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

24 May 2017

Novena to the Holy Spirit - Seeking Virtue


The annual Novena to the Holy Spirit begins this coming Friday, May 26th and continues through to the day before Pentecost, June 3rd. In this Novena, we ask the Holy Spirit to grace us with seven gifts. Each one of theses gifts happen to be virtues as well:

  1. Awe (also known as Reverence) – We ask for a sovereign respect for God, as well as a filial submission to the Father.
  2. Piety – We ask for love and respect for those consecrated to God; including priests and religious, the Blessed Mother, the Saints, the Church, our parents, and our country and its rulers.
  3. Fortitude – We ask for the strengthening of our souls against natural fear. We also ask for support in performance of our duties; to endure without complaint.
  4. Read more...

22 May 2017

Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis - Book Review


I was long overdue, but recently, I finally sat down and read the classic, Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. Once I opened the book, and read the first chapter, I questioned what took me so long to get to this masterpiece, centered on man’s reaction to moral concepts and what it truly means to be Christian. C.S. Lewis begins with a discussion on Natural Law:

Whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently (p. 8)?
 
Hmm…that’s something to chew on! Lewis’ logic and common sense abound in Mere Christianity. Written during the Second World War, this book was aimed at helping people make sense out of tragedy. Lewis attempts to assist his fellowman in mentally processing the atrocity of evil acts, so prevalent at the time. He asserts that we, as Christians, are called to love our neighbors, of whom some of them might actually be our enemies. Yet, in war-torn England, in the 1940’s, how could it be possible to “love our enemies”?

Read more...

17 May 2017

Pruning Bears Much Fruit!


In today’s Gospel reading from John 15:1-8, we hear one of my favorite Gospel readings. We learn how Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. God the Father is the vinedresser, who cares for the vine and its branches. What beautiful imagery of a life-giving force! Yet, even vine branches require pruning and trimming to promote further growth. When we hear about the pruning of the vine in this Gospel passage, take note that we are the ones of whom Jesus references! As God prunes His vine branches, He removes those aspects of our lives that hinder further growth.

Pruning for Future Growth


For me, God prunes my prideful ways, so that... Read more... 

10 May 2017

Seeking Justice: My Time on Jury Duty


In the United States, a person is presumed innocent, until the State can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the person, charged with a crime, is guilty. I got to see the wheels of justice turn, first-hand, during the last week in April, while serving on  jury duty. A husband/father was accused of assaulting his wife and daughter; hence two counts of assault.

The trial was fascinating, especially the jury selection part of the trial. I thought, for sure, I would be dismissed for two reasons:

  1. I have many years of training, as an auditor, where my job was to ascertain whether someone was telling the truth. Whichever side was planning to present sketchy information, I would surely figure it out.
  2. I have a Masters in Theology, and I teach morality. If I’ve learned anything over the past six years of study, it is that you do not draw a black or white, yes or no conclusion of a moral act, without considering intent and circumstances.

For these reasons, I felt certain that either the Prosecution or the Defense would dismiss me. But no, I became Juror #9. Read more...

1 May 2017

Saint Joseph, the Worker Feast Day


Saint Joseph is so special to the Catholic faithful, that we have two feast days set aside each year to honor him: March 19th (unless this date falls on a Sunday like it did this year, then it’s March 20th), and May 1st. Typically, on March 19th, we honor Saint Joseph as husband of Mary, and foster father to Jesus. We thank him for being such a good role model as a faithful husband and father.

Today, we honor Saint Joseph, the Worker, a carpenter, by trade. He worked diligently to provide for his family. Humble in nature, compassionate in heart, Saint Joseph remained ever faithful to God, and Mary. Beyond his humility and compassionate nature, there is so much to admire about Saint Joseph, as he truly was a virtuous man in every respect. To this day, he continues to serve as an exemplar of virtue for men to follow.

Read more...

27 Apr 2017

Back to Virtue, by Peter Kreeft - Book Review


In Back to Virtue, Peter Kreeft takes you into the classroom of moral theology, where you will learn why we need virtue to preserve human existence. For starters, Kreeft clearly defines the differentiation between virtue and vice. He discusses the cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude, as well as the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Then, using the Beatitudes, he teaches us about each virtue that counters each of the seven deadly sins of anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth and the root of all evil, pride.

His words of wisdom percolate throughout this book. Here’s just one example:

If we can conquer everything except ourselves, the result is that we do not hold the power. 1
 
Once we learn that God is in control, and that He holds the power, then we begin to learn that... Read more...

24 Apr 2017

3 Steps to Mercy for You - Guest Blogger, Kaitlyn Mason


There’s a lot of mercy talk these days in the Church. Why?  Because it’s the time of mercy!

Yesterday was Divine Mercy Sunday. If you’re not familiar with this message and devotion, take a moment to learn a little more here.

We should strive to show mercy to everyone we meet. Mercy is a great virtue, no doubt.  But today I want to ask you, how often do you show mercy to yourself?

Are you your own worst critic? Are you hyperaware of your faults and not sure how to actually improve?  Do you ever beat yourself up at the end of the day for not doing a better job at keeping it all together?

I’ve been working on kicking these bad attitudes for a while now, with great success. How?  Divine Mercy! Read more...

19 Apr 2017

Flee Your Road to Emmaus; Turn Your Sights on Jesus

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke 24:13-35 speaks to us of Jesus’ walk with two men on the Road to Emmaus. We begin with two men departing Jerusalem, saddened in the realization that Jesus was not who they thought him to be. They were disappointed, for they thought He was their savior; yet He died. So much for being a savior! How often can we say that we are like the two men on the Road to Emmaus? Do we give up on Jesus when He does not do what we wish, or what we think is right?  These men wanted Jesus to rise to the level of King, but He died, and with that their belief in Him.

Road to Emmaus: Signs of Faith


As the men were walking, Jesus approached them. However, Jesus disguised Himself, disabling them to “see” Jesus as the Risen Lord. While walking with the men, Jesus asked them what they were discussing. The two men informed Jesus about the events of recent days: Jesus’ arrest, humiliation, crucifixion and death. They had hoped that “he would be the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24: 21). Even with the declaration from the women who visited the tomb, that the tomb was empty and that the Lord had risen, these two men were walking away from Jerusalem, downcast; their faith shattered. How often do we see signs of faith, but choose to ignore them? Read more...

17 Apr 2017

Hope in the Resurrection: Believe in Christ's Promises


The Lord is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! Happy Easter Monday everyone! Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, on Easter Sunday morning, is such a glorious reason to celebrate, that the Church gives us seven weeks to soak in this wonderful event! Easter runs from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. The meaning of Jesus’ resurrection is so profound that we need this much time to discern its impact for all mankind. Jesus conquered death, and in the process, showed us all the way to new life – eternal life! In Jesus, we all have the hope of one day being resurrected with glorious bodies.

Hope for the Eternal


As Christians, we place all our hope in the promises of Christ, because Jesus spoke Truth, and only the truth. So, if He says something... Read more...  

12 Apr 2017

Holy Wednesday: The Day Before the World Would Change Forever


Many people approach Holy Week in great anticipation of liturgical rites scheduled for Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Many even enjoy taking part in the blessing of their Easter food on Holy Saturday. For me, I find Holy Wednesday to be quite intriguing every year; for Holy Wednesday is representative of the day before the world would change forever! By that I mean that on Holy Thursday, the Lord would institute the sacrament of the Eucharist, where He would, for the first time, change bread and wine into His own Precious Body and Blood.

Jesus knew exactly what would happen over the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday-Friday-Saturday). Therefore, everything was in place,  with a plan ready to execute. I often wonder what was going through Jesus’ mind on Holy Wednesday. I’m sure that He made the most of the day, surrounded by His mother, friends and followers – loving others and being loved in return.

Approaching Holy Wednesday


Holy Wednesday is the “calm before the storm.” I always take solace in the calm of this day. I make... Read more...

10 Apr 2017

Christ's Humility: A Teaching Moment, Then and Now


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... 

5 Apr 2017

You Will Know the Truth, and the Truth Will Set You Free


This very famous bible passage, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free “(John 8: 32), is the subject of today’s Gospel reading. What is Jesus trying to say to us? Didn’t He give us free will, which automatically makes us free? Why then, would we need to know the truth to be free?

We need to read a few more verses to get the full gist of Jesus’ message. In John 8:34, Jesus states, “everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” When we sin, we give up our freedom and become enslaved to the sin. We diminish our relationship with God. We reject God’s grace.

This begs us to ask then, what is freedom and free will? Apparently, it does NOT... Read more...

3 Apr 2017

Rightfully Ours, by Carolyn Astfalk - Book Review


Rightfully Ours, by Carolyn Astfalk, rightfully belongs on your “Want to Read” list! In Astfalk’s third Christian fiction novel, she introduces us to two teenagers: Rachel Mueller and Paul Porter. At the beginning of the book, when Rachel and Paul meet, they are only 14 and 16, respectively. Throughout the story, we see a deep friendship blossom between the two characters. As they get to know each other, we see that friendship grow into love, young love.

Rightfully Ours deals with the virtue of chastity head on; yet in a manner that would make any teen want to be like Rachel and Paul. These two characters serve as excellent role models for teenagers coming to grips with burgeoning love and sexual desire, contrasted against all that they have been taught concerning morals and virtue.

I found Rightfully Ours... Read more...

29 Mar 2017

Finding Virtue in the Mundane: Even Doing Dishes!


So, how is doing the dishes well, or any other mundane task for that matter, virtuous? Well, let’s answer that question by first defining virtue:

“A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself.” 1
 
If you strive to always give your best to every task performed, even something so mundane as doing the dishes, then your action can be virtuous.

I remember, as a child, having the chore of doing the dinner dishes with my two sisters. The oldest sister always needed to go to the bathroom immediately after dinner. How convenient for her! She always got out of doing the dishes, unbeknownst to my mother. That left my middle sister and me, the youngest, to clear the table, wash and dry the dishes. (Yes, I am old! This was in the day before every household had an automatic dishwasher. But I digress.) My middle sister and I always fought over who would do what, and... Read more... 

27 Mar 2017

The Virtue Driven Life, by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. - Book Review


The Virtue Driven Life, by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., offers insightful information about the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance, along with scriptural passages, simple prayers, and citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This gem of a book offers the basic information on these virtues in part I. He saves the best for last, though, when in part II, we learn some in-depth information on the Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Part II also provides scriptural passages, prayers and citations from the Catechism, in relation to the Theological virtues.

I was most impressed with Fr. Groeschel’s insight into the... Read more...

22 Mar 2017

Seeking Mercy This Lenten Season: A "See" Change


I’ve been slowly reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska; a little each week during my time in Adoration. I read a few pages and then stop to meditate on what she and Christ are communicating to me. You see, it is a story of Saint Faustina’s visions of the Lord, who instructed her on His mercy. It’s packed with a lot of great information; digestible in small bits. At this point, maybe I’ll finish the book by the end of this year! I started this book prior to the end of the Year of Mercy, because I wanted to learn more about Christ’s mercy. My Lenten mission is one of seeking mercy from Christ. Oh, am I learning a lot about His mercy!

Seeking Mercy: A “See” Change


This Lenten season has been fruitful in that I see a change occurring within me because of reading this book. I find myself seeking mercy a lot more than I had ever done in the past, and not just for myself. I find myself saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for our country, my family and friends. And, to be honest, I must admit, that... Read more... 

20 Mar 2017

Saint Joseph: The Silent Saint of Salvific Service


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 manhood. Read more...

15 Mar 2017

Seeking Forgiveness Can Be Painful, But Worth It!


Seeking forgiveness can be painful for a few reasons:

  1. Facing the reality of the hurt you caused another requires you to look the person in the eye when seeking forgiveness. When you do so, you see the pain caused by your actions/words.
  2. Seeking forgiveness requires humility. Many times our pride stands in the way of embracing humility. It is painful to humble ourselves and admit wrong-doing.
  3. When seeking forgiveness, we are beholden to another to graciously grant our request. We face the possibility of rejection, and that can be painful.

Seeking Forgiveness from Others


Over the course of my lifetime, I have found it much easier to forgive another, than to... Read more...

13 Mar 2017

What's the Prudent Thing to Do? You Decide - Take the Test!


In this scenario, determine the prudent thing to do:

Johnny, a high school student, was in the process of applying to colleges. He had his heart set on attending State University, as it had an excellent mathematics program. One problem though, the school requires an essay on how Johnny would make a positive impact on the university community, should he be accepted. Johnny wanted to major in math because he hated writing essays. Math is numbers, and Johnny was good at numbers; but not so good, when it came to writing essays.

A Prudent Course of Action?


Johnny’s friend, Matt, stopped by one afternoon after school, and Johnny let Matt know about the essay requirement. Johnny also knew that Matt was a good writer, as he was editor for the school’s newspaper. Johnny thought, maybe Matt could help me with the essay. Better yet, maybe... Read more...

8 Mar 2017

My Birthday Wish: All I want This Year is More Wisdom!


Today, I turn 60 and enter the winter of my life. I am starting it off with a bang! Tomorrow, I am having three teeth extracted, getting a partial temporary denture, and ultimately a four-tooth permanent (implant) bridge. I’m getting old! But with age, comes wisdom; the earthly kind.
Earthly wisdom comes from life’s experiences. Those of us in the winter of our lives have a keen awareness for what is important: a strong faith, good health, and our family’s welfare. We find that if we have these three things, then we have all that we need. However, even with the 60 years under my belt, I still seek more Wisdom. When you get to my age, you find yourself asking those soul searching questions:
  • Am I on the right course?
  • Am I living my life doing everything I can to accomplish God’s will?
  • Do I need to make amends with anyone?
Read more...

What Catholics Should Know About Netflix's Daredevil

My husband and I started watching the Netflix Original series “Daredevil” a few months after it was released, kind of on a whim, knowin...