Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Feed

Filtering by Tag: Saint Francis de Sales

The Cross of Patience

Allie Reis

We have all heard the saying, “Patience is a virtue.” It is either said in a moment of spiritual discussion or at the worst time when we feel impatience building in our souls. Patience can be extremely hard to master, since it involves a mix of many of the other virtues. Patience involves humility, conformity to God’s will, charity if involving others, and many other virtues depending on the circumstance. What we must realize is that to master patience we must trust completely in God and the strength He can give us, as well as have an understanding with ourselves. We may fall, or become impatient unnecessarily, but the best way to build up a virtue is to be humble and always learn from our mistakes. Our Lord will be there for us no matter what, and is eagerly waiting for us to start our journey to virtue.

Patience is especially difficult now in our modern world because we are so used to being satisfied right away with our smart phones, Internet, and "likes" on social media. But patience always comes with time, and if we trust in God and have confidence in His grace, we will be able to grow in every virtue we need to become saints.

Frequent prayer as well as taking time to visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament will especially help. St. John Bosco once said: “Do you want our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him seldom. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament are powerful and indispensable means of overcoming the attacks of the devil. Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the devil will be powerless against you.” If we put our trust in God, He will return the favor.

The first point to work on when trying to master patience is humility. Just like pride is the source of all vice, humility is at the heart of every virtue. St. Thomas of Villanova speaks of this: “Humility is the mother of many virtues because from it obedience, fear, reverence, patience, modesty, meekness and peace are born. He who is humble easily obeys everyone, fears to offend anyone, is at peace with everyone, is kind with all.”

Firstly, we need to turn to God with humility if we are ever going to be patient. In the moment, a situation that can stir up impatience can be extremely difficult to deal with, but if we turn our eyes to God, we are brought out of the world and into His heavenly arms. The restrictions of our life on earth will then seem insignificant to the eternal love our eyes are now fixed upon. Such situations will be easier to offer up, and with time such acts of love will bring us great joy. Saying this, it makes more sense when we hear the saying from St. Francis de Sales: “The highest point of humility consists in not merely acknowledging one's abjection, but in taking pleasure therein, not from any want of breadth or courage, but to give the more glory to God's Divine Majesty, and to esteem one's neighbour more highly than one's self.”

When we hear the saints talking about things like abjection, it can often be discouraging to us. But growth in humility will show that through looking down on ourselves, we are really looking down on our fallen human nature and the faults that come along with it. Humility frees us from the faults we obtained through Adam and Eve, and lifts us up to Divine perfection.

The second part of this patient humility is having a perfect understanding of our faults and failings. A remembrance of our faults should neither discourage nor worry us, but be an opportunity to offer up everything we have gone through to Our Lord, as a plea for help and prayer for His assistance. In moments where we have been impatient, we should simply be aware of what we should improve on, and move on. Being impatient with ourselves to be patient will not help in the least! By this humility, we will grow in patience with ourselves constantly, even when we are struggling.

Another point to take into consideration is that the moments we are struggling to be patient will be part of the past before we know it. Keeping Heaven forever before our eyes will help with this, as well as the hope that God will not give us any suffering that is too great for us.

St. Ignatius says: “If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, it is a sign of great holiness which He desires you to attain. Do you want to become a great saint? Ask God to send you many sufferings. The flame of Divine Love never rises higher than when fed with the wood of the Cross, which the infinite charity of the Savior used to finish His sacrifice. All the pleasures of the world are nothing compared with the sweetness found in the gall and vinegar offered to Jesus Christ. That is, hard and painful things endured for Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ.”

When we die and hopefully go to Heaven, all the merit we have gained while on earth will determine on which level in Heaven we will be (of course, all those in Heaven enjoy the Beatific Vision, but those who were especially close to God will receive even greater rewards). Are we not then willing to go through any kind of suffering here on earth in order to store up  greater treasures in Heaven? We only have a limited time on earth, so if we feel impatient or are struggling with a situation, we must remember it is a perfect opportunity to sanctify ourselves and merit infinite and eternal rewards in Heaven.

Finally, in times of impatience we should find ways, especially if it involves impatience with our neighbor, to improve the situation. For example, if someone annoys us on a regular basis, instead of feeling uncharitable and impatient towards them, we should take the time to see Our Blessed Lord in their eyes and care for Him through them. Every person who crosses our path in our lifetime is an opportunity to comfort Our Lord in His Passion, and offer up acts of love for His glory and honor.

St. John of Avila knew of such charity and spoke of the merit we will receive if we live patiently for Christ: “Dear brothers and sisters, I pray God may open your eyes and let you see what hidden treasures He bestows on us in the trials from which the world thinks only to flee. Shame turns into honor when we seek God's glory. Present affliction becomes the source of heavenly glory. To those who suffer wounds in fighting His battles God opens His arms in loving, tender friendship. That is why He (Christ) tells us that if we want to join Him, we shall travel the way He took. It is surely not right that the Son of God should go His way on the path of shame while the sons of men walk the way of worldly honor: ‘The disciple is not above his teacher, nor the servant greater than his master’.”

If we knew the consolations and glory we will receive in Heaven for taking care of our neighbor in the Name of Christ, nothing would be too much for us. One reason why things can be so difficult on earth, is impatient longing for Heaven.

We can also subconsciously place all our hopes and dreams in the hands of the world. No wonder we hate to suffer if we think this is all we have! And yet this is only the beginning. If we choose to see Our Lord in the eyes of those around us, and use every opportunity as a stepping stone to our real home, acts of patience will be consoling rather than difficult.

In Times of Temptation

Allie Reis

“Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast,” St. Philip Neri tells us.

Temptations can be extremely difficult at times and disheartening, especially if we are trying to better ourselves and become holier. But there is no need to ever feel anxious about temptations, we simply need to remember their purpose and how to treat them. God gives us temptations in order to test us and help strengthen and perfect our souls in virtue and goodness. We should then pray for the grace to see the greater good that comes from temptations, trust always in the love and power of God, learn to run away from temptations in the moment, and lean on the power of the Angels and Saints to assist us.

God’s Loving Plan

God never intended us to have to go through temptation; yet since Adam and Eve chose to eat the apple in the Garden of Eden, we have to build ourselves back up in order to reach perfection. God knows very well of our weaknesses, and is very careful to only allow temptations that we can handle and fight. If it seems at times that the temptations we are experiencing are unbearable and undefeatable, it is usually because we have put ourselves in the occasion of sin.

Occasion of sin is when we put ourselves in a dangerous position where sin is usually the outcome. If we continue to place ourselves in these situations and ask God why He is not giving us the strength to fight, it is because we have already gone halfway ourselves. We should then be careful not to place ourselves in the occasion of sin, and will soon realize the loving care that God gives to us when we choose Him over sin. Our God waits in anticipation for us to enter a church to visit Him, after He has waited days, weeks, or even years to see us. Would He not also listen to our pleas when we cry out for help?

Temptation is precisely the opportunity for us to turn our eyes to God and grow our love for Him. In order to prove this, let us imagine our lives without any temptations at all. We live our lives and go through our days without once being tested by a temptation. We may think of God from time to time, but this would be very easy for us. Our souls would never have the opportunity to grow because we proved our love to God; rather, we would simply be stuck in a state of indifference. Therefore, when we are being tempted, let us not dwell on our weaknesses or become saddened that God would allow such a thing, but look to God immediately and offer a prayer of love to let Him know we are still thinking of Him.

Temptations Consuming Us  

Oftentimes, especially if we are scrupulous, temptations can turn into an obsession we are terrified about. At every turn we worry there is going to be a temptation, and when the temptation comes we dwell on it in fear and feel we have no way to get over it. What we do not realize is that the devil is tempting us in a very different manner than we think.

For example, we have an improper image in our heads. We have worried all day that an image would pop into our heads, and here it is. Now that it is here, we become paralyzed and panicked. You may think the devil wants you to fall into impurity, when really he wants you to become anxious and not turn to God. Anxiety is such a peril for the soul, because it robs us of all hope and trust in Christ. In these moments, do not acknowledge the temptation or the strength you may or may not have to fight it. Simply refuse and move on. If a temptation is simplified in the moment and is refused in calmness, temptations will no longer control our lives.

There is a fantastic quote from St. Francis de Sales about this: “The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are. Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.”

Temptations are best fought in simplicity and at a fast pace. Let us always trust in God and turn to Him immediately when we feel in danger. This way we will grow in perfection and gain great merit for fighting bravely for Christ.

The Saints and Angels Wait

St. Alphonsus tells us: “Our prayers are so dear to God, that He has appointed the Angels to present them to Him as soon as they come forth from our mouths. 'The Angels,' says St. Hilary, 'preside over the prayers of the faithful, and offer them daily to God.' This is that smoke of the incense, which are the prayers of Saints, which St. John saw ascending to God from the hands of the Angels (Apoc. 8:3); and which he saw in another place represented by golden phials full of sweet odors, very acceptable to God.”

The Saints and Angels are our dearest friends and know very well of the trials of temptations. The more we trust the Angels and Saints, the more they will give to us. Does a close friend give us all of their love when we are constantly doubting them and their love for us? If we find this confidence difficult, prayer for the grace of confidence can mend this. The saints struggled greatly with temptations, even Our Blessed Lord allowed the devil to tempt Him. And why did He do this? To set an example for us and merit all the strength we will ever need to defeat temptations. The devil may be very powerful, but what is his power to legions of angels and myriads of saints?

He is completely powerless over us if we place our trust in the saints and angels, and ask for their protection.

Let us then always trust in God and not be paralyzed by anxiety because of temptations, and especially always remember Our Blessed Mother. St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said when speaking of difficulties: “In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not Her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of Her prayer, neglect not to walk in Her footsteps. With Her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking Her, you shall never lose heart; so long as She is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while She holds your hand, you cannot fall; under Her protection you have nothing to fear; if She walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if She shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."

Mary crushes the head of the devil, and protects us more lovingly than any mother on earth. She knows too well of our struggles and sufferings, and will be there at all times to help us.

Prayer in Times of Temptation                                           

Behold me, O my God, at Thy feet! I do not deserve mercy, but O my Redeemer, the Blood which Thou didst shed for me encourages me and obliges me to hope for it. How often I have offended Thee, repented, and yet have I again fallen into the same sin. O my God, I wish to amend, and in order to be faithful to Thee, I will place all my confidence in Thee. I will, whenever I am tempted, instantly have recourse to Thee. Until now, I have trusted in my own promises and resolutions and have neglected to recommend myself to Thee in my temptations. This has been the cause of my repeated failures. From this day forward, be Thou, O Lord, my Strength, and thus shall I be able to do all things, for “I can do all these things in Him Who strengtheneth me.” Amen.