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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

For Men

http://fathersofstjoseph.org/

I featured this group on the blog over a year ago, and now I want to highlight it again.

Over sixty men in this area meet once a week very early in the morning.

The author of the books on the site and the founder of the group, who I know, is a holy man, indeed.

Why not start up a group like this in your area?





Here It Is--The Newly Released Death Video

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-new-undercover-video-confirms-a-lot-of-intact-babies-shipped-for-e

“StemExpress is the ‘weakest link’ that unravels Planned Parenthood’s baby parts chain," says David Daleiden, Project Lead for CMP. "They readily admit the profit-motive that Planned Parenthood and their proxies have in supplying aborted baby parts.”
“Congress and law enforcement should immediately seize all fetal tissue files from StemExpress and all communications and contracts with Planned Parenthood," he adds. "The evidence that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of aborted baby parts is now overwhelming, and not one more dime of taxpayer money should go to their corrupt and fraudulent criminal enterprise.”
Sickening...

Sad Sad Sad

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/24/middleeast/syria-isis-palmyra-ruins-temple/

In the Louvre, there are ruins from this area which are some of the earliest Christian friezes in the world. How horrible that our heritage is being systematically destroyed.

Quote of The Day-Not New, But Timely

What Stresemann said of the Germans is true of the frustrated in general: '[They] pray not only for 
[their] daily bread, but also for [their] daily illusion'. The rule seems to be that those who find 
no difficulty in deceiving themselves are easily deceived by others. They are easily persuaded and led. 
Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer was "big" when I was in college....but these words apply today.

Great Article

http://journal.ijreview.com/2015/08/246433-you-hate-it-from-barack-obama-but-you-love-it-from-donald-trump/

The "Forty Catholic" Virtues Part Three

This is the last small list for today, with some thoughts for meditation.

compunction

This type of remorse may be found in the writings of  St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory the Great, St. Anselm, and St. John Climacus and St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Tears for sorrow for sin are called, collectively, compunction.

Come now, insignificant man, fly for a moment from your affairs, of mankind, alas the universal lamentation of the children of Adam! escape for a little while from the tumult of your thoughts. Put aside He groaned with fullness; we sigh with hunger. He was prosperous; now your weighty cares and leave your wearisome toils. Abandon we go begging. He in his happiness had possessions and in his misery yourself for a little to God and rest for a little in Him. Enter into the abandoned them; we in our unhappiness go without and miserably inner chamber of your soul, shut out everything save God and what do we yearn and, alas, we remain empty. Why, since it was easy for can be of help in your quest for Him and having locked the door seek him, did he not keep for us that which we lack so much?--- St. Anselm, Prosologion

continence or celibacy


You ought anxiously to consider again and again what sort of a burden this is which you are taking upon you of your own accord. Up to this you are free. You may still, if you choose, turn to the aims and desires of the world (licet vobis pro artitrio ad caecularia vota transire). But if you receive this order (of the subdiaconate) it will no longer be lawful to turn back from your purpose. You will be required to continue in the service of God, and with His assistance to observe chastity and to be bound for ever in the ministrations of the Altar, to serve who is to reign.--- Old Rite of Ordination

perseverance

I Have now to consider the subject of perseverance with greater care; for in the former book also I said some things on this subject when I was discussing the beginning of faith. I assert, therefore, that the perseverance by which we persevere in Christ even to the end is the gift of God; and I call that the end by which is finished that life wherein alone there is peril of falling. Therefore it is uncertain whether any one has received this gift so long as he is still alive. For if he fall before he dies, he is, of course, said not to have persevered; and most truly is it said. How, then, should he be said to have received or to have had perseverance who has not persevered? For if any one have continence, and fall away from that virtue and become incontinent,--or, in like manner, if he have righteousness, if patience, if even faith, and fall away, he is rightly said to have had these virtues and to have them no longer; for he was continent, or he was righteous, or he was patient, or he was believing, as long as he was so; but when he ceased to be so, he no longer is what he was. But how should he who has not persevered have ever been persevering, since it is only by persevering that any one shows himself persevering,--and this he has not done? But lest any one should object to this, and say, If from the time at which any one became a believer he has lived--for the sake of argument--ten years, and in the midst of them has fallen from the faith, has he not persevered for five years? I am not contending about words. If it be thought that this also should be called perseverance, as it were for so long as it lasts, assuredly he is not to be said to have had in any degree that perseverance of which we are now discoursing, by which one perseveres in Christ even to the end. And the believer of one year, or of a period as much shorter as may be conceived of, if he has lived faithfully until he died, has rather had this perseverance than the believer of many years’ standing, if a little time before his death he has fallen away from the stedfastness of his faith.--- St. Augustine

studiosity-the study of the faith

Further, that which makes man like to God, and which he receives from God, cannot be an evil. Now all abundance of knowledge is from God, according to Sirach 1:1, "All wisdom is from the Lord God," and Wisdom 7:17, "He hath given me the true knowledge of things that are, to know the disposition of the whole world, and the virtues of the elements," etc. Again, by knowing the truth man is likened to God, since "all things are naked and open to His eyes" (Hebrews 4:13), and "the Lord is a God of all knowledge" (1 Samuel 2:3). Therefore however abundant knowledge of truth may be, it is not evil but good. Now the desire of good is not sinful. Therefore the vice of curiosity cannot be about the intellective knowledge of truth.--- St. Thomas Aquinas

wisdom

Where faith is a simple knowledge of the articles of Christian belief, wisdom goes on to a certain divine penetration of the truths themselves. --- John Hardon, S.J.

The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos-which both the child and the scientist discover-"from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them."

[Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. I became enamored of her beauty.--- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2500

Keep Praying

Recall that I asked for prayers for a young woman who had a brain tumor. A partial miracle has occurred.

She was near death this past week, family called in. The entire parish in ..... conducted a 24 hour adoration and prayer vigil. She came out of her coma and is talking and laughing now. No word on the tumor.

I think they were praying the rosary. Keep her in your prayers. I shall try to find out about the progress of the tumor.

From One of My Gurus


I knew all of this, but he said it better early this morning.

China is devaluing their currency which is purposeful attack on U.S. Currency. By doing so they increase the cost of our debt.: Pushing potential interest rate increase.

 Potential responses by the fed: 

1) Raise interest rates to stem off the inflation rate that could result. If that happens the interest in the national debt could skyrocket causing a potential default on debt. Default = war with China, Russia, India, etc.

 2) America will raise taxes significantly or confiscate wealth to buy back the debt. Result collapse economy.

 3) Severe austerity measures in benefits to soc sec, subsidies, etc. result see like Greece on a larger scale.

 4) Some combination of all three. This will have the same end result of all three.

5) China and Russia could combine forces to bring us down economically by leveraging debt and consolidating forces against us as it becomes clear that we can not pay. Result = invasion.

6) China's economy is in a downward spiral. It will drag the world with them. History repeats itself. When that happens they will look for war and somebody to blame. That will be the U.S. The rest of the western world will turn its back in the U.S



See my short stories of 2013 and 2014....I predicted war and invasion in some of  those stories.

Also, I can say now that we are in the fight, that I had three days of visions of this coming tragedy and worse in the summer of 2008. Some of the images I put into the stories. I told some people. Most ignored me, which is expected, as a prophet is never heard in his or her own town.

If America defunds PP, God may relent. But, remember, this president does not want to step down and can easily make a situation or cooperate with those who are making a situation for martial law.

The Forty Catholic Virtues Part Two-The Second Twenty



The list of the second twenty Catholic virtues, (several others to be noted in Part Three); and these lists, with the previous and next one, are not exhaustive. The quotations are for your meditation:

affability or friendliness

As stated above (109, 2; I-II, 55, 3), since virtue is directed to good, wherever there is a special kind of good, there must needs be a special kind of virtue. Now good consists in order, as stated above (Question 109, Article 2). And it behooves man to be maintained in a becoming order towards other men as regards their mutual relations with one another, in point of both deeds and words, so that they behave towards one another in a becoming manner. Hence the need of a special virtue that maintains the becomingness of this order: and this virtue is called friendliness.---St. Thomas Aquinas

art and science

Art, according to the Schoolmen, signifies the right method with regard to external productions (recta ratio factibilium). Just as science perfects and directs the intellect to reason correctly with regard to its proper object in view of the attainment of truth, so also art perfects and directs the intellect in the application of certain rules in view of the production of external works, whether these be of a useful or ├Žsthetic character. Hence the division into useful and fine arts. Art has this in common with the three speculative intellectual habits, that they are all virtues only in a restricted sense. Hence they constitute a man good only in a qualified sense, e.g. a good geometrician or a good sculptor. For the proper function of science as art, as such, is not to confer moral goodness, but to direct the intellect in its scientific or artistic processes.--- CE

The gifts of understanding and knowledge are more perfect than the knowledge of faith in the point of their greater clearness, but not in regard to more certain adhesion: because the whole certitude of the gifts of understanding and knowledge, arises from the certitude of faith, even as the certitude of the knowledge of conclusions arises from the certitude of premises. But in so far as science, wisdom and understanding are intellectual virtues, they are based upon the natural light of reason, which falls short of the certitude of God's word, on which faith is founded. --- St. Thomas Aquinas

religion

...order comes under the aspect of good, just as mode and species, according to Augustine (De Nat. Boni iii). Since then it belongs to religion to pay due honor to someone, namely, to God, it is evident that religion is a virtue.---St. Thomas Aquinas

piety, including righteousness, patriotism, and respect

what is due to God, parents, country, others...four separate virtues

There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. For indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it is really so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all. Whereas by shifting your own laziness and powerlessness onto others, you will end by sharing in Satan's pride and murmuring against God.---The Brothers Karamazov
Book VI - The Russian Monk, Chapter 3 - Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zosima.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky


gratitude

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, And pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones And allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us. ---St. Teresa of Avila

Ingratitude is  “the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins.”---St. Ignatius of Loyola

liberality or kindness in giving things, time, attention, and money

Justice has to do with the fellowship of mankind. For the notion of fellowship is divided into two parts, justice and beneficence, also called liberality or kind-heartedness.---St. Ambrose


A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.--- Saint Basil


decorum or modesty


1 Corinthians 14:40 Douay-Rheims  But let all things be done decently, and according to order.
Nehemiah 8:8-12 Douay-Rheims

8 And they read in the book of the law of God distinctly and plainly to be understood: and they understood when it was read.

9 And Nehemias (he is Athersatha) and Esdras the priest and scribe, and the Levites who interpreted to all the people, said: This is a holy day to the Lord our God: do not mourn, nor weep: for all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

10 And he said to them: Go, eat fat meats, and drink sweet wine, and send portions to them that have not prepared for themselves: because it is the holy day of the Lord, and be not sad: for the joy of the Lord is our strength.

11 And the Levites stilled all the people, saying: Hold your peace, for the day is holy, and be not sorrowful.

12 So all the people went to eat and drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth: because they understood the words that he had taught them.


1 Timothy 2:9 Douay-Rheims

9 In like manner women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire...


compassion

Mary appears to Christians of all times as the one who feels deep compassion for the sufferings of humanity. This compassion does not consist only in an emotional sympathy, but is expressed in effective and concrete help when confronted with humanity's material and moral misery.
In following Mary, the Church is called to take on the same attitude towards all the earth's poor and suffering. The maternal attention of the Lord's Mother to the tears, sorrows and hardships of the men and women of all ages must spur Christians, particularly at the dawn of the new millennium, to increase the concrete and visible signs of a love that will enable today's humble and suffering people to share in the promises and hopes of the new world which is born from Easter.---St. John Paul II  General Audience on Wednesday, 22 November 1995

munificence, a subset virtue of generosity

The virtue of munificence refers to a firm habit to desire and do great works for the benefit of others. It is generally contrasted with the virtue of generosity, which is the firm disposition to sacrifice what one has for the good of others, even though what one has may be small and even though it may help only one beneficiary. Munificence, on the other hand, refers to sacrifices of great amounts for the benefit of many. Father Roger Landry

chastity

In this great pastoral effort there is an urgent need for the entire Christian community to recover an appreciation of the virtue of chastity. The integrating and liberating function of this virtue (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2338-2343) should be emphasized by a formation of the heart, which presents the Christian understanding of sexuality as a source of genuine freedom, happiness and the fulfilment of our fundamental and innate human vocation to love. It is not merely a question of presenting arguments, but of appealing to an integrated, consistent and uplifting vision of human sexuality. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Address to American Bishops, March 9th, 2012

abstinence and sobriety, subsets of temperance

Dear friends, what the Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all by the renunciation of sin. --- Saint Leo the Great.


magnanimity, constancy, longanimity, subsets of virtue of fortitude

Fortitude has two principal acts: to undertake courageously and to endure difficult things. The Christian should endure them for the love of God; it is more difficult to endure for a long time than in a moment of enthusiasm, to undertake courageously something difficult. (9)
Fortitude is accompanied by patience to endure the sorrows of life without being disturbed and without murmuring, by longanimity which endures trials for a long time, and by constancy in good, which is opposed to obduracy in evil.
To the virtue of fortitude is also linked that of magnanimity, which leads to the lofty practice of all the virtues,(10) avoiding pusillanimity and effeminacy, but without falling into presumption, vainglory, or ambition.
The gift of fortitude adds a superior perfection to the virtue of fortitude. It disposes us to receive the special inspirations of the Holy Ghost, which are given to sustain our courage in the presence of danger and to drive out worry over not being able to accomplish a great duty or to endure trials. This gift makes us preserve, in spite of everything, "hunger and thirst after the justice of God." (11)
The heroic degree of the virtue of fortitude appears especially in martyrdom, undergone to give testimony to a truth of faith or to the grandeur of a Christian virtue. Outside of martyrdom, the virtue of fortitude, the gift of fortitude, patience, and magnanimity intervene each time that something heroic is to be accomplished or a great trial to be borne.---Garrigou-Lagrange in The Three Ages of the Interior Life

poverty

The devil does not have only one weapon. He uses many different means to defeat human beings: now with bribery, now with boredom, now with greed he attacks, inflicting mental and physical wounds equally. The kind of temptation varies with the different kinds of victim. Avarice is the test of the rich, loss of children that of parents and everyone is exposed to pain of mind or body. What a wealth of weapons is at the devil’s disposal! It was for this reason that the Lord chose to have nothing to lose. He came to us in poverty so that the devil could find nothing to take away from him. You see the truth of this when you hear the Lord himself saying:
“The prince of this world is come and has found nothing in me”John 14:30. The devil could only test him with bodily pain, but this too was useless because Christ despised bodily suffering. Job was tested by his own goods, whereas Christ was tempted, during the experience of the wilderness, by the goods of all. In fact, the devil robbed Job of his riches and offered Christ the kingdom of the whole world. Job was tested by vexations, Christ by prizes. Job the faithful servant replied: “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away” Job 1:21 Christ, being conscious of his own divine nature, scorned the devil’s offering of what already belonged to him.

So let us not be afraid of temptations. Rather, let us glory in them saying: “When I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Cor. 12:10. – Saint Ambrose 


to be continued... a few more to make over forty.........................................




The Forty Catholic Virtues Part One--The First Twenty


Because my guest blogger was unable to produce the natural law articles, for good reasons, I am writing this last mini-series on this blog on the virtues. There are forty according to Garrigou-Lagrange, and I have tried to find a quotation for each one for meditation. The first twenty virtues in the list make up this section.

What we need to be practicing if we want to "skip purgatory":  

some quotations are from Twelve Catholic Virtues, a great little book. Some are those I found to be appropriate.

The first list:

perfection

Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord's words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now, who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become a Saint! Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.----St. Vincent de Paul


humility

Humility is the foundation of all the virtues
; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts. And, finally, it is so necessary to perfection, that of all the ways to reach it, the first is humility; the second, humility; the third, humility. And if the question were repeated a hundred times, I should always give the same answer.----St. Augustine


union with God

The object of all virtues is to bring us into union with God, in which alone is laid up all the happiness that can be enjoyed in this world. Now, in what does this union properly consist? In nothing save a perfect conformity and resemblance between our will and the will of God, so that these these two wills are absolutely alike----there is nothing in one repugnant to the other; all that one wishes and loves, the other wishes and loves; whatever pleases or displeases one, pleases or displeases the other.----St. John of the Cross

love

When one has arrived at the perfect love of God, he becomes as if he were the only man on earth. He cares no more for glory or ignominy; he despises temptations and sufferings; he loses taste and appetite for all things. Finding no support, consolation, or repose in anything, he goes constantly in search of his Beloved, without ever being weary; so that at work or at table, waking or sleeping, in every employment or conversation, his whole thought and his whole aim is to find the Beloved, for his heart is where his treasure is. In one word, he is like a lover who sighs only for the sight of his love, and whose love is his all.----St. John Chrysostom 

mortification or penance

The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection.----St. Jerome 


prayer

Virtues are formed by prayer.
Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy.
Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven.”--- St. Ephrem of Syria


Mental prayer consists in weighing and understanding what we are saying, Who it is to Whom we are speaking and who we are to have the courage to speak to so great a Lord. To have these and similar thoughts is properly to make mental prayer. Their opinion, however, is not to be followed who believe that its whole essence consists in thinking, so that if they can keep their thoughts fixed by a great effort, then they consider themselves very spiritual and men of prayer; but if they are able to do this no longer, and their attention wanders a little, even to good things, they imagine they are doing nothing. No, the substance of mental prayer, in my opinion, consists in nothing but conversing with God as with a friend. And so, to speak of this thing or of that to Him, Who, we know, loves us, is mental prayer.----St. Teresa


patience

If you see that you have not yet suffered tribulations, consider it certain that you have not begun to be a true servant of God; for the Apostle says plainly that all who choose to live piously in Christ, shall suffer persecutions.----St. Augustine 

 The way is narrow. Whoever expects to walk in it with ease must go detached from all things, leaning on the staff of the Cross; that is firmly resolving to be willing to suffer in all things for love of God.----St. John of the Cross

diligence (industry)

If man could see what reward he will have in the world above for well-doing, he would never employ his memory, understanding or will in anything but good works, without regarding at all what labor or trials he might experience in them.----St. Catherine of Genoa

simplicity

Simplicity is nothing but an act of charity pure and simple, which has but one sole end----that of gaining the love of God. Our soul is then truly simple, when we have no aim at all but this, in all we do.----St. Francis de Sales


obedience

Obedience is the summary of perfection and of the whole spiritual life, and the securest, shortest, least laborious and least dangerous way of becoming enriched with all virtues, and arriving at the goal of our desires----eternal life. ----Alvarez

meekness which includes modesty

As without faith it is impossible to please God, so without mildness it is impossible to please men and to govern them well.----St. Bernard


trust in Divine Providence

Whoever serves God with a pure heart, and setting aside all individual and human interests, seeks only His glory, has reason to hope for success in all he does, and especially under circumstances when, according to human judgment, there is no help; for the Divine works are above the sight of human prudence, and depend upon a loftier principle.----St. Charles Borromeo

faith


...faith is a habit of the mind by which eternal life begins in us, a habit which makes the intellect assent to things that are not apparent.---St. Thomas Aquinas

honesty

We have to endure the discordance between imagination and fact. It is better to say, “I am suffering,” than to say, “This landscape is ugly".-- Simone Weil

hope

I am the King's true subject, and pray for him and all the realm.... I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live.... And therefore, my poor body is at the King's pleasure. Would God my death might do him some good.--- St. Thomas More

temperance

Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.---St. Thomas Aquinas

prudence

Sirach 22:26-27 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

26 but if some harm should happen to me because of him,
whoever hears of it will beware of him.
27 O that a guard were set over my mouth,
and a seal of prudence upon my lips,
that it may keep me from falling,
so that my tongue may not destroy me!

Ecclesiastes 7:14 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.


 Prudence...recta ratio agibilium, right conduct--St. Thomas Aquinas
courage

Joshua 1:6-8 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

6 Be strong and of good courage; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.


justice

Justice is the same as rectitude, not essentially but causally; for it is a habit which rectifies the deed and the will.---St. Thomas Aquinas

fortitude

For these four virtues (would that all felt their influence in their minds as they have their names in their mouths!), I should have no hesitation in defining them: that temperance is love giving itself entirely to that which is loved; fortitude is love readily bearing all things for the sake of the loved object; justice is love serving only the loved object, and therefore ruling rightly; prudence is love distinguishing with sagacity between what hinders it and what helps it.---St. Augustine


to be continued...





More on The Virtues: Stupidity and Intelligence Continued...


Here is a long quotation from Garrigou-Lagrange on the virtues. I shall make a list of all forty of the virtues we are to develop in our lives while on earth, or gain through merit via penance and mortification. From Reality-A Thomistic Synthesis....which I did quote before on this blog and have recommended.

The point of this selection has to do with the fact that in order to develop and make a habit of virtue, one must use one's intellect. Virtues do not emanate from the emotions. Virtue forms the emotions to be the servants of the intellect and will.

One chooses to be trained in the virtues, to allow God to bring one to understand virtue in a particular way, such as through suffering or study.

But, learn the virtues we must. Some saints have infused virtue, but for most humans, virtues must be cultivated in cooperation with grace.

However, infused virtue comes after the practice of acquired virtue, in somewhat the same way that infused contemplation follows acquired contemplation.

Those who do not grow in virtue fall back into stupidity.

Stupidity ignores the virtuous life.

Article Two: Classification Of Virtues
Some virtues are intellectual, some are moral, some are theological. The intellectual virtues [1049] are five: three in the speculative order, namely, first principles, science, and wisdom, and two in the practical order, prudence [1050] and art. [1051].
Moral virtues are perfections, either of the will or of the sense appetite. In dividing them St. Thomas is guided by the ancient moralists, Aristotle, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine. All moral virtues are reduced to the four cardinal virtues: [1052] prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance. Prudence, though it is an intellectual virtue, is likewise a moral virtue, because it guides both the will and the sense appetite in finding the right means in attaining an end. Justice inclines the will to give everyone his due. Fortitude strengthens the irascible appetite against unreasonable fear. Temperance rules the concupiscible appetite.
The theological virtues [1053] elevate our higher faculties, intellect and will, proportioning them to our supernatural end, that is, to God's own inner life. [1054] Faith makes us adhere supernaturally to what God has revealed. Hope, resting on His grace, tends to possess Him. Charity makes us love Him, more than ourselves, more than all else, because His infinite goodness is in itself lovable, and because He, both as Creator and as Father, loved us first. The theological virtues, therefore, are essentially supernatural and infused, by reason of their formal objects, which without them are simply inaccessible.
By this same rule St. Thomas distinguishes the infused moral virtues from acquired moral virtues. [1055] This distinction, of capital importance yet too little known, must be emphasized. The acquired moral virtues do indeed incline us to what is in itself good, not merely to what is useful or delectable. They make man perfect as man. But they do not suffice to make man a God's child, who, guided by faith and Christian prudence, is to employ supernatural means for a supernatural end. Thus infused temperance, say, is specifically distinct from acquired temperance, as, to illustrate, a higher note on the key board is specifically distinct from the same note on a lower octave. Thus we distinguish Christian temperance from philosophic temperance, and evangelical poverty from the philosophic poverty of Crates. Acquired temperance, to continue with St. Thomas, [1056] differs from infused temperance in rule, object, and end. It observes the just medium in nourishment, so as not to harm health or occupation. Infused temperance observes a higher medium, so as to live like a child of God on his march to a life that is eternal and supernatural. It implies a more severe mortification, which chastises the body and reduces it to subjection, [1057] not merely to become a good citizen here below but rather a fellow citizen of the saints, a child in the family of God. [1058].
This same difference between infused and acquired is found likewise in prudence, justice, and fortitude. Yet we must note that acquired virtue facilitates the exercise of infused virtue, as, to illustrate, finger exercises facilitate the musician's art which resides in the musician's intellect.
As the acquired virtues in the will and sense appetite, justice, namely, and fortitude, and temperance, are inseparable from prudence, so the infused virtues are inseparable from charity. Faith and hope can indeed continue to exist without charity, but they no longer exist in a state of virtue, [1059] and their acts are no longer meritorious. And whereas all moral virtues, infused or acquired, must preserve a medium between excess and defect, the theological virtues have no medium properly speaking, because we can neither believe too much in God, nor hope too much in Him, nor love Him too much. [1060]

to be continued...

Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.----Matt. 5:48 

More thoughts from observation then and now...

Monday, 6 August 2012 Repost

More on Perfection-some capital sins

As per requests from some readers, I am briefly defining some of the sins and then will define some of the virtues from Garrigou-Lagrange.

Anger leads to violence...Bosch
I think most of us understand and have even heart this idea before from Aquinas: St. Thomas observes that the sins of the flesh are more shameful than those of the spirit, for they lower man to the level of the brute; but those of the spirit, such as pride, the only ones that exist in the devil, are more grave for they are more directly opposed to God and turn us more away from Him.(11)


And, this passage is a repetition, just as a reminder. According to St. Gregory and St. Thomas,(12) pride or arrogance is more than a capital sin; it is the root from which proceed especially four capital sins: vanity or vainglory, spiritual sloth or wicked sadness which embitters, envy, and anger. Vanity is the inordinate love of praise and honors. Spiritual sloth saddens the soul at the thought of the labor involved in sanctification, and at the thought of the spiritual good of good works because of the effort and abnegation they require. Envy inclines us to grow sad over another's good, in so far as it appears to oppose our own excellence. Anger, when it is not just indignation but a sin, is an inordinate movement of the soul which inclines us to repulse violently what displeases us; from it arise quarrels, insults, and abusive words. These capital vices, especially spiritual sloth, envy, and anger, engender a wicked sadness that weighs down the soul; they are quite the opposite of spiritual peace and joy, which are the fruits of charity.


Sadly, most people do not even consider some of these sins as sins. Sloth is a very common sin among the laity, causing people not to read, pray or work at their salvation.


Envy is also common and a basis for many of the "Occupy" movements we has seen since last Fall. Most societies are into the "politics of envy", which is easy to understand.


Sadly, however, especially in light of many events lately, anger as a capital sin, has become more and more common. In these times, some people feel like they have a right to be angry express that anger. Discipline with regard to being patient and not insulting seems to have disappeared.

Notice that all of these serious sins stop peace and joy.

I was on a train last week and a young woman across from me was on a cell phone. I could not ignore her conversations, nor could anyone else. She was unhappy about everything. I really felt sorry for her.

She had phoned several people about this and that and all the stories were negative and complaining.
This young woman will never be happy until she realizes that her anger, envy, and pride weigh her down and damage her judgement. She is in a negative spin about the entire world in which she lives. And, she is only about 23. How sad. But, sin has become a habit with her and she has no one to point out to her that her soul is heavy and not experiencing joy, peace and charity. Her words betray a habit of complaining, and we are warned against this time and again in the Scriptures. So many young people have been raised without any moral framework, and we must pray for her and all who have not the will nor the inclination to break out of negativity.

Capital sins are deadly and become habitual easily. If we are sinning in these areas, we must beg God to break through our complacency and show us the remedies. The remedies, beginning with self-knowledge, are repentance and grace to live the life of virtue.
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One cannot take a shortcut to heaven. One cannot skip stages of spiritual growth. Not to be arcane, Garrigou-Lagrange points out the consequences of the capital sins.


By the consequences of sin are generally understood the remnants of sin (reliquiae peccati), the evil inclinations left, so to speak, in our temperament even after sin has been forgiven, as concupiscence, which is a remnant of original sin, remains after baptism, like a wound in the course of healing. The consequences of the capital sins may also mean the other sins that spring from them. The capital sins are so called because they are like the head or the principle of many others. We are, first of all, inclined toward them, and by them in turn toward sins that are often more serious.
Thus vainglory or vanity engenders disobedience, boasting, hypocrisy, contention through rivalry, discord, love of novelties, and stubbornness. It is a vice that may lead to most lamentable falls and apostasy.

Spiritual sloth, disgust for spiritual things and for the work of sanctification, because of the effort it demands, is a vice directly opposed to the love of God and to the holy joy that results from it. Sloth engenders malice, rancor or bitterness toward our neighbor, pusillanimity in the face of duty to be accomplished, discouragement, spiritual torpor, forgetfulness of the precepts, seeking after forbidden things. Slipping downward on the slope of pride, vain­glory, and spiritual sloth, many have lost their vocation.

In the same way, envy or willful displeasure at the sight of another's good, as if it were an evil for us, engenders hatred, slander, calumny, joy at he misfortune of another, and sadness at his success.
Gluttony and sensuality also produce other vices and may lead to blindness of spirit, to hardness of heart, to attachment to the present life even to the loss of hope of eternal life, and to love of self even to hatred of God, and to final impenitence.

I have highlighted important points here. We need to make hard decisions to break away from sin and most of the capital sins are mortal. A good confessor can help.

To break away from such sins may mean changing one's lifestyle and even dropping some friends who lead one into sin.

May I add that calumny is not the same as slander. Calumny is lying about someone on purpose to cause that person harm. It is malicious. Slander is also malicious, but involves the spreading of perhaps true evil done by another. Gossip is usually involved in slander. A person who judges another and spreads negative information about another is committing slander.

A few others words have been defined in another post. One more is the phrase spiritual torpor. This is not quite the same thing as sloth, but can be connected. Here is a section which may help.

Sloth in general, pigritia, is a voluntary and culpable repugnance to work, to effort, and consequently a tendency to idleness, or at least to negligence, to pusillanimity,(2) which is opposed to generosity or magnanimity.
Sloth is not the languor or torpor in action which comes from poor health; it is an evil disposition of the will and of the sensible appetites, by which one fears and refuses effort, wishes to avoid all trouble, and seeks a dolce farniente. It has often been remarked that the slothful man is a parasite, who lives at the expense of others, as tranquil as a woodchuck when he is undisturbed in his idleness, and ill-humored when an effort is made to oblige him to work. This vice begins with unconcern and negligence in work, and manifests itself by a progressive dislike for all serious, physical and mental labor.
When idleness affects the accomplishment of the religious duties necessary to sanctification, it is called acedia.(3) It is an evil sadness: opposed to spiritual joy, which is the fruit of generosity in the love of God. Acedia is a disgust for spiritual things, a disgust which leads one to perform them negligently, to shorten them, or to omit them under vain pretexts. It is the cause of tepidity.
This sadness, which is radically opposed to that of contrition, depresses the soul and weighs it down because it does not react as it should. Then it reaches a voluntary disgust for spiritual things, because they demand too much effort and self-discipline. Whereas devotion, which is the promptness of the will in the service of God, lifts the soul up, spiritual sloth weighs down and crushes the soul and ends by causing it to find the yoke of the Lord unbearable and to flee the divine light, which reminds it of its duties. St. Augustine says: "Light which is so pleasant to pure eyes, becomes hateful to infirm eyes which can no longer bear it."
This depressing sadness, the result of negligence, and this disgust, which is at least indirectly voluntary, are quite different from the sensible or spiritual aridity which, in divine trials, is accompanied by true contrition for our sins, by fear of offending God, by a keen desire for perfection, by a need of solitude, of recollection, and of the prayer of simple gaze.


Sloth by Bosch
Torpor is a state which must be broken to grow and move away from sin. It can be depression from sinning.


One last long quotation, which will bring hope follows here:



Happily, contrary to what is true of the virtues, these vices or defects are not connected. One may have some without the others; several indeed are contradictory: for example, one cannot be avaricious and prodigal at one and the same time.

But we have to practice numerous virtues, forty or more, if we count all the virtues annexed to the principal ones. With the exception of justice, each stands like a summit between two contrary vices: the one by excess, such as temerity; the other by defect, such as cowardice.
Moreover, certain defects resemble certain virtues: for instance, pride is in some ways similar to magnanimity. It is important to have discretion or Christian prudence to discern clearly the virtue from the defect which in certain respects resembles it. Otherwise, false notes may be struck on the keyboard of the virtues: for example, pusillanimity may be confounded with humility, severity with justice, weakness with mercy.


This is why we cannot grow on our own. We must be in relationships. This is God's plan for us.


to be continued...

Stupidity and Intelligence

Today, I have been musing on what makes people act in a stupid manner.

I know what intelligent actions involve-prayer, reflection, rational discourse, using the gifts of the Holy Spirit given in confirmation, getting advice from a spiritual director, reading, studying the Faith, doing penance.

Intelligence involves the entire person being focused on using the gifts at hand to learn the Faith and use it daily.

We are all made in the image and likeness of God, and the intellectual gift of thinking and decision making using will power-the will being one way we are like God, the other being our freedom and the third, which is the likeness, is grace.

I have written much on grace, so follow the tags, but using one's intellectual capacity to the fullest potential defines being human.

So, what makes people stupid and what does it mean to be stupid?

Second definition first-stupidity is dullness of mind, ignorance, and even obtuse, or stubbornness.

What makes people freely chose to be dull, ignorant and stubborn is, simply, sin.

Stupidity grows out of many sins, in fact, and here is an incomplete list:

lust
sloth
greed
anger
pride
gluttony
envy.....

I hope you recognize these as the seven deadly sins.

Lust consumes the imagination with false idolatry, thus making people dull of mind. Intemperance of thought, such as curiosity, and the chasing of emotional religious experience, are rooted in lust.

Sloth stops growth, makes one give up on holiness and ignores the virtue of studiosity.

Greed consumes one with false gods of money, things, status, power, making one into a beast instead of a thinking human being.

Anger brings about unforgiveness, rash judgements, prejudices, and intemperance, allowing the mind to dwell upon real or imagined hurts.

Pride creates an entire false world by which a person judges everything but themselves. Pride also dulls the mind, the soul, one's conscience.

Gluttony absolutely makes one stupid, as intemperance in food and drink slow down the thought processes and make a person dwell on satisfaction and comfort rather than study or reflection. Those who spend too much time on eating and drinking have little time or inclination for study.

Envy stops mental acuity by causing a person to dwell upon what others have and what others do. Envy causes shallow thinking and gossip, leading a person away from reflection and prayer.

I add fear to this list, as fear deadens the intellect. Fear makes a person fall back into the morass of negative emotions, protection, paranoia and self-preservation, all which stop intellectual growth.

Sin causes stupidity. Not facing and eliminating one's predominant fault causes stupidity. Refusing to follow the wisdom of the ages of Church guidance regarding holiness causes stupidity.

Wanting one's own way over and over and over is just plain stupid.

I incorporate the ideas of an old post to reveal how one can break out of stupidity. Humility is the answer.



Sunday, 22 July 2012

Perfection Series: Our Predominant Fault Two

Newark Cathedral in England has some amazing stained glass. The Seven Deadly Sins plus one, 
show that the Medievals were being taught what we moderns have forgotten--that sin binds us to 
Satan and death.

Garrigou-Lagrange states that "it is of primary importance that we recognize our predominant 
fault and have no illusions about it. This is is so much the more necessary as our adversary, the 
enemy of our soul, knows it quite well and makes use of it to stir up trouble in and about us. In the 
citadel of our interior life, which is defended by the different virtues, the predominant fault is the weak spot, undefended by the theological and moral virtues." 

On this picture above,  Envy and Pride are depicted. 
Most of the characters have chains.


Many times we forget who is out to claim us for hell.



Lust and Sloth (who has beads) point to the need for deep, persistent prayer, as do all the other Deadly Sins. Garrigou-Lagrange writes that we must ask God, seek Him, for enlightenment as to one's predominant fault. We must ask him to remove the fault, help us to cooperate with Him is purification. We must be serious about our personal daily examinations of conscience.

What is really tricky is that the fault may seem like a virtue.

He gives us these questions to ask ourselves: "Toward what do my most ordinary preoccupations 
tend, in the morning when I awake, or when I am alone? Where do my thoughts and desires go spontaneously?"
For the sake of our souls, we must be brutally honest with ourselves.

Here is a great question from the Dominican: "What is generally the cause or source of my sadness and joy? What is the general motive of my action, the ordinary origin of my sins...a succession of sins or a state of resistance to grace, notably when this resistance persists for several days and leads me to omit my exercises of piety?" On the right, we see Violence and Gluttony. I would think that Gluttony is one of the most prevalent of the Deadly Sins in the West. That Violence is obvious in certain countries indicates certain people have this fundamental, predominant sin.

If we deny something which someone else points out, it is probably our dominant fault fighting to 
remain hidden to our consciousness. We need grace. We need God.

Satan watches us. He hears us speak. He knows our predominant fault and uses temptations to lead 
us to yet another sin. And, here is the big point, quoting St. John 8:34, made by Garrigou-Lagrange.
"Whosoever committeth sin 
is the servant of sin."

Also, quoting Thomas Aquinas, 
the author states "Every man 
judges of what is good according to his good or evil interior dispositions."


The good priest gives us the example of how the predominant fault becomes our greatest virtue. He shows the text revealing the anger and vengeance of St. John, who later in life, wrote the most beautiful passages on love. 
The "son of anger" became the 
poet and apostle of love. Wrath and Avarice on the right from Newark show contorted souls. Notice 
again the chains.

We have much work to do. Let us pray for good spiritual directors, holy wives and husbands, excellent companions in monasteries and convents, and holy friends to point out our worst flaw and to work on 
the remedy.

For the sake of our souls...to be continued.