This excerpt was originally written for young women having to make their way in the world. It is beautiful, and reminds all of us to keep our eyes and our hearts set on the goal. This will help us to make good decisions and to embrace our crosses along the way…
All the advantage, all the good of a life of labor depends on your being faithful.
Two girls may be in equally good situations, yet one will be contented and happy and growing better every day, while the other will be always complaining and fretting, making herself and everybody else unhappy and getting more and more wicked.
Let us look into it and see the reason of all this difference.
These two girls are acting on very different principles. One looks first at this world in everything. Her mind is taken up with the idea of enjoying all the pleasure she can now. She is all the time studying the ease and comfort of the present moment.
As soon as any desire rises up in her heart she allows herself to be completely carried away by it, and God and religion have to stand in the background.
The other is in the habit of looking away from this world, and looking first at God. The question with her is: Is it right? Is it good for my soul? And not, how do I like it?
She takes a calm and holy pleasure in denying herself what is wrong or not good for her, because she knows that her soul is united more closely to God, her only real good, by so doing.
This is the reason of all the difference in their lives—why one is so happy and good, the other so unhappy and sinful; and this shows the necessity of having a right principle of conduct, a principle good enough, and broad enough, and strong enough to regulate all the actions of our life.
We cannot do better than lay down some such principle. St. Paul had such a ruling principle. He says: “I do not live any longer, but it is Christ that lives in me.” (Gal. ii. 20). He had Christ so firmly seated in his mind, he had it so much at heart to please Him, that he was able to say that he lived no longer for himself, but for Christ.
Here was his fixed principle: He would no longer live for himself, but for Jesus Christ. No doubt he used to say to himself on all occasions: “Remember, Paul, you are no longer to live for yourself, but for Christ ‘‘; and it was by acting on this principle that he arrived at such a high state of perfection.
In the same way, if you want to live a good life, you must take care to have some such principle, which shall have the upper hand in your soul and control your whole conduct.
It is no matter how it is expressed—whether one says, “It is better to lose the whole world than suffer the loss of the soul”; or “My only real happiness consists in serving God”; or “My meat and drink shall be to do the will of God”; or “I will look at God and His will first in all I do” or “All my desire is to please God and save my soul”… all these things mean really the same thing.
They mean only what our Savior meant when He said, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul,” or “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul.” (St. Mark viii. 36).
We need some such thought to sink deep in our minds, so deep that it may never be forgotten or lost sight of. Oh! My good girl, do not rest satisfied until you can repeat some such sentiment with your whole soul.
When St. Ignatius wanted to get St. Francis Xavier to devote himself to God he did it in this way. He saw St. Francis, at that time a worldly young man, who thought little of his soul, quite frequently, and managed at every interview to repeat the words: “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul.”
By and by they began to have their effect, and St. Francis said to himself: “Indeed, what will it profit me to gain all worldly distinction if I am lost?” He saw things in their true light, devoted himself to God heart and soul, and became a great saint.
So, my dear good girl, you must strive to possess and fill your soul with the grand principle of living for God, of wishing and striving to please and love God more and more. You must, as it were, keep your eyes fixed on this mark, that the sight of it may always afford you strength and courage.
Suppose a beautiful house, on a hill-top, surrounded by pleasant groves and gardens of flowers, could be placed in your sight, with the promise that it should be yours after a term of faithful service.
If you found that service getting tiresome, you would go to your window, look at that beautiful house, your courage would rise, and your labor would again become lightsome and easy.
So have in your mind’s eye the love of the Savior, that great treasure which will make you rich for all eternity, have it always ready to look at, and I will warrant that all the troubles of life, and all the mischances that may happen to you, cannot hinder your soul from rejoicing at the glorious prospects before you.
Would that we could always bear this in mind! But the trouble is, and I may say the only trouble is, that it is so often forgotten ; either lost sight of altogether over time, or seen only so dimly and indistinctly that it appears like a dream and has little or no effect on the mind.
Yes, it is very true; this glorious prospect can always be kept in view if we will, and yet it is often, very often lost from sight.
Now, I do not want you to lose sight of it, if others do. Your whole spiritual life, goodness, and happiness depend upon your not losing sight of it. Therefore, you must, like a prudent person, consider within yourself what means you will take to keep it always in view.
“If you accept a man at face value, is there any hope he will change? He may not, and you need to accept this fact. But in a miraculous way, when you accept him at face value, he is more likely to change. The only hope that a man will change is for you to not try to change him. Others may try to teach him and offer suggestions, but the woman he loves must accept him for the man he is, and look to his better side.” – Helen Andelin
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Sermon on the symbolism of the advent wreath & Christ…
Mortification means ‘to make dead’. It is the struggle against our evil inclinations in order to subject them to the will, and our will to God. By mortification we establish the right order of all our faculties and prepare ourselves for a higher life. Advent is a time when we should practice mortification (a small Lent). During Advent, we also reflect upon the death of the world. The destruction of this world helps strike holy fear into our hearts and reminds all that man can’t construct a heaven upon earth, but must rather die to the gluttony, lust, pride and anger so prevalent in this world. The better we observe Advent, the more joyous our Christmas will be….
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