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October 24, 2008

October 25th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 2 Period I.

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October 24, 2008

by Rita Ring

   

 

 

 

 

 

Mother at Our Side

 

From Mother at Our Side by Father Edward Carter, S.J.

ten

Mother Of Our Christian Virtues (excerpt)

 

Prudence

   Prudence is that virtue which helps us to make the proper decisions in the exercise of our Christian life. Prudence aids us in making correct choices so that we do God's will in all areas of Christian existence.

   Prudence is meant to influence every aspect of our participation in the mystery of Christ. It is always our guide as we strive to grow in the putting on of Christ.

   What state of life does God wish me to embrace? What kind of work does he desire of me within that vocation? Among the various ways of expressing love, how am I to love God and others at this particular time? Am I working too much or too little? Am I too dependent upon others or not dependent enough? Prudence helps answer these and other questions concerning the Christ-life.

   Some people think that prudence is merely an attitude of caution, an instinct that always leads us to take what seems to be the less dangerous path. True, prudence will lead us to choices of this nature—if God's will indicates this type of action—but prudence is also concerned with the bold and the daring, with taking risks, with magnanimous action. Again, the guiding principle is God's will. The prudent Christian will act boldly or daringly if, after taking the proper means to discern the divine will, she or he decides that God is indeed leading in such a direction.

   If we are to be truly prudent persons, we must be persons of prayer. We need the light of prayer to see what decisions are to be made, what actions are to be undertaken. We need the strength of prayer to act upon the given light.

   In her earthly journey, Mary was a most prayerful person and a most prudent one. Let us ask our mother to help us grow in the virtue of prudence. The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary so bids us to call upon the prudent Virgin: "Virgin most prudent, pray for us."

Fortitude

   Christian fortitude, or courage, is that virtue which disposes us to face in mature fashion whatever difficulties we encounter in Christ's service. The necessity of this virtue is evident from our inner experience—we have a tendency to shrink from that which either poses difficulty or frightens us. Apparently, numerous Christians never develop as they should because they do not consistently confront that which is hard and difficult in a proper fashion.

   We should not think that courage is a virtue which we need only in times of extraordinary difficulty. As with all the Christian virtues, courage usually finds its expression within the prosaic framework of everydayness. The rather uneventful duties of our state of life day in and day out demands fortitude. All vocations face this challenge, and to evade the challenge is to hinder our growth in Christ.

   At times, of course, courage must be exercised concerning matters of great importance, such as the decision involving one's choice of state of life. This type of decision can demand the greatest fortitude in certain instances. Any committed Christian who seriously pursues the development of the spiritual life will, to some extent, experience interior trials of one kind or the other. Whatever form the difficulty may assume, however, the dedicated Christian realizes the need for fortitude.

   Mary did not live an easy life. In her greatness of grace, she exercised fortitude on a daily basis. At times she had to draw upon her virtue of courage in a special way. And at that terrible moment beneath the cross, her courage was tested to the utmost. What great sorrow then pierced her Heart! And what extraordinary courage and love it took for Mary to stand by her Son in His most awful moment. Even the greatest pietas of Michaelangelo and others fall short of capturing the awful reality of the scene and the courage it demanded of Mary.

   Mary, then, has with courage faced the difficult in extraordinary fashion. In all our difficulties let us fly to the protection of this dear, loving mother. She will help us grow in the realization that facing the difficult is an essential part of being a Christian. She will help us live these words of Jesus: "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Lk. 9:23).

Justice

   The virtue of justice bids us to give others what is their due. We must respect the rights of others. For example, we must respect the life, good name, and the property of others because they have rights concerning these values. Regarding one's right to life, we have a very timely application of this—the rights of the unborn, and we should all do our part in working against the terrible injustice of abortion. The fatalities which the United States has suffered in all her wars is less than one half of the total number of deaths the unborn suffer in one year here in the United States through abortion. And, of course, abortions are being performed all over the world—not just in the United States.

   The world of work, professional service, and commerce also involve various applications of justice. The laborer must give an honest day's work and the employer is obligated to pay a just wage. The teacher must realize his or her duty to students by properly preparing classes and professional updating. The doctor must maintain proper medical knowledge in justice to his or her patients and manufacturers of goods as well as wholesale and retail sellers must establish just prices.

   The Christian must also be aware of obligations regarding the great social problems that plague one's own country and nations around the world. We must listen to our Mother Mary.

Temperance

   The attitude of moderation, which has traditionally been called the virtue of Christian temperance, allows us to relate properly to sense pleasure. God wants us to enjoy what is pleasurable, but He wants us to do so according to His will.

   Without an attitude of temperance, a person's life becomes soft and selfish, given over to the wrongful pursuit of pleasure. Insofar as a person's life is thus misdirected, to that extent it fails in service to God and others.

   There is an aspect of temperance that one can overlook—that the person who practices temperance enjoys the pleasurable more than does the person who does not. One who lacks temperance is actually a slave to his or her desires. These desires, to the extent they are inordinate, can never be satisfied, and, consequently, become insatiable. Grace does not destroy nature; it brings it to a perfection or fulfillment it could not otherwise attain. Our God-given capacity to enjoy what is pleasurable actually is enhanced by the virtue of temperance.

   We should pray, not only for our own growth in temperance, but also especially for those whose very salvation is threatened because of the wrongful pursuit of sense pleasure. Our Lady of Fatima told Jacinta, one of the three young visionaries: More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.26

26. Our Lady's Peace Plan, op. cit.., p. 9.

                            end of excerpt

                       

 

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