Thus the Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Mary's and meditating on her tears and sorrows...Saint Bridget
From Signs and Wonders of Our Times, Second Quarter 1997
1. Satan tempts us to resent other people, especially those we dislike, and to be jealous of other's success. In this way we are much less likely to do good to others, and much more likely to sin against them.
In contrast, Jesus says, "Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors; this will prove that you are children of your heavenly Father" (Mt. 5:44-45). Feelings of resentment and jealousy are never from God, but only from the devil-- so we must resist or ignore them whenever they come to us.
2. When we've decided to something morally good, Satan will suggest we delay acting on our good impulses; he hopes that we'll later change our minds or forget what we are going to do. If idle hands are the devil's workshop, procrastination is one of his favorite tools.
In contrast, Jesus said, "Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the kingdom of God" (Lk. 9:62)-- in other words, once we've made a good decision, we must follow through on it.
3. Whenever we have done a good deed, Satan wants us to feel superior and self-satisfied; whenever we succeed in something, Satan wants us to be proud of ourselves. This sort of pride greatly lessens the spiritual value of our good deeds.
Jesus made this point in His story about the Pharisee who followed all the rules, but whose pride made him unacceptable to God (Lk.18:9-14) as Our Lord said, "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled."
4. Satan will do everything possible to keep us from being humble, for he knows that humility allows God's grace to work within us. The devil will tempt us to pride and try to make us believe that because God is so "pleased" with us, we are obviously better and more important than other people. For example he may suggest that you are holier than most Catholics because you belong to a prayer group, etc. Pride has a way of allowing the devil to disarm many of our spiritual weapons.
That's what St. Peter says, "In your relations with one another, clothe yourselves with humility, because God "is stern with the arrogant but to the humble He shows kindness. Bow humbly under God's mighty hand, so that in due time He may lift you high."
5. If we resist Satan's attacks by remaining humble, he will continue attacking us--by trying to make us proud of how humble we are! The devil never gives up; he'll even try to use our spiritual victories against us, so we must be careful and rely on God's strength, not our own.
As the Letter to the Ephesians tells us, salvation "is not your own doing, it is God's gift; neither is it a reward for anything you have accomplished, so let no one pride himself on it." (Eph. 2:8-9)
6. When we're trying to decide what to do in a difficult moral decision, Satan will try to make us afraid of what might happen if we do the right thing. For example, if you stick up for the Church when people are criticizing it, you will become a target of ridicule yourself. The devil can sometimes cause us to imagine unpleasant possibilities and results--but we must ignore these things as much as possible.
As St. Peter says, "Who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good?...Do not be afraid or terrified with fear..but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts."
7. Satan wants us to deny our sins and to refuse to admit our need for mercy. In this way, we will not seek God's forgiveness, and the devil will have an easier time drawing us more deeply into sin. To prevent this, we must be completely honest with ourselves and with God. It helps to have a spiritual director or regular confessor who can help us recognize our moral blind spots.
As the Book of Proverbs says, "He who conceals his sins does not prosper but he who confesses and forsakes them obtains mercy." (Prv. 28:13)
8. When we are bothered by temptations, Satan wants us to believe they are too powerful to resist and that they will not go away until we give in; in this way he keeps us from holding out and from using the grace God offers.
We must resist the devil's attacks by asking Jesus for strength and by believing that He will help us. As stated in the Letter to the Hebrews, "Since Jesus was Himself tested through what He suffered, He is able to help those who are tempted." (Heb. 2:18)
9. If we hesitate to give in to a tempation, the devil will try to convince us that it is no big deal, suggesting that "everyone is doing it", or "God does not really care," or "you owe it to yourself to find out what it is like."
Satan wants us to get into the habit of sinning, but God wants us to develop the habit of resisting temptations--even little ones. As Jesus says, "Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin." (Jn. 8:3-4). Rather than letting ourselves be enslaved, we must find freedom in Christ.
10. If we feel guilty after we have sinned, Satan wants us to feel so guilty we are afraid to ask God for forgiveness. In this way the devil can keep us imprisoned in our sins, and gradually gain more control over us.
God however, wants us to turn to Him and ask for forgiveness, no matter how terrible or frequent our sins might be. He is eager to be reconciled with us, and as Jesus says, "There will be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent." (Lk. 15:7)
(From his "Collected Writings")
APPRECIATION: To know is to appreciate. God Himself can be appreciated and loved, only inasmuch as He is know
ATHEISM: Atheism is the very climax of intellectual stupidity, or moral insanity, or diabolically devilish perversity. The height of insanity is not to believe in God, for only a fool says in his heart that there is no God when the heavens and the earth proclaim His glory. Atheism robs man of supernatural hope - the very soul of happiness.
BITTERNESS: We are never justified in being "bitter" toward anyone except ourselves. In very deed, if we were only one tenth as appreciative as we have every reason to be, our gratitude for what God has done for us, directly and through His creatures, most especially through our immediate superiors, would be such that we would be perfectly content with what we are and what we have.
BURDENS OF MINISTRY: Sometimes of course it becomes monotonous and extremely boring, till one is nearly collapsing, but in such case, it helps to remember that even when Jesus was about to fall the third time, he patiently consoled women folk and children of his persecutors, making no exceptions.
CHRISTIAN LIFE: We are Christians only in as far as we believe in Jesus and keep His word.
CONVERSION: Only in heaven can we be satisfied as being fully and really converted. Pray for the conversion of sinners, including poor Father Solanus.
CROSSES: Crosses are the best school wherein to learn appreciation for the love of Jesus crucified. If we only try to show the dear Lord good will and ask Him for resignation to the crosses He sends or permits to come our way, we may be sure that sooner or later they will turn out to have been just so many blessings in disguise.
DEATH: Death is the climax of all humiliation, when we must finally give up all and turn all over to God. Death can be very beautiful, like a wedding, if we make it so.
DISTRACTIONS IN PRAYER: Do such distractions displease the Good God? For myself, I do not think that they do. I would answer, as I have occasionally done now and then to assure scrupulous souls: No, Jesus is no crank. He knows that we are not angels, but poor sinners.
THE EUCHARIST: How often I regret that daily Holy Communion was not recommended when we were young. I fell now that we missed so much that would have strengthened us against the dangers and temptations of youth.
GOD'S GRACE: Were we only to correspond to God's graces, continually being showered down on everyone of us, we would be able to pass from being great sinners one day to being great saints the next. We are continually immersed in God's merciful grace like the air that permeates us.
GOD'S TIMING: God, who loves tiny beginnings, will know as He always does know, how and when to provide developments
GRATITUDE: Gratitude is the first sign of a thinking, rational creature. Be sure, if the enemy of our souls is pleased at anything in us, it is ingratitude of whatever kind. Why? ingratitude leads to so many breaks with God and our neighbor.
HOLINESS: As manifested in the lives of the saints, if we strive and use the means God has given us, we too can ascend to great sanctity and to astonishing familiarity with God, even here as pilgrims to the Beatific Vision.
HOPE: Hope, the very soul of happiness, on this side of heaven.
HUMAN COMMUNITY: How merciful is the Good God in making us dependent on one another.
HUMILITY: If you can honestly humble yourself, your victory is won.
JUSTICE: Disregard for the claims of justice, under whatever pretext, has always been a manifestation to say the very least, of shallow thinking, or rather, a betrayal of real thinking. Only loves of justice and truth can possess the Kingdom of Heaven, and to be children of God we must be lovers of justice, truth and peace.
LIVING IN THE PRESENT: Man's greatness lies in being faithful to the present moment. We must be faithful to the present moment or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives.
MARRIAGE: Marriage should be held as it ought to be, and is, as something sacred, to be prepared for with purity and holiness of heart and embraced in a Christian manner. Those who embrace it should do so determined to bear the burdens of the holy state they enter. They should remember that their duties and privileges are one and the same and must be taken as such if peace is to reign in the individual soul, in the family, and in human society.
MARY, THE BLESSED VIRGIN: Mary is our Mother because she has given Jesus wholly to us, human and divine. There is no one else on earth or in heaven that God Himself loves as He loves His ever Virgin Immaculate Mother and wishes her to be known and loved.
PARENTHOOD: God has give a specially beautiful coloring to the love of those whose privilege it is to have become earnest and faithful parents. To raise children for God and society, is manifestly-pleasing to God. And this, whether by natural or adoption (seemingly quite a matter of indifference to Him).
PEACE: Peace is the outstanding characteristic of charity. They accompany each other and must begin if really genuine, between God and the individual soul. For the individual, peace is not possible except in the willing service of his creator.
PENANCE: God knows as no one else knows how we all and each need penance. God knows we need humiliations whereby we can foster humility. Hence in His love, He never fails to provide occasions for each one to practice penance.
PROVIDENCE: God's plans are always for the best: always wonderful. But most especially for the patient and the humble who trust in Him are His plans unfathomably holy and sublime. There is a little verse I am sure will profit you to keep in mind and ought to help you foster confidence in God: "God condescends to use our powers, if we don't spoil His plans by ours."
REASON FOR LIFE: Life is to live and life is to give and talents to use for good if you chose. Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your task. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which as come to you by the grace of God.
RELIGION: The only science that gives purpose to every other science is the science of Religion. Religion is the science of our happy relationship with and our providential dependence on God and on our neighbor. Religion is the science of saving souls.
RESIGNATION: How wonderful the ways of the Good God, when we foster confidence in Him by just leaving at least something that seems important for Him to take care of.
SACRIFICES: Sacrifices willingly made for God's sake are always a small sacrifice for the results sure to follow. Deo Gratias!
SUFFERING: We do well to remember how short, after all, it is till our suffering and our time of merit will be over. Let us offer everything therefore to the divine Spouse of souls, that we may accept it as helping Him to save immortal souls, our own included.
THANKING GOD: Let us thank Him at all times and under whatever circumstances. Thank Him for our creation and our existence. Thank Him for everything, for His plans in the past that by our sins and our want of appreciation and patience have so often been frustrated and that He so often found necessary to change. Let us thank Him for all His plans for the future, for trials and humiliations for as well as great joy and consolations, for sickness and whatever death He may deign to plan.
Therefore, we should thank Him frequently, for not only the blessing of the past and present, but thank Him ahead of time for whatever He foresees is pleasing to Him that we suffer. We should do this only in general but in each particular case.
THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES: Like the Holy Trinity, Faith, Hope and Charity are one. Theoretically, Faith like the Eternal Father, comes first, but in both cases they are essentially one.
TOLERANCE: Be as blind to the faults of your neighbor as possible, trying at least to attribute a good intention to their actions
TRUST IN GOD: In my opinion, there is hardly anything else that the enemy of our soul, that is Satan, dreads more than confidence, humble confidence in God. Confidence in God is the very soul of prayer.
VOCATIONAL HAPPINESS: We should be grateful for and love the vocation to which God has called us. This applies to very vocation because after all, what a privilege it is to serve God even in the least capacity.
WEAKNESSES: The weaknesses we experience are naturally providential guards against one of the very greatest dangers to holiness, pride.
WORK OF HUMANITY: In His divine economy, God has honored His creatures, most especially rational ones, by giving them each according to his ability a part of His own work to do, by participation in His own divine activity.
WORRY: Shake off excessive worry and exercise a little confidence in God's providence. Last Year it was something that you now smile about. Tomorrow it's about something that will not be serious if you raise your heart to God and thank Him for whatever comes. How merciful the Good God is, always fitting the back to the burden if not vice-versa, as often is the case.
This page was last updated on June 8, 2006.
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