Practicing Gentleness – A Treasured Virtue

Practicing gentleness requires strength. Sounds contradictory doesn’t it, since most people equate gentleness with weakness?

Practicing gentleness first requires an assessment of one’s own behavior. Truthfulness and self-awareness should be at the heart of this assessment. If you determine that you are routinely aggressive, or overly assertive, than gentleness is needed. Expressions of aggressive behavior are emotionally based, not reason based, where decisions and reactions stem from emotion, not facts.

How many times have you watched the Dr. Phil show and heard him say to someone acting in an aggressive or overly assertive manner, “How’s that been working for you?” He knows that aggressive/overly-assertive behavior does not produce wanted results.

Practicing gentleness requires…Read more…

The Virtue of Diligence

What pivotal role does the overlooked virtue of diligence play in helping us get to Heaven? How is it aligned with the virtue of Faith? Diligence requires perseverance and organization to see a task through to the end. Have you ever tried to do too much, and as a result, nothing gets done well because you spread yourself too thin? Saint Francis de Sales gives us some great guidance in this matter. Read more…

Honoring St. Francis de Sales, the Patron Saint of Writers

Today is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622).  Francis de Sales was canonized in 1665.  St. Francis de Sales was known both for his medium as well as his message.  St. Francis de Sales was named a doctor of the Church by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1877 for works like “An Introduction to a Devout Life”.   

In 1924, Pope Pius XII  proclaimed St. Francis de Sales the patron saint of writers and journalists (and now bloggers) since he extensively used media (flyers and books in his spiritual direction and his apologetics to convert Calvinists in the region.   During his missionary work in Switzerland, Francis de Sales was able to help up to 70,000 people return to the faith.  Aside from his prolific wring, St. Francis de Sales was known for his concern for writing with truth and charity.  Hence, he is also considered a patron for Christian Unity. 

 Through your prayers, St. Francis de Sales, I ask for your intercession as I attempt to bring the written word to the world. Let us pray that God takes me in the palm of His hand and inspires my creativity and inspires my success. St. Francis de Sales, you understand the dedication required in this profession. Pray for God to inspire and allow ideas to flow. In His name, let my words reflect my faith for others to read. Amen.

Submit your best spirituality post for a 2013 Frankie Award!

Have you written a blog post on Catholic spirituality that your readers loved? Has another blogger’s post inspired you to grow closer to Christ? Now is the time to nominate yourself or them for a 2013 Frankie Award.

Named in honor of the great spiritual director and patron saint of journalists St. Francis de Sales, the Frankie Award recognizes the best in Catholic spiritual writing. The award winner will receive a special badge to proudly display on his or her blog, along with a $10 gift certificate to Mystic Monk Coffee. Plus, the winning post will be posted in full here at CSBN. I will promote it on social media and encourage CSBN members and our readers to do so as well.

Read the rules at Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network.

Are you praying too much?

File:Millais Victory O Lord.jpg
Victory, O Lord by Millais (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Sunday’s Mass readings were all about prayer–winning battles through prayer, supporting each other in prayer, and never giving up. I love encouraging people to grow in their prayer life!  But today I want to ask a question that might seem odd to you: Can you pray too much? There are three ways in which I believe you can.

Don’t let prayer keep you from living out your vocation Again, this might confuse you. Haven’t I said before that prayer helps us live our vocation better? That’s true. But you still need balance. If you are a stay-at-home mom with small children, you should not be spending hours a day alone in your room praying. If you are the father of a young family, you should not be spending most of every evening at Church. If you are a college student, you should not normally miss class to go to adoration. St. Francis de Sales, instructing lay people in Introduction to the Devout Life, wrote, “Do not spend more than an hour thus [in mental prayer], unless specially advised to do so by your spiritual father.”

God gave you your vocation. He works His will through it. There may be a time later, after the kids have grown older, or you are retired from your job, when you can spend hours a day in prayer. But unless you are  called to religious life, that is not God’s plan for you for most of your life. Live the vocation you have, not the one you don’t.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Are you making a daily morning offering?

Praying Girl by Heyerdahl (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).

St. Francis de Sales is the master of the spiritual life for lay people. His book, Introduction to the Devout Life teaches us how we can grow closer to God while living out our lives as spouses or single people in the world.

One of the practices St. Francis urges his readers to make a habit of is the morning offering. In fact he says, “Never omit this practice.” A morning offering sets the tone for your day. It helps you acknowledge that the day is God’s, not your own. It can give you the strength you need to face trials, peace amid busy schedules, and added grace for unforeseen temptations.

I confess I was never taught to make my own morning offering as a child. We sometimes had family prayer in the morning. At Catholic elementary school we started the day with prayer. But no one told me I should make a private morning offering until I was much older. I found it hard to take up the practice, and even harder to maintain it over the long-term.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.