Acceptance is a two-fold virtue: accepting yourself and accepting others. How difficult is it for you to acknowledge and accept your own limitations and weaknesses? How difficult is it for you to accept the same in others? Do you hold others to a higher standard than yourself, because you expect more from others than you do of yourself?
Finding acceptance in our lives requires that we first unlock the door to the interior self. It is there that we commune with God. We discover and come to accept who we are, as God has created us to be: in His image and likeness. In looking at the interior self, we assess our strengths and weaknesses; our possibilities and limitations. We acknowledge our sins. Within the depths of the interior self, we come to accept… Read more…
Poverty Can Be Eliminated
Poverty can be eliminated if we, to whom much has been given, were to share with those less fortunate. Everything that we have comes from the providence of God. Nothing that we think we own, do we actually own, for it could all be taken away in the blink of an eye. Everything belongs to God, and we are merely the stewards of his benefaction. Saint Francis de Sales says:
…our possessions are not our own; God has given them to us that we may cultivate them, and it is His will that we should render them useful and fruitful. 1
Therefore, what we do with our surplus matters in the eyes of God. Do we use it for the benefit of others, or do we consume it for ourselves? Read more…
Why be a giver?
You might be thinking, “Why should I part with my hard earned money and give it to someone else? No one’s done any favors for me?” The short answer is that you do it because Jesus commanded you to when He said “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). How can you love your neighbor as yourself, if you allow your neighbor to do without while you live comfortably? You, in essence, love yourself more than your neighbor.
We are all in this together. We are all on the same journey, heading hopefully to the same place – eternal life with Christ. Are you ready to stand before Christ for your particular judgment and answer these questions?
Give freely from your wealth to alleviate the suffering of the poor; that is the easiest way to define the virtually unknown virtue of Munificence. A person truly practices Munificence when he/she uses his/her wealth to alleviate the suffering of the poor, while acknowledging the merit of poverty for oneself in regards to eternal life. Remember, you can’t take it with you!
As with the virtue of Magnanimity, with Munificence, intention matters. The primary purpose must be to alleviate the suffering of the poor; to address poverty. If the primary purpose for donating from one’s wealth was for a tax deduction, then the person would not be munificent, albeit generous.
As a society, we should be… Read more…
The doctrine of Hell is one that is easily distorted into portraying Christians as gleefully awaiting non-Christians to be sent there, while thinking that we have a free pass where what we do doesn’t matter. While it is true that some Christians have so missed the point about what they are called to be that they do think this way, it is an aberration which perverts what Christianity really believes.
Far from being a cruel belief invented by a vindictive people in a way that contradicts the concept of a loving God, the concept of Hell recognizes that:
- God created us with an immortal soul
- God created us with free will to choose Him or to reject Him
- If we misuse free will in a way which rejects God, our immortal soul has to exist somewhere that is the logical result of that rejection
So, Hell is not an issue of “don’t steal that cookie or you’re going to burn forever!” It’s a reality of, “If you choose to reject God, that decision has eternal consequences if you do not change your ways.”
Going from good to great sounds daunting, doesn’t it? It need not be so. To be magnanimous or noble-minded, to be great, simply means that we need to recognize the talents that God has given us and use them to the best of our abilities for the benefit of others. That added extra phrase, ‘for the benefit of others,’ marks the clear distinction of intention between self-sacrificing love for one’s neighbor and self-serving love. Where do you start?
Take an honest assessment of your talents. Perhaps you are a good listener. If so, be magnanimous with your time and give a listening ear to those in need. Perhaps you are a good communicator/teacher. If so, share your knowledge with others. God gave each of us talents, differing talents, which is a good thing. Read more…
Generous to a fault – Have you ever heard that phrase? It describes a person who gives until he has nothing else to give; he gives from the heart for the benefit of others. He gives in a self-sacrificing manner, making the gesture magnanimous. The saints are great examples of people who do things for the right reason, with the right intention – that of self-sacrificing love. Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most magnanimous saints, according to Father Romano Guardini:
The perfection of expression can be seen in the saints. God appears in them. But since man is the image of God, and God is the model of man, this manifestation also reveals the essential nature of man, of every man. He becomes truly himself. How did St. Francis of Assisi become truly himself? By not… Read more…
Mother Teresa is the model for the virtue of magnanimity. Yet, my guess is that most of us know little about this noble virtue. So let’s start with a definition:
Magnanimity: The virtue which prompts one to do morally good acts of exceptional quality. Magnanimous persons are disposed to perform actions of extraordinary generosity, kindness, fortitude and charity; not in order to gain fame, glory or recognition, but simply to do what is right, good, just or needed. Magnanimous actions are… Read more…
Life gives us opportunities, blessings, trials and tribulations. Life is a journey; both physical and spiritual. It’s what we do with this life that matters most. How does one persevere in life when there are so many challenges, obstacles and hurdles to overcome? And why must they even exist? Why can’t life be just peachy?
There is a simple answer to these questions: Without the challenges, obstacles and hurdles, you wouldn’t grow spiritually. Also, without difficulties in this life, you would take the opportunities and blessings for granted. You would take God for granted!
Perseverance is such a necessary virtue. Anything worthwhile usually does not come instantly. It comes after we have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the situation. If we give up too soon, we… Read more…
If you read the works of the saints, or their biographies, you can see that they were aware of a truth that America has forgotten—sin is real and it alienates us from God. Instead, America (or, rather the whole of Western civilization) has a bad habit of presuming that God “doesn’t care” about the action we do that falls under the category of sin. As a result, we have an understanding about sin that is both self-contradictory and has nothing to do with the reality:
- When others do something we dislike, we have no qualms about acknowledging it as a sin.
- When we do something that is a sin, we refuse to acknowledge it as a sin and call it an arbitrary decision made by human beings that doesn’t matter to God.
In other words, while people are perfectly willing to denounce others, the fact is that, instead of thinking rationally about the good or evil of our actions we contemplate doing, we rationalize the things we already do to avoid thinking about whether they are good or evil or rationalize a reason not to do what we ought to do.
This mindset actually convicts the person before God—because we call the actions of others “sin” or “wrongdoing,” we acknowledge that there is a good which must be lived and an evil which must be avoided. But because we refuse to apply this knowledge to ourselves, we show ourselves to be hypocrites and evildoers.