Prayers & Reflections
The Year of St. Joseph Prayer
Ad te, beate Ioseph: To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also. Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by His Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities. O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from Heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness. As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in Heaven. Amen. by Pope Leo XIII in his 1889 encyclical, Quamquam Pluries.
Boasting only in our Lord “The wise man must not boast of his wisdom, nor the strong man of his strength, nor the rich man of his riches. What then is the right kind of boasting? What is the source of man’s greatness? Scripture says: The man who boasts must boast of this, that he knows and understands that I am the Lord. Here is man’s great-ness, here is man’s glory and majesty: to know in truth what is great, to hold fast to it, and to seek glory from the Lord of glory. The Apostle tells us: The man who boasts must boast of the Lord. He has just said: Christ was appointed by God to be our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written, a man who boasts must boast of the Lord. Boasting of God is perfect and complete when we take no pride in our own righteousness but acknowledge that we are utterly lacking in true righteousness and have been made righteous only by Faith in Christ. Paul boasts of the fact that he holds his own righteousness in con-tempt and seeks the righteousness in Faith that comes through Christ and is from God. He wants only to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and to have fellowship with His sufferings by taking on the likeness of His death, in the hope that somehow he may arrive at the resurrection of the dead. Here we see all overweening pride laid low. Humanity, there is nothing left for you to boast of, for your boasting and hope lie in putting to death all that is your own and seeking the future life that is in Christ. Since we have its first fruits we are already in its midst, living entirely in the grace and gift of God. It is God who is active within us, giving us both the will and the achievement, in accordance with His good purpose. Through His Spirit, God also reveals His wisdom in the plan He has preordained for our glory. God gives power and strength in our labors. I have toiled harder than all the others, Paul says, but it is not I but the grace of God, which is with me. God rescues us from dangers beyond all human expectation. We felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death, so that we might not trust ourselves but in God, who raises the dead; from so great a danger did He deliver us, and does deliver us; we hope in Him, for He will deliver us again.” (From a homily by Saint Basil the Great, bishop)
Our Life, our Sweetness, our Hope!
“The Kingdom of Mercy would be of no use if there were none who needed mercy; because it would be a kingdom without sub-jects. “Who are the subjects of mercy,” asks St. Bernard, “if not the miserable?” The Kingdom of Mary, Queen of Mercy, is immense, and extends over the whole earth; because the whole earth is full of miseries. But of all miseries, the greatest is sin; of all who are miserable, the most miserable are sinners. Over these, more than all others, does Mary, the Queen of Mercy, exercise her power and command. These are the subjects who most of all oppress her heart, and em-ploy all her cares, all her thoughts, and all her authority, in order to liberate them from their extreme miseries and render them happy and blessed, provided they only desire it. These are the most precious gems of her royal crown. Come from Lebanon, my spouse; come from Lebanon, come, says the Holy Spirit, her Spouse. You shall be crowned…from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of the leopards (Sg 4:8). Why should her crown be so monstrous, so horrible, composed of lions, of leopards, tigers, and wild beasts? These monsters, these wild beasts, are the bright gems in the crown of the Queen of Mercy, for these monsters and these wild beasts are sinners, whom Mary has converted and saved. “You shall be crowned from the dens of these lions,” says Rupert the Abbot, “for their salvation shall be your crown.” St. Gertrude once saw this most merciful Lady with her mantle spread out, and under it lions, bears, tigers, and many other wild beasts, who were gathered together and protected by Mary, with the greatest kindness; and the saint understood that those wild beasts were sinners, not yet lost, on whom Mary exercises her most tender compassion.” Dom roberto, ER. CAM. (Dom Roberto was a 17th-century Camaldolese hermit at Monte Corona in Italy. Taken from The Love of Mary: Readings for the Month of May. © 1984, TAN Books, Charlotte, NC)
Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that Thy Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.
Act of Hope
O my God, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Act of Charity (Love)
O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.
Prayer to the Virgin Mary:
My Queen, my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self without reserve. As I am your own, my good Mother, guard me and defend me as your property and possession. Amen.
Prayer is the light of the soul
Prayer and converse with God is a Supreme Good: it is a partnership and union with God. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by His Infinite Light. I do not mean the prayer of outward observance but prayer from the heart, not confined to fixed times or periods, but continuous throughout the day and night. Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God, and call Him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s Love, and so make a palatable offering to the Lord of the universe. Throughout the whole of our lives we may enjoy the benefit that comes from prayer if we devote a great deal of time to it. Prayer is the light of the spirit, true knowledge of God, mediating between God and man. The spirit, raised up to Heaven by prayer, clings to God with the utmost tenderness; like a child crying tearful-ly for its mother, it craves the milk that God provides. It seeks the satisfaction of its own desires, and receives gifts outweighing the whole world of nature. Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart. I speak of prayer, not words. It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by man but by God’s grace. The Apostle Paul says: We do not know how we are to pray but the Spirit Himself pleads for us with inexpressible longings. When the Lord gives this kind of prayer to someone, He gives him riches that cannot be taken away, heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. One who tastes this food is set on fire with an eternal longing for the Lord: His Spirit burns as in a fire of the utmost intensity. Practice prayer from the beginning. Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility. Make it radiant with the light of justice. Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds. Adorn it with the walls and stones of Faith and generosity. Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer. In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord. You will be able to receive Him as in a splendid palace, and through His grace you will already possess Him, His image enthroned in the temple of your spirit. From a homily by St. John Chrysostom
The Truth of the Cross
“The Catholic Church glories in every deed of Christ. Her supreme glory, however, is the Cross. Well aware of this, Paul says: God forbid that I glory in anything but the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! At Siloam, there was a sense of wonder, and rightly so: a man born blind recovered his sight. But of what importance is this, when there are so many blind people in the world? Lazarus rose from the dead, but even this affected only Lazarus: what of those countless numbers who have died because of their sins? Those miraculous loaves fed five thousand people; yet this is a small number compared to those all over the world who were starved by ignorance. After eighteen years a woman was freed from the bondage of Satan; but are we not all shackled by the chains of our own sins? For us all, however, the Cross is the crown of victory. It has brought light to those blinded by ignorance. It has released those enslaved by sin. Indeed, it has redeemed the whole of mankind! Do not, then, be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; rather, glory in it. Although it is a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, the message of the Cross is our salvation. Of course it is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it was not a mere man who died for us, but the Son of God, God made man. In the Mosaic law a sacrificial lamb banished the destroyer. But now it is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Will He not free us from our sins even more? The blood of an animal, a sheep, brought salvation. Will not the Blood of the only-begotten Son bring us greater salvation? He was not killed by violence, He was not forced to give up His life: His was a willing sacrifice. Listen to His own words: I have the power to lay down my life and take it up again. Yes, He willingly submitted to His own passion. He took joy in His achievement; in His crown of victory He was glad and in the salvation of man He rejoiced. He did not blush at the Cross, for by it He was to save the world. No, it was not a lowly man who suffered, but God incarnate. He entered the contest for the reward He would win by His patient endurance. Certainly in times of tranquility the Cross should give you joy. But maintain the same Faith in times of persecution. Otherwise you will be a friend of Jesus in times of peace and His enemy during war. Now you receive the forgiveness of your sins and the generous gift of grace from your King. When war comes, fight courageously for Him. Jesus never sinned; yet He was crucified for you. Will you refuse to be crucified for Him, who for your sake was nailed to the Cross? You are not the one who gives the favor; you have received one first. For your sake He was crucified on Golgotha. Now you are returning His favor: you are fulfilling your debt to Him.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem (From the Instructions to Catechumens)
All our love must be for God:
“No one who is in love with himself is capable of loving God. The man who loves God is the one who mortifies his self-love for the sake of the immeasurable blessings of Divine Love. Such a man never seeks his own glory but only the glory of God. If a person loves himself he seeks his own glory, but the man who loves God loves the glory of his Creator. Anyone alive to the love of God can be recognized from the way he constantly strives to glorify Him by fulfilling all His commandments and by delighting in his own abasement. Because of His great majesty it is fitting that God should receive glory, but if he hopes to win God’s favor it becomes man to be humble. If we possess this love for God, we too will rejoice in His glory as St. John the Baptist did, and we shall never stop repeating: His fame must increase, but mine must diminish… Anyone who loves God in the depths of his heart has already been loved by God. In fact, the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him. When this awareness is keen it makes whoever possesses it long to be enlightened by the Divine Light, and this longing is so intense that it seems to penetrate his very bones. He loses all consciousness of himself and is entirely transformed by the love of God. Such a man lives in this life and at the same time does not live in it, for although he still inhabits his body, he is constantly leaving it in spirit because of the love that draws him toward God. Once the love of God has released him from self-love, the flame of Divine Love never ceases to burn in his heart and he remains united to God by an irresistible longing. As the Apostle says: If we are taken out of ourselves it is for the love of God; if we are brought back to our senses it is for your sake.” - from the Treatise On Spiritual Perfection by Diadochus of Photice, Bishop
Love and True Prayer:
“Our Spouse is a Doctor of Love who follows us and cures, as they occur, the little injuries of the journey. Our dispositions change quite often, but our love must not change, and the needle of our compass must be always turned toward the north of Divine Love. What do all our feelings and beautiful thoughts amount to? Nothing, absolutely nothing… Let us just remain in peace, our eyes fixed upon the holy mountain whence comes our help. Look at Jesus and love Him, that is all. It is Heaven on earth, before being Heaven above. Recently a tiny shellfish gave me a lesson in interior recollection. I had difficulty in opening it because it resisted strongly, and I said to myself: “It is quite a vigorous little creature; no one would think it is so far from the sea.” It taught me a great lesson. I must be sufficiently filled with the water of recollection to resist as strongly as he did the pressure of work and various happenings of the day, anything that could make me lose the drop of water which makes possible my union with God…True prayer, unending and indispensable prayer, is fidelity to the lights that Jesus may give us whenever He wants to do so… That is what I understand by prayer, and to me it does not look difficult; it seems as easy as breathing fresh air. That is familiar to us, it is our particular grace, it was the particular grace of the Holy Family in Nazareth and Jesus in His public life. My Father never leaves me alone, because I do always the things that please Him, Jesus said. Let us then try always to please our heavenly Father so as always to enjoy His presence.” Mother Agnes of Jesus, O.C.D. (Mother Agnes was the sister of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and prioress at the Carmel of Lisieux for over 50 years.)
Honoring the Immaculate Conception
“Would that I could fully express the thoughts that, in His goodness, God has granted to me on the subject of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, so that the true understanding that I possess of her merits and the desire that I have to render her fitting homage may remain always in my heart… The most pure body of the Blessed Virgin is a worthy dwelling place for the soul that God created for her. Both are agreeable to God because, from the moment of her Pure Conception, both have been enriched by the merits of the death of her Son. As into a very precious vessel, more and more graces have been poured into her soul and she has never failed to make good use of them. Therefore, with every good reason, she should be honored by all creatures and served in a particular way by Christians since she is the only pure creature who has always found favor in the eyes of God. This makes her the astonishment of the heavenly court and the admiration of all humanity.
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin leads us to realize and to adore the omnipotence of God because grace totally vanquished nature in her. She was saved without ever having been lost, not only through mercy but also through justice, since this was essential for the Incarnation of the Son of God in the eternal plan for the Redemption of mankind. We must, therefore, honor this Holy Conception that made her so precious in the eyes of God and believe that [we can] receive the assistance of the Blessed Virgin in all our needs. This is so because it seems to me that it would be impossible for God to refuse her anything. His divine and loving glance never left her since she always lived according to His Will. Therefore, we must be convinced that He is always ready to grant whatever she requests because she asks for nothing that is not for His glory and our good.” St. Louise de Marillac (St. Louise de Marillac (+1660) was the co-founder, with St. Vincent de Paul, of the Daughters of Charity)
Archdiocesan Synod Prayer to St Joseph
Year of St Joseph— December 8, 2020 – December 8, 2021
who gave St. Joseph to Jesus and Mary
as protector and guide,
grant that our Archdiocesan Synod,
under his protection and guidance,
may help us discern your direction for our
May we listen as he listened,
trust as he trusted,
obey as he obeyed,
receive as he received,
love as he loved,
and share in his life of devotion to Jesus and Mary. Amen. St. Joseph, pray for us. archspm.org/synod/stjoseph
2021 Novena for Life
The Saint Padre Pio Knights of Columbus are inviting all parishioners to join in the 2021 Novena for Life, which begins on January 21st. The Knights are firmly committed to defending the right to life of every human being – from conception to natural death. Please join us in bolstering this fundamental right through 9 days of prayer, focusing on building a culture of life in our parish, homes and community. Additional information on the Novena for Life may be found at
Daily Prayer Intentions
Day 1: May the tragic practice of abortion end.
Day 2: May all unborn children be protected in law and welcomed in love.
Day 3: May every expectant mother receive compassionate care and support as she nurtures the life in her womb.
Day 4: May expectant fathers lovingly support the mothers of their children in welcoming new life.
Day 5: May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope and healing in Christ.
Day 6: May expectant mothers choosing adoption receive grace and support in embracing this loving option.
Day 7: May all who support or participate in abortion experience a conversion of heart to seek and receive the Lord’s boundless mercy.
Day 8: May civic leaders work for the protection of all human life, in every stage and circumstance.
Day 9: May all who defend life find strength and renewal in the Holy Spirit.
Consecration to the Holy Family
O Lord Jesus, you lived in the home of Mary and Joseph in Nazareth. There you grew in age, wisdom and grace as you prepared to fulfill your mission as our Redeemer. W e entrust our family to you. O Blessed Mary, you are the Mother of our Savior. At Nazareth you cared for Jesus and nurtured him in the peace and joy of your home. W e entrust our family to you. O Saint Joseph, you provided a secure and loving home for Jesus and Mary, and gave us a model of fatherhood while showing us the dignity of work. We entrust our family to you. O Holy Family, we consecrate ourselves and our family to you. May we be completely united in a love that is lasting, faithful and open to the gift of new life. Help us to grow in virtue, to forgive one another from our hearts, and to live in peace all our days. Keep us strong in Faith, persevering in prayer, diligent in our work, and generous toward those in need. May our home, O Holy Family, truly become a domestic church where we reflect your example in our daily life. Amen. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!
All For the Glory of God!
As soon as a good Christian awakens in the morning, he should… profess the Most Holy Trinity, three Persons in one sole God, which Christians alone truthfully and faithfully profess when they bless themselves with the words: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. [Then he should] profess Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, by reciting the Creed and by firmly and faithfully believing without any doubt that which contains all our Catholic Faith... True God! I freely and from my heart, as a good and faithful Christian, profess the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three Persons in one God. I firmly believe, without doubting, all that our Holy Mother the Church of Rome believes and teaches. I promise to live and die as a true Christian in the holy Catholic Faith of my Lord Jesus Christ. And if I should not be able to speak at the hour of my death, I now, for when I shall die, acknowledge with all my heart my Lord Jesus Christ as the only Son of God... I ask you, my Lord Jesus Christ, to give me the grace to keep the Ten Commandments today, during this day, and during all the time of my life. I ask you, my Lady Saint Mary, that you intercede for me with your blessed Son Jesus Christ, so that He may give me the grace today, during this day, and during all the time of my life, to keep these Ten Commandments. I ask you, my Lord Jesus Christ, to forgive me the sins which I have committed today, during this day, and during all the time of my life... I ask you my Lady Saint Mary, Queen of Angels, to obtain pardon for me from your blessed Son Jesus Christ for the sins which I have committed today, during this day, and during all the time of my life. St. Francis Xavier (St. Francis Xavier (+1552) was a great Spanish Jesuit missionary to Asia.)
Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of Lisieux, Carmelite
O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart, where none may touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Your Precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the Priesthood. Let Your holy Love surround them and shield them from the world’s contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in Heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.
Renewal of Baptismal Promises
V. Do you reject Satan? R. I do. V. And all his works? R. I do. V. And all his empty promises? R. I do. V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth? R. I do. V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? R. I do. V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? R. I do. V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May He also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever. R. Amen.
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord: This is a perfect day to remember and renew our baptismal vows and to thank God for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through Baptism!
Renewal of Baptismal Promises
V. Do you reject Satan? R. I do. V. And all his works? R. I do. V. And all his empty promises? R. I do. V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth? R. I do. V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? R. I do. V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? R. I do. V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May He also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever. R. Amen.
Prayer for Spiritual Communion:
My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally in the Most Holy Eucharist, please come at least spiritually into my heart now. I spiritually embrace You and choose to unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You and Your Love. Thank You, Jesus! I love You!
Prayer for the New Year
Dear Lord Jesus, Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we pray that this New Year will bring us closer to You. May we take the time to get to know You. Help us to truly celebrate the gifts You have graciously given us and use them to serve You and spread Your word. May we also see and love you in all the people we meet, so that in turn, they can see You in us. We know that all human relationships take time if they are to become stronger. This is also true of our relationship with You, the Father and the Holy Spirit, which You desire to have grow throughout our lives. In this new year, grant us the grace to realize that every action of ours, no matter how small or great enables us to grow in friendship with You. Help us accept You into our lives, as the Way, that shows we loyal friends to You; as the Truth, to be courageously shared; as the Life, to be lived as a sign to the world; as the Light, to expel the darkness of our world; as the Love, to open the hearts of others; as the Joy, that consoles and strengthens our souls; as the Peace, that the world cannot give and only You can; as the Sacrifice, to be offered our of love for You, our relatives, friends, neighbors and all people. Amen.
Your Soul: Designed To Be A Temple for Prayer
“Besides the material temple where the Lord wants to receive the homage of our prayers, Jesus has another spiritual temple, where He wants to be honored, and this is our heart… It must be the sanctuary of the Lord. There, His praises must resound, and fervent acts of love and constant prayer must rise to Heaven like perfumed incense. Woe to us if we dare to profane it… Might not our heart become a den of thieves, if we let worldly and natural affections, attachments to worldly vanities and things enter, while, as true Temples of God, we should only let in holy thoughts and affections and let Jesus reign as absolute master, while throwing out all those who would want to come in and take control? If you sometimes find yourself so troubled and disturbed that you cannot find peace, turn immediately to prayer and persevere in it, in imitation of Jesus Christ our Lord, who prayed three times in the garden, to show us that prayer must always be our recourse and refuge. Thus as much as you feel saddened and faint-hearted, you must not distance yourself from prayer, until your will is conformed to God’s, and, consequently, is fervent and peaceful and at the same time entirely quickened and undaunted in order to accept and embrace what you formerly feared and abhorred. Unite your prayer to that of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament and offer God the action of your Divine Spouse Jesus, to make reparation for every defect and loss of time that you have committed; unite your praise to that of Jesus and, uniting yourself to His Holy Intentions, offer them to the Divine Father in place of your own.” Blessed Clelia Merloni - Blessed Clelia Merloni († 1930) founded the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart.
Rejoice in this Grace – From a Sermon by St. Augustine
“Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man. You would have suffered eternal death, had He not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had He not taken on Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this Mercy. You would never have returned to life, had He not shared your death. You would have been lost if He had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, had He not come. Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which He who is the great and eternal Day came from the great and endless Day of eternity into our own short day of time. He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord. Let us then rejoice in this Grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says: He is my glory, the One who lifts up my head. For what greater Grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make His only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become son of God? Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and see whether you will find any other answer but sheer Grace.”
From a reflection by Father Jean du Caeur de Jesus d’Elbee
We have a tendency to become obsessed by the faults of those around us. That is understandable: it is their faults which make us suffer and this suffering in turn reminds us of them continually… Faults are ugly. Why not look at the virtues which are beautiful?... The good inten-tions of others so often escape our notice. Do not judge intentions. I assure you, it has happened to me that, having ascribed a bad inten-tion to someone, I have later had proof, neat and clear, that I was wrong, that he had something completely different in mind than what I thought. What a lesson! As much as you can, ascribe good intentions to your neighbor. (I say “as much as you can,” because at times, of course, the contrary is as plain as daylight.)… Little St. Therese wrote, “When I want to increase in myself my love of neighbor, especially when the devil tries to put before the eyes of my soul the faults of this or that sister who is less appealing to me, I hasten to seek out her virtues, her good desires. I tell myself that if I have seen her fall one time, she may well have undergone a great many victories that she hides through humility, and that even what appears as a fault to me could very well be an act of virtue because of the intention. Ah, I understand now that perfect charity consists of enduring the faults of others, of not being at all astonished at their weaknesses, of being edified by the smallest acts of virtue which on sees them practice.”… Obviously you are not expected to experience the same feelings in your heart toward a friend and toward someone who wishes you evil… There are even holy kinds of anger. But always remember that nothing troubles hearts, nothing troubles Jesus in us like dissen-sion and discord. Nothing is more directly opposed to Him… No one is completely in control of his first reactions, but you must rec-ollect yourselves very quickly. “To pardon an injustice received is to heal the wound in your own heart,” said Saint Vincent de Paul.