Showing posts with label virtue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label virtue. Show all posts

15 Nov 2017

Ungratefulness is Ugly: Count Your Blessings, Be Grateful


Do you know “Debbie Downer?” She’s that person that always has something to gripe about. You never see her in a good mood. She is too busy feeling sorry for herself to ever say “thank you” for anything. Debbie doesn’t have many friends, and maybe that’s because ungratefulness is ugly.

We tend to steer away from the Debbie Downers of the world, because as human beings we are drawn to the good, and virtuous qualities, we see in others. Innately, we like to be around positive people, because they lift our spirits. If you are a Debbie Downer, or know someone who has negative traits (and don’t we all know someone who has those traits?), then consider the need for a mind shift.

Changing the Heart from Ungratefulness to One of Gratitude


I think we could all call ourselves Debbie Downers from time to time, especially when...Read more... 

13 Nov 2017

Had I Really Forgiven the Bullies? Or Did I Have More Work to Do?


Forgiveness can take seventy times just to get it right! I thought I had forgiven the bullies who verbally abused me in grade school, until one recent Sunday, when I heard the Gospel from Matthew where it states,

Then Peter approaching Him asked, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times’? Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy times’ (Matt 18:21-22).
 
I realized that although I had forgiven the bullies, and therefore, hoped that they would be granted admission to heaven one day, I also thought that I wouldn’t mind if I never crossed paths with them in Heaven. This was because I was still holding tightly to the pain. Had I really forgiven the bullies fully, if I felt this way?

I didn’t want to hold on to the pain any longer. That day, I gave the pain to Jesus – literally! After receiving Communion, I went back to my seat to kneel and give thanks. As I closed my eyes, I saw...Read more...

6 Nov 2017

Self-Giving Love: Giving Without Expecting Repayment


The definition of self-giving love is to give without expecting repayment. With self-giving love, one gives from the heart, solely because he/she loves another for the sake of that person. There is no self-interest; only concern for the other person.

In today’s Gospel from Luke 14:12-14, Jesus tells us, via one of His parables, not to invite the wealthy to a banquet, for we may be asked to return the favor one day. Rather,

…when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
 

How to discern self-giving love


Let me take this one step further and ask you: When you give to the poor, do you... Read more... 

1 Nov 2017

All Saints Day: A Source of Virtuous Inspiration for Everyone


We take this day to remember all those saints who walked our path before us, triumphing in the face of adversity by placing their trust in God. Some of those saints are famous, like Saint Augustine, or Saint Francis of Assisi. And then, there are those saints who remain unknown to us; but, nonetheless, strove to do God’s will while on earth. Whether famous, or unknown, they now reap the reward of everlasting life with God. With perfected souls, they pray for us. They ask God to give us strength to resist evil. Through their intercession, we receive grace to persevere on our own journeys. These souls are a source of virtuous inspiration, making All Saints Day a day of remembrance and celebration.

All Saints Have a Story to Tell


Each saint has their own history, or story to tell. Saint Therese of Lisieux tells us of her “little way” of growing closer to God in The Story of a Soul. Saint Faustina shows us... Read more... 

30 Oct 2017

Do You Live by the Spirit or by the Flesh?


In today’s first reading from Romans 8:12-17, Saint Paul encourages us to live by the spirit and not by the flesh. What does it actually mean to live by the spirit? And for that matter, what does it mean to live by the flesh? Let’s clear up the answers to those questions first, before we can determine how we should live.

To Live by the Spirit


As a baptized Christian, you are an adopted son or daughter of God. That makes you a rightful heir of God. As an heir of God, your inheritance is Heaven. Therefore, how you live your life on earth, will determine how you live for eternity. Will you squander your inheritance, or will you live your life in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s guidance? Saint Paul strongly urges us to live our lives in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. That’s what it means to live by the Spirit.

To Live According to the Flesh


Do you place more importance on the here and now, rather than eternity? Is it most important to you to...Read more...

23 Oct 2017

Keep Your Eye on the Prize: Eternal Life


In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us the parable of the rich fool who wishes to tear down his smaller barns to build bigger ones, to store his massive harvest; a harvest, expected to last for years to come (Luke 12:13-21). Jesus refers to this man as a fool, because the man is clueless to the fact that the man will lose his life that very night. What good is all of those earthly possessions, if one is dead the next day? If the man had focused more on eternal life, the man would have been better prepared to meet his Maker.

Jesus gives us this parable to alert us to the fact that earthly possessions cannot save us from death. Only Jesus’ salvific power and mercy can save us from our impending death; to give us eternal life, with Him, in Heaven. Therefore, our goal in life is not to accumulate as much wealth as possible, but to participate in the salvation of our own souls. How do we do that? Read more...

18 Oct 2017

Saint Luke, Gospel Writer and Doctor; Evangelist for God


Today, we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Luke, Gospel writer and doctor. Luke wrote both the Gospel According to Luke and Acts of the Apostles. Yet, Luke, himself, was not an Apostle. He learned of Jesus’ message via tradition, as did many people of the day, in circa 85 A.D. It is Saint Paul who refers to Saint Luke, in several places throughout Saint Paul’s epistles. Saint Paul refers to Saint Luke as his beloved friend and co-worker (Col 4:14, Phlm v24, and 2 Tim 4:11). Through the teachings from Saint Paul, as well as the writings of the Gospel of Saint Mark, Luke crafted his two masterpieces.

Saint Luke, A Man Filled with Compassion


Of the four Gospels, Luke provides us with the gentlest of approaches, with words filled with compassion and care. Writing in Greek for Gentile Christians, Luke crafted a message of mercy and forgiveness; calling on the faithful to be Christ-like. In Acts, Saint Luke gives us a ring-side seat to... Read more...

16 Oct 2017

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque Feast Day - Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus


Today is the Feast Day of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun and mystic, from the 17th century. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was always religious, from early childhood on. However, as she grew into her teen years, she strayed a bit. Yet, even with the straying, and maybe because of it, she is known to have received visions of Jesus. One night, when she was out with friends, Jesus appeared to her, scourged at the pillar. In this vision, Jesus was not happy with Margaret Mary’s behavior. Thus, she... Read more... 

11 Oct 2017

Saint Pope John XXIII “Open the Windows” - A Man of Peace


Today is the Feast Day of Saint Pope John XXIII, who opened the Second Vatican Council, in 1962, by proclaiming, “open the windows and let in the fresh air.” His rationale for convening the Second Vatican Council was to usher in reform; refreshing the liturgy, and engaging the laity. Because of Saint Pope John XXIII’s vision, numerous church documents were promulgated. Yet, he did not live to see the finished products. His purpose was to plant the seed for change within the Church, and that he did well.

Saint Pope John XXIII’s Teaching


Saint Pope John the XXIII’s most popular encyclical was Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth). In this encyclical Saint Pope John XXIII lays out man’s relationship with God and with each other; discussing human, economic and political rights and duties. He called for collaboration amongst men, respect for life, equality, and dignity– true foundations of peace. Saint Pope John XXIII elaborated on applying efforts that promote the common good, and government’s role in meeting the needs of the common good.

Pacem in Terris is, basically, a teaching on morality. If you... Read more...

9 Oct 2017

Can You Claim Good Samaritan Status? Find Out...


In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 10:25-37, we hear the story of the Good Samaritan. When you read this story, what role do you see yourself in? Might you be the victim, who everyone seems to ignore? Or perhaps, you are the priest, who walked on the opposite side of the street to avoid the incident? Maybe you are the Levite, who looked the other way, so as to not acknowledge the pain and suffering of the victim. Or perhaps, you just might be the Good Samaritan. And let’s not forget about the innkeeper who acted as caregiver to the victim. Perhaps that’s where you fit in this story.

How many of us could claim “Good Samaritan” status?


I think that it is safe to say, that given the different circumstances of one’s life, we can find ourselves taking on each one of these roles, at different times. We’ve all been a victim of some degree of injustice at least once in our lives. There have been times when we... Read more...

4 Oct 2017

Saint Francis of Assisi - A Man after God's Own Heart


Today we celebrate the feast day of one of my favorite saints – Saint Francis of Assisi. If anyone lived a Christ-like life it was Saint Francis. His goal in life was to live out the Gospel with these three passages in mind:

  1. Jesus said to him, ‘if you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me’” (Matt 19:21).
  2. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me’” (Matt 16:24).
  3. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, not food, nor money, nor let no one take a second tunic’” (Luke 9:3).

Saint Francis – A Man after God’s Own Heart


What do these three passages have in common? They each share a disregard for earthly comforts, wanting only God. Saint Francis of Assisi found joy in humility, strength in meekness, and freedom in his slavery to Christ. He gave... Read more...

27 Sep 2017

Saint Vincent de Paul Feast Day, Apostle of Charity


Born in 1581, Saint Vincent de Paul, of French descent, earned his Theology degree, in 1612. Ordained a priest in Clichy, France, he dedicated his entire adult life to addressing the needs of the poor. Saint Vincent de Paul took the Corporal Works of Mercy to heart. He gave food and drink to the poor, via the establishment of soup kitchens. He clothed the poor, via donations from those who could spare items. A true missionary to the poor, he sheltered the homeless, visited the sick and imprisoned, and buried the dead.

Saint Vincent de Paul, Apostle of Charity


Saint Vincent de Paul, became an inspiration to many, because of how he lived his life in self-service to those in need. He is fondly known as the Apostle of Charity. Today, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, made up of laity, follow in Saint Vincent’s footsteps by... Read more... 

25 Sep 2017

Greed, Avarice and Envy, and the Tenth Commandment


Greed, avarice and envy are all at the root of contradiction with the Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” (Ex 20:17). With greed, there aren’t enough earthly goods to satisfy us. We’ll always want more. Remember the old line, “keeping up with the Joneses?” With greed, we must always have more, or better, than the Joneses. Avarice, on the other hand, is an inordinate desire to accumulate wealth. One can never have enough money. And then there’s envy; the inordinate desire to want what someone else has, simply because they have it and you do not. All three – greed, avarice and envy – try to fill holes that only God can fill. All three have at their root in the sin of pride.

Battling with Greed, Avarice and Envy


If we don’t have the latest gadgets, if we don’t have enough money, what will people think of us? Will they think less of us? Our pride drives us to... Read more...

20 Sep 2017

Many Ways to Steal! An Elaboration on the Seventh Commandment


So, you think you know what it means to steal? Why, it is the taking of another’s property against the owner’s will, right? Yes, but stealing also includes:

vandalism, cheating on exams, reporting more payroll hours than actually worked, wasting time at work, price gouging, shoplifting,” 1
 
as well as, finding things of value and not returning them to the rightful owner. Let’s also include:

“failure to pay taxes and bills, overspending the money of another person, failing to put in an honest day’s work, and reneging on a business contract.” 2
 
Let’s finish off this massive list with the well known actions of robbery and excessive gambling. This laundry list of 13 different actions sum up how to violate the Seventh Commandment: “You shall not steal” (Ex 20:15).

You thought you were scot-free because you never held anyone at gunpoint and took their watch and money, or because you never robbed a bank, right? Well... Read more...

18 Sep 2017

Multiple Sins Against Chastity - A Look at the Ninth Commandment


Human love demands a total self-giving of one to another within the covenant of marriage. There is no room for self-gratification, or for expressions of sexual intercourse aside from the conjugal act within marriage. For when these things happen, they are not based on love. Rather, they are based upon deception and a misuse of one’s own sexuality. Actions such as these, linked to the Ninth Commandment, diminish the dignity of all parties involved. Innately, we all know this, because God has infused within each one of us His Natural Law of right versus wrong. Yet, we still commit the sins against Chastity.

Sins Against Chastity


We know that to practice Chastity, we are to refrain from engaging in sexual relations with someone other than one’s own spouse. When we do not refrain from doing so, we commit the sins of... Read more...

11 Sep 2017

Turn the Tide: An Elaboration on the Fifth Commandment


Oh, there are so many ways to violate the Fifth Commandment! Did you know that? Besides murder, we can violate this commandment as follows, via showing a disrespect for others in the form of

…anger, hatred, abusive language, resentment, omissions in service, racism, and failures to treat enemy oppressors with love. Revenge or vindictiveness also has no place in the heart of a Christian.” 1
 
After reading this list, are you like me? Are you having a “whoa” moment, thinking about all the times when you got unjustly angry because of greed or pride? Are you saying “ouch” when you realize that you think you’re better than others, only to learn that you are not (hatred and racism)? How about when you resented someone for getting something you wanted, and envy reared its ugly head?

More Ways to Violate the Fifth Commandment!


It gets even worse! We can violate the Fifth Commandment by showing a disrespect for ourselves, when we commit... Read more...

30 Aug 2017

Emoji Virtues!? Guest Post: Cathy Gilmore from Virtue Works Media

Emoji Virtues in our emotions? Is that even possible?


When we encounter characters in the books we read, the movies and TV we watch, as well as in the ever-unfolding story we call real life, we can witness virtues. Virtue comes alive in people’s beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, decisions and actions. But, how often do we consider the way that virtue can operate in human feelings and emotions?

A lifetime of research by a Catholic spiritual psychology pioneer, Richard Johnson, PhD. revealed that we  have special spiritual strengths, otherwise known as virtues; which specifically operate in the part of our personality whose function is emotion. He identifies Joyfulness, Trust, Devotion, Empathy and Gratitude as personality traits that we can cultivate as holy habits of virtue in a unique way in our emotions. Often, we think of emotions as something reactive; triggered by some new situation, or a recalled memory. However, through the miracle of virtue, aided by God’s grace, we can be INTENTIONAL about our every thought and action. Surprisingly, this intentionality applies equally to our emotions also. So, in short, yes, there are Emoji Virtues. We can make them a priority in the internal routine of our lives!

Do You Let Pride and Fear Rule Your Life?


It is interesting to note that our media and entertainment often portrays lives that ricochet between emotional extremes. We are led to believe that... Read more... 

28 Aug 2017

Saint Augustine: Servant, Lover of Mankind, and Truth Seeker


Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Augustine, born in 354 in Tagaste, northern Africa. Augustine was the son of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. However, one might say that in Augustine’s youth, he wasn’t one to follow in his mother’s saintly footsteps. In his early adulthood, Augustine had a concubine, who bore him a son; yet they never married. He dabbled is a few heresies such as Manicheanism (rooted in Gnosticism) and Neoplatonism (heavily influenced by the works of Plato).

The Conversion of Saint Augustine


It was only after moving to Italy, where he took a position in rhetoric, and after meeting Saint Ambrose, that Augustine began to explore the Christian faith. Although Augustine was gifted in rhetoric, he was no match for Saint Ambrose, who evangelized to Augustine on the truths of the faith. In 387, at the age of 33, after experiencing a profound personal crisis, Augustine converted to Christianity, with Saint Ambrose baptizing him. Augustine’s baptism became a... Read more... 

23 Aug 2017

Giving God His Due: Keeping the Sabbath Holy


Do you have any idea WHY you must keep holy the Sabbath (Ex 20:8)? Do you view the “requirement” to go to Church on Sunday as just another chore that must be done over the weekend? Well, let me clear up a few things for you. Giving God His due, by attending services on Sunday is not something that God needs. You’re the one who needs it! God doesn’t need anything. So, the Commandment to “keep holy the Sabbath” is in place for your benefit. God created this Commandment for two reasons:

  1. God deserves at least one day per week where we honor, praise and thank Him for all that He blesses us with throughout the week. This is called giving God His due.
  2. He thinks we deserve a day of rest once per week.

Giving God His Due Should Be a Joy


So, rather than viewing the Sabbath as a “to do” that must be marked off on your list, think of it as... Read more... 

21 Aug 2017

Cursing Isn’t Cool! Look at What Happened to Scaramucci!



Hmm…Do you let the curse words fly, every now and then? Or perhaps it’s more like every other word that comes out of your mouth? Well, let me be old fashioned and tell you that cursing isn’t cool! In fact, cursing makes you sound crude, rude and undignified. Look at what happened to President Trump’s latest Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci. Newly hired, he conducted a taped interview with the NY Times. When the tape was played, there were so many “bleeps,” because of foul language, that the audio was barely intelligible. Let’s just say that many people were offended after hearing the unfiltered recording, and the man was fired ten days into the job. Cursing isn’t cool!

Cursing Violates the Second Commandment


Did you know that? God gave us the Second Commandment to show us how to live a dignified life. Since we are made in His image and likeness, we are meant to... Read more...

Wonder Woman: Very Good (Though Perhaps Not Amazing)

After months of hearing nothing but praise for the new female-driven superhero movie Wonder Woman , it's now out on DVD so I finall...