Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wisdom from… [2 Apr]

FRANCIS DE PAOLA (1416–1507): Be converted with a sincere heart

Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.

Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin, and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight. It is like a worm in the mind: it confuses our speech and tears to shreds our petitions to God. It is foreign to charity: it remains planted in the soul like a nail. It is wickedness that never sleeps, sin that never fails. It is indeed a daily death.

Francis followed the ideal of Saint Francis and typified that constant renewal in the Church in the spirit of the desert fathers.

ST AUGUSTINE: The Importance of Intention

How great a good was conferred on humankind by the handing over of Christ! God had in his thoughts our salvation by which we are redeemed; Judas had in his thoughts the price for which he sold the Lord. The Son Himself had in his thoughts the price he gave for us, while Judas had in his the price he received to sell him. The diverse intention, therefore, makes the things done diverse.
-- Sermon on 1 John 7, 8

Prayer. Because of our sins we are in darkness; but you, my God, will illuminate my darkness.
-- Commentary on Psalm 17, 29


Venial sin, no matter how slight it may be, displeases God. Therefore, if it displeases God, any will and affection that one has for venial sin is nothing less than a disposition to offend the Divine Majesty. Is it possible that an upright soul should not only displease God but even nourish within itself an affection and a will to displease Him?
(INT. Part I, Ch. 22; O. III, p. 63)


MODESTY has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction -- where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth: this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert -- himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt -- the Divine Reason. Huxley preached a humility content to learn from Nature. But the new sceptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. Thus we should be wrong if we had said hastily that there is no humility typical of our time. The truth is that there is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it is practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping: not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.

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