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Archive for March, 2017


temper

Ill-temper takes various forms. Some are mere irritability and a hasty temper.  Other forms are sullenness and inclination to bear malice against those who supposedly have caused offense.  Also included are impatience, being “cross”, and being fretful.

Nobody supposes that those who are ill-tempered render themselves happy by yielding to their ill-temper.  On the contrary, everybody will allow that nothing but trouble and unhappiness, both to the ill-tempered and to those around them, can be the result of indulging in ill-temper. Why, then, should people give way to it?

They do so in a measure to gratify themselves.  They yield to their feelings, then they assert themselves in unpleasant ways.  They maintain, they think, their own part, and show a certain amount of independence. In reality, they have become subject to their temper.

If others are unkind to us, we cannot, of course, help showing that we feel their unkindness.  It is desirable that we should show that we feel it. But, we can do this without any feeling of hatred or malice towards them in our hearts. We may hate their unkindness or rudeness, and we may not be able to respect them quite as much as we did before.  However, we need not hate them, nor should we refrain from forgiving them. Mindful of St. Paul’s entreaty not to let the sun go down upon our wrath, we should keep every feeling of anger well under control, lest anger should become a settled feeling of hatred. Anger should, indeed, be rarely allowed to have sway within us, and then only upon just cause.

Our Lord Jesus Christ pronounced His blessing upon the meek, and upon the poor in spirit.  He was Himself meek and lowly in heart. He clearly was angry at the unbelief of His fellow countrymen.  Yet, even His dying prayer was for those who were putting Him to death. It is this gentle, patient, and forgiving spirit which His disciples must seek to imitate.

Prayer

Grant me grace, O Lord Jean Christ, that having this Thine example ever before mine eyes I may always endeavour to follow it, and so may please Thee, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory now and for evermore. Amen.

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England

In the wake of the attacks this afternoon in London, special prayers and a Rosary following Evening Prayer will be said at St. Alban’s at 5:00 p.m. today.

In Time of Calamity.

O GOD, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Hyoicdrite

Hypocrisy is a very hateful fault, inasmuch as it partakes of the nature of untruthfulness. The life of a hypocrite is a continual lie. It is not that he yields under the pressure of temptation to a single act of untruthfulness, but he is himself untrue, a living falsehood. Hypocrisy is hateful in the sight of men; it is still more hateful to God. He is true so He desires truth in the inward parts, (Psalm 51:6) that is, that we should be what we seem to be. He looks not on the outward appearance only, but upon the heart, and He cannot be deceived.

The Lord Jesus nowhere denounces the hateful sins of the publicans and sinners, although He loathed those of them who were unrepentant, as with burning indignation He denounced the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees.

Sometimes, however, people are hypocrites in that they try to make themselves appear worse than they really are. They are afraid of ridicule, or they are ashamed of their religion in the presence of those who do not know its value, or they yield to the natural tendency of human nature to do as others do. So they become guilty of this miserable hypocrisy.

The cause of this are moral cowardice and lack of strength to stand alone. Those who are guilty of it are as babes who cannot stand or walk of themselves, but need to be continually supported by another. Thus, they fail of being true, of being true to God, of being true to their own convictions and standard of right and wrong, and of being true to their sense of duty towards others.

What is the hypocrite’s reward? He gains, perchance, a reputation for goodness, and, perhaps, by means of this, certain material advantages. He relieves himself from being singular, and from the effort and trouble of standing up alone for goodness, purity, or truth. However, he loses self-respect, and that of his companions also, for no one can feel esteem for so poor a creature as such an one is.

Prayer

O Lord Jesu Christ, grant me honesty and courage, that I may share in Thy victory and have a place also in Thy glory, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.

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Lenten-Discipline

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Does this benediction apply to me? Assuredly not if my words and deeds are not pure, and assuredly not also if my thoughts and desires are not pure. For it is written that without holiness no man shall see the Lord; and again, that every one that bath this hope, of seeing the Lord Jesus as He is and of being made like unto Him, purifieth himself even as He is pure.”

I have been baptized into Christ and made a member of His Body, and therefore a child of God, and a temple of the Holy Ghost; and shall I ruin myself and lose all this great good for the miserable gratification which impurity in thought, or word, or deed. may perhaps afford for the moment, but for the moment only? Shall I receive the grace of God in vain, and deprive myself also of all that God has promised, because I allow myself to be led by others, or by the naughtiness of my own heart, to indulge in a form of evil which I must myself despise, and which will utterly ruin all happiness and peace both now and evermore?

It is hard to fling this temptation from us and to fight unceasingly against it. But whoever shrank from doing what was right and good because it was hard? Let such a one stand aside, for if he cannot take up this cross he cannot be a disciple of Christ the Lord. But if hard, it is not impossible. No, it rests with me, and with me alone, whether I shall be free or not. What must then be done?

Be thoroughly in earnest with yourself in this matter. Do not let your mind dwell on such matters, but resolutely divert your thoughts from them always. Keep from looking at, or listening to, anything which may arouse thoughts of this kind. In all times of temptation pray yet again and again, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; Give me the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

It may be that all this does not concern you. If so thank God, and pray for those to whom it does apply.

Prayer

Collect for Sixth Sunday after Epiphany.

O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that  he  might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

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ANger

There are many things which are not wrong in themselves, but which are emphatically wrong when they are indulged in to excess, or in a self-indulgent and unbridled manner. It is necessary, for example, that we should eat and drink.  To gratify hunger and thirst is, of course, most rea­sonable and right.  However, when any feel inclined to eat or drink more than is needful, then they become guilty of the contemptible sin of gluttony, or of the hateful sin of drunkenness.  This latter sin frequently leads to further wrong-doing, and is the source of so much sorrow and suffering, not only to the drunkard himself, but also to those also whom he should love most dearly.  These are the very ones whom it should be one of his chief purposes in life to shield from distress.

Again, is necessary to rest, but if we are seldom ready for work, or do our work idly and carelessly, we become guilty of slothfulness.

Most faults are a perversion of some virtue.  Violent anger, for example, is an outburst, visited upon the head of someone who has merely offended us.  We may have a lawful feeling of indignation which the sight of cruelty or treachery should at once call us to oppose. However, these feelings and inclinations need to be regulated by the principle of obedience to the law of God through the grace of His Holy Spirit. We should never give the rein to our natural inclina­tions, but quietly yet firmly control them, so as to pre­vent them from hurrying us into folly and sin.

To do this is to exercise the virtue of temperance. “Use this world,” St. Paul says, “but do not abuse it.”  That is, do not use it to excess, but properly and in moderation. Use any good it has to offer, any innocent pleasures it can afford, but use them temperately, knowing that only those who so use them really enjoy them.

Those who abandon themselves to any pursuit or amusement will weary of it.  All things were given us richly to enjoy, but all who are wise will make St. Paul’s resolution their own: “I will not be brought under the power of any.”

Prayer

Grant me, O God, I beseech Thee, wisdom and strength, that I may be temperate in all things, through Jesus Christ our Lard. Amen.

 

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Lent Disciplines

The Collect  for the Third Sunday of Lent in Spanish.

Te suplicamos, Omnipotente Dios, que atiendas a los vivos deseos de tus humildes siervos, y extiendas la diestra de tu Majestad, para que sea nuestra defensa contra todos nuestros enemigos; mediante Jesucristo nuestro Señor. Amén.

Libro de Oración Común (1955 ed. of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer)

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Cross

Despite modern “fluidity” with truth, particularly among the political classes, how unnatural falsehood appears from the abhorrence with which it is properly regarded. The first lie was told by the devil, and we therefore instinctively hate a lie. It follows also from this fact that all liars are following his example, and must therefore share his fearful doom. The result of lying is, that no one will trust the liar. If others do not respect a man or woman, nor trust them what friendship can there be? Further, without friendship, what joy is there in life?

It has been said that he who utters a lie braves the displeasure of God, whom he ought to fear; while he is unwilling to incur the wrath of man, of whom he has no need to be afraid. Perhaps he hopes by means of his lie to gain something from man, who can do nothing that will be any really good to him without the blessing of God; while he deprives himself of all help from God, who alone can do him good.

Exaggeration is a form of untruthfulness which should be carefully guarded against. A little exaggeration may seem to give more point to a good story, so that it is often thoughtlessly indulged in; or our feeling towards another may so influence our words that we may, almost without intending it, speak more severely of him than the occasion requires, or than the circumstances warrant us in speaking. We shall not, however, regret it if we train ourselves to care less for triumph than for truth.

The Lord Jesus Christ died rather than fail in speaking the truth. His disciples are all of them soldiers of the truth. When St. Paul equips the Christian soldier he arms him fast with the girdle of truth.  In like manner, St. John so dearly prized truth, that he wrote that he had no greater joy than to hear that his children were holding fast the truth of God, and that they were themselves truthful. God is a God of truth, and all His children must before all things be true.

Prayer

O God, help me, I beseech Thee, always to speak the truth, and if need be patiently to suffer for the truth’s sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Pride

Pride is a very common fault. It is an exaggeration of the self-respect which we should all feel. But this making much of ourselves, and very little of others in comparison with ourselves, is an offense against God, for it involves the more or less complete dethronement of God from the place which He ought to hold in our hearts. Pride is the worship of ourselves, so that he who is proud is himself the object of his own worship; and as he worships and idolizes himself, so he expects others to worship and exalt him also.

It is an offense also against our fellows, for if it is the uppermost feeling in our hearts we shall certainly fail in charity and courtesy towards them. It is an offense also against ourselves, for pride, though it may urge us to do our best for our own glory, will render us incapable of those kindly, and generous, acts of unselfish love which really glorify those who can rise up to them; and that chiefly because they have never sought their own glory in performing them.

Moreover, St. Paul’s words (1 Tim. iii. 6) imply that the devil was lifted up through pride, and so fell into condemnation; and that therefore if we, like him, are lifted up with pride, we, like him, shall fall into condemnation also. Besides this, pride opens the door to other grievous sins, such as a foolish contempt for others, a disregard of their needs or happiness, an absurd habit of boasting, a fretful spirit of grumbling, and so on.

How may I overcome pride if I am inclined to it? By thinking of the beautiful humility of the Son of God. By thinking of the folly of pride, and by considering how little cause we any of us have for thinking anything of ourselves at all.

By observing the ill-effects of pride, which dwarfs our moral nature, and renders the proud continually unhappy when, as is often the case, they do not receive quite so much admiration as they think they deserve.

By prayer for God’s grace that I may not think of myself more highly than I ought to think.

Prayer

Grant me this grace, O God, and be merciful unto me, I beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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catholic-bible-420x330

 

Selfishness is really at the root of sin. When we yield to temptation we do so that we may gratify ourselves. We may often gratify ourselves innocently, and when this is the case it is quite right that we should do as we wish. But when we cannot, and we know that we cannot, and yet feel inclined to do so, then we are tempted to do wrong. We either give way to the temptation and gratify ourselves, or we sacrifice our own inclinations an overcome it.

In God’s service, and that we may do His will, we are required to sacrifice only those things which we cannot but condemn. We are called to put duty in the place of self-gratification, and to ask ourselves on all occasions not, “What should I like to do?” but, “What ought I to do?” Although to follow such a course as this may require the sacrifice of our self-gratification now and then, yet it will issue in a deep and true sense of satisfaction and peace always. On the contrary, unlawful self-gratification must result in shame and sorrow.

Adam and Eve chose to gratify themselves. The tree was (1) good for food, (2) pleasant to the eye, and (3) a tree to be desired to make one wise. So they chose to ratify (1) the appetite; (2) the lust of the eye, and (3) intellectual pride, although they knew that they could not do so without disobeying the commandment of God, and hence came sin and death.

The life of the Lord Jesus Christ, on the contrary, was a perfectly unselfish life, and therefore it was a perfectly obedient life, and hence came righteousness and life. How hard He found it thus to sacrifice Himself that He might in all things obey. is attested by the vehemence with which he cast aside St. Peter’s suggestion that He should spare Himself, and by His agony in Gethsemane. But for Him there was peace when the conflict was over, and for Him now there is glory both in Heaven and on earth for evermore.

Prayer

O Lord Jesu Christ, help me to follow Thee, and always to put aside all that would hinder me from doing Thy holy will, I beseech Thee. Amen.

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Lent2

Sin is a great evil. Even in this life it is often its own punishment.  In the life to come, the consequences of it must be more terrible still. It is also hateful in itself, and we naturally condemn it. How hateful it is to God the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ reveals. Even the endurance of such a death was not too much to undergo in order, by means of it, to put away sin. By it the Holy Ghost also is grieved, and driven to depart from those He loves.

But how may I hope to overcome temptation?

  1. In the first place I shall need to be in earnest, to watch over myself, and to pray always for grace and help, that I may fight against it with all my might. In Holy Communion I must seek a closer union with Jesus Christ our Lord, who strengthens us.
  2. The thought of my Savior on the cross should also help me. Or if I am tempted to be proud, the thought of His lowliness should help me. If I am tempted to ill-temper, the thought of His patience and readiness to forgive should help me; or if to any form of sinful self-indulgence, the thought of His sacrifice of Himself for my sake should restrain me.
  3. If I have on hand some useful work, or some pleasant occupation which interests me, I shall perhaps thus avoid giving occasion to temptation.
  4. Cheerfulness will be of great advantage, and healthful recreations are of value also. When we are not cheerful we are thereby exposed to many temptations. When St. Paul enumerates the fruits of the Spirit he places love first, and joy next, because, if love is the law of the Christian life, joy is one of its chief safeguards. Boisterous mirth often produces a reaction of weariness or depression; but he who en­deavors to be always cheerful enjoys a brightness of spirit which is in itself joyous, and often a protec­tion also. The joy of the Lord is the strength of His people.

Prayer

O Holy Spirit, the Author in us of all love and all joy, sanctify me also, I beseech Thee, and grant me grace to overcome all sin. Amen.

 

 

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