one of my favorite saints. She was the first woman to follow the life of radical poverty practiced by St. Francis of Assisi and is the co-founder of the Poor Clares. Although I am not a Franciscan, I have had Franciscan friends, clergy, and spiritual directors instruct me on the beauty of St. Clare's spirituality. I have also learned a great deal from reading about her over the years. Clare and Francis (2007) is a film which depicts the fascinating story of her dramatic conversion and surrender to the will of God.

St. Clare is the patron saint of television. She is also the patron of eye disorders, embroiderers, good weather, and telephones.

The Contemplative Life

The Lady Clare was born into a noble family in Assisi in 1193 and was admired for her great beauty. When she heard Francis of Assisi preach his Lenten homilies at the Church of San Giorgio, she was captivated by his words. At age eighteen, she heard him say: "When there is pov…

Humility isn't Being Delusional

Truthfulness and humility are virtues, pride is a sin, and we’re supposed to practice humility.1

So Olympic athletes should say they're puny?

Small wonder some folks think faith makes no sense.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Presence Evangelism

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Now the Spirit of God is moving among the grassroots. It is the time  for the little people to shine.
 God is choosing humble, ordinary people who have suffered and lived obscure lives faithful to Him and allowed Him to purify and mold them into His presence. 
Such men and women attract others who are hungry for God because people sense the love and power of God in them. There is no room for pride or ego because it is all about God saving them in their littleness.
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Tim McGraw: "Humble and Kind"

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Not sure if y’all knew this or not, but I am a big country music fan. I heard Tim McGraw sing his new song, Humble and Kind, at a recent Country Music Awards show. Then, I seemed to catch it every time it played on the radio. Tim McGraw has a wonderfully distinct voice and this song speaks to my heart. Being the lover of virtue that I am, I immediately honed in on the lyrics, as well as the melody, of the song. I had some thoughts on the underlying message, but I was interested in learning how Tim McGraw interpreted the lyrics. So, I went to YouTube to see the video. Visual messages seem to have a way of really drilling the concept home. The video... Read more...

Illusion or Reality? Pride or Humility?

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During Lent, God presents us with a fundamental choice. Will we choose to continue to live in our human illusions or will we allow God to reveal His reality to us? Will we cling to false pride or embrace true humility? All too often we think we are more humble than we really are, especially if we have been striving to grow spiritually for a long time. The Pharisees were also earnest about their religious practices. As Christians, it is easy to denigrate the Jewish Pharisees, thinking we have risen above such behaviour because we live in New Testament times, no longer under the burden of the Old Testament Laws. However, before we judge these men too harshly, we should remember they were simply striving to be good, observant Jews. In their zeal, they inadvertently ended up seeking respect for themselves rather than inspiring love for God. continue reading

Transforming Prayer with Humility and Confidence

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I think God is pleased with all our prayers, no matter how imperfect they may be. After all, even if we’re pretty distracted, the fact that we’re praying tells God that we care. We believe in him. We want him involved in our lives. And he’s merciful. If we take one step toward him, he’ll take ten toward us. So if you’re praying and trying to connect with God even just once a day (more about how to do that here), you’re already doing great. But there is a way to make our prayers more meaningful. Our attitudes make a difference. Not because God gives more grace or less grace depending on how “good” our prayer is, but because the state of our mind and heart makes a difference on how open we are to receiving that grace. Think of the simple image of a cup. You’re standing before a waterfall. The water flows on, and on, and on… ceaselessly. How much you receive depends on you, and the cup you bring with you. If your cup is full of other stuff, you can’t take as much water away with you. If…

A Dream of Padre Pio

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Before God gave me my current Spiritual Director,
I was feeling very alone, and I asked God to send me someone to guide me.  That night I had a dream. I was in a large beautiful Church, like a Cathedral. The floors where marble.
Padre Pio came up to me carrying an open book, He......
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