How To Profit From Our Defects

from the Catholic Family Magazine, Australia

– Hello Father. Sorry for being so late but I had to wait for the babysitter to come so that I could leave the house. I am glad to be able to come tonight for our little talk.

– Well, the subject I want to talk to you about is one of the most important in the spiritual life. It is how we can and even should profit from our faults. I believe that a good understanding of this question is a tremendous help in order to maintain peace of soul and make progress in union with God.

– But, Father I thought that our faults were an obstacle on the way to perfection. What kind of profit can I draw from my weakness which causes me to fall everyday into so many sins of impatience? What sort of advantage can I obtain from my negligence which causes me to miss so many opportunities of little sacrifices?

Let me ask you one question: Have you made up your mind never to offend God deliberately? Are you sincerely seeking to obey His will in fulfilling your vocation of wife and mother?

If the answer is yes, then your faults should not be a source of sadness but an occasion to practice humility. St Theresa of the Child Jesus used to say: “I do not grieve in seeing that I am weakness itself. On the contrary, it is in this that I glory, and I expect each day to discover in myself new imperfections.”

She also wrote ” What does it matter to me to fall each moment? By that I feel my weakness and therein I find great profit.  My God, you see what I can do if You do not carry me in your arms!”

We have to realize that everything is either willed or permitted by God. In the designs of His providence, even our faults ought to serve for our sanctification. Alas, many good souls do not know how to cope with their defects. They are quickly discouraged at the sight of their misery, instead of making an act of humility.

St Paul says: “All things work together for the good of them that love God,” Yes, everything and St Augustine adds “even our sins”.

– I must admit, Father, that I often get frustrated at myself. I make good resolutions, and I cannot seem to be able to keep them! The other day I was pretty happy because I had found the time for a little bit of spiritual reading. I had also succeeded in remaining in the presence of God for most of the day.

And then in the evening, the twins started to fight in their room and I completely lost my temper with them. I yelled and screamed so loud that the neighbors next door must have heard me!

After this I felt so ashamed and angry with myself that I got depressed. When my husband came home, I am afraid he did not feel like talking to me since he saw that I was in a bad mood.

– Yes this is a good example of how the bad use we make of our faults does more damage to us than our faults themselves. Alas, it is our self-love which causes us to act this way.

I have myself the same problem. We priests also have to overcome our pride. You see, we should not get upset when we fall! I think we should rather be surprised that we do not fall more often.

We should also thank God for all the faults from which He preserves us. Let us not become troubled and agitated when we see ourselves so imperfect. We should always keep our peace of soul.

When we happen to commit a fault we should turn to God with humility and ask His forgiveness. And then we must never think about the fault again, until the time comes to mention it in confession.

– So you think it may be pride, Father, when I get discouraged at the sight of how little progress I make in the spiritual life?

– Yes, it is possible that your self-love causes you to desire to be exempt from imperfections and so you get upset when you realize that you are still committing many little faults every day.

God wants us to be humble. He needs this disposition in our souls in order to communicate to us His grace. This is why He often allows us to plagued with defects.

I think that, if we were to become perfect all of a sudden, it would make us very proud and it would cause our ruin.

God is a great and wise Master. Let Him do as He likes. He will not fail in His work of the sanctification of your soul. We should resolve never to willfully do anything that displeases Him.

But if, despite our goodwill, we fall into faults, let us rejoice in the humiliation into which these faults throw us. Once again, we should profit from our faults in order to destroy our self-complacency and give glory to our dear God.

– So Father, you think that my defects do not offend Our Lord? It really bothers me sometimes when I come to confession and I have the same faults to confess every month!

– I know your soul and I think that many of your faults are not deliberate. Let me take two examples. First Mrs. So-and-So is a real gossip and in the past when both of you were on the phone, you talked about your neighbors in an unkind way. So you perfectly know that she is an occasion of sin.

If one day you go ahead and call her on the phone and indulge in an uncharitable conversation, there is no doubt that you have committed a venial sin and hurt the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Second, Mrs. Such-and-Such is your good friend and one day she comes to visit you. During the conversation you both tell bits of news that you have learned about people (without previous malicious intention).

After she has left you realize that some of the things you revealed to her were unnecessary and may have caused such a person to decrease in her esteem. Well, it was not a deliberate sin on your part, but a fault of weakness.

Tell God that you are sorry and your act of humility will make up for whatever negligence there may have been and give glory to Him.

– Well, Father, I will follow your advice and ask Our Lord to give me humility of heart. if I see some good in me, I know it is from God and I will thank Him for it. If I see some evil, I know it is from me. I will not get discouraged but I will profit by it so as to humble myself.

– Good! And always remember what I told you before about the way of spiritual childhood. St Theresa teaches us to make ourselves as small as we can in our own eyes.

Look at little children. They often fall on the ground. But they do not hurt themselves because, so to speak, they never fall from any great height.

So also little souls. Their wounds are never very serious and they are healed as soon as they are wounded. Far from being a hindrance in the way of perfection, the experience of their faults makes them humble and is therefore an advantage.

St. Paul said “It is my weakness that makes all my strength.” Let us pray to God so that we may receive the grace of being like little children in His sight, humble and confident.

God bless you.

“The desired wife has developed her personality before marriage and continues that development during marriage. By personality here I mean beauty of soul and all those qualities and accomplishments which go to make a person interesting and sought after. Personality will carry a girl a great deal further in life than physical beauty. In fact, without personality, beauty often tires one in married life. Some girls are born with physical beauty. None are born with personality. They must develop and cultivate it all the days of their lives.” – Fr. Leo Kinsella, The Wife Desired, 1950’s (afflink)

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In Praise of UnMarried Women – Fr. Daniel A. Lord



Australian Catholic Truth Society 1950

Whatever literature may say about spinsters, and however much history may ignore them – except for outstanding spinsters like Elizabeth of England – the Church’s attitude toward unmarried women has been, from the first, one of reverence.

This I came to know when my faith emerged from mere youthful practice to intelligent study and appreciation. Among the Jews a spinster was merely an unfortunate girl not lucky enough to have won a husband for herself. Among the pagans she was usually the slave or bondmaiden, the grudgingly tolerated hanger-on in the house of her parents or her luckier married sisters.

With St. Paul all that was changed. He loved virginity, and he turned to the ministrations and loyalty – as many a parish has done since – of the splendid young and older unmarried women of his time. The legends of St. Paul and St. Tecla – whose name was the Greek word for pearl – are many and beautiful. Phoebe, to whom Paul sends affectionate messages, seems to have been one of the first consecrated Catholic virgins.


It was left for the great St. Paul, who could find for marriage no more appropriate comparison than that of the love which Christ bears for His Church (see Ephesians 5: 21-32), to speak almost the first words in praise of those who deliberately did not marry or who, for any good reasons, remained unmarried.

“But,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they so remain, even as I.” (1 Cor 7: 8)

Then he directs to men who remain unmarried and cherish their virginity strong praise that quite clearly he means for both men and women. For he continues: “I would have you free from care. He who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please God.

Whereas he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided. And the unmarried woman, and the virgin, thinks about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and in spirit. Whereas she who is married thinks about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (1 Cor 7: 32-34)


This was an astonishing teaching to people who had regarded virginity as rather a futile thing and the unmarried girl as the object of a none too gentle pity. Yet instantly the early Church, which loved the virgin Christ and the Virgin Mary and the beloved virgin John, took to heart the good advice. It is noteworthy that the virgin martyrs of those early days were not nuns in any modern sense. They had in some cases taken the veil of virginity at the hands of Peter or of Paul, but they lived at home, served the poor in the big cities, and, save for their intense concentration on the love of God and their neighbors, lived, as we would say, in the world.

Such was the young Agnes, the older Agatha, Cecilia, and half a dozen others forced into marriage against their will and carrying to God through martyrdom the glory of their virginity. They had detached themselves from the love of any man to give their whole love to the greatest of the sons of men.

They cared for their houses and were devoted to their parents. They ministered to the poor and at dawn or at dusk went to the catacombs for Mass and prayer. They were saintly spinsters, if you wish, or spinster saints. True, the pagan world regarded them as abnormal and queer and fit only for death. The Christians loved them unforgettably.


Their contribution to the early Church is beyond computation. They lived the purity that was supposed to characterize the religion of the Savior. They did the good works that He had listed as sign and proof of His followers.

They were personally the great correctives for the abuses of marriage and for the corruption of morals. They demonstrated with shining and spectacular force that it was possible for married couples to remain faithful since normal girls with all the normal desires and impulses could remain pure while unmarried.

They led along paths of maidenly modesty other girls who could not accept a lifetime of virginity, until premarital purity made them worthy to be mothers of the little sons and daughters of our God and Father.

The Church has never forgotten those first unmarried saints, the models of the millions who were to be the most distinctive and unique contribution of Christianity to world morality. Christian marriage would never have been possible without them. Christian virginity got its pattern from their unforgettable acceptance of Christ’s new purity.

It is not at all an exaggeration to say that the unmarried Catholic woman of the present can look upon herself as the legitimate successor to these virgins and martyrs of earliest Christian times. She may be proud of that association and conscious of the possibility within her to repeat in our generation their great contribution to life, love, and the decencies.


No doubt about it, the unmarried woman has the chance to win a reward exceeding great.

She is able daily to offer to God the beautiful perfume that is her virginal innocence. God loves her for that and honors her with the same kind of reverence that is due Mary. So do those of His followers who see life and measure values with a Christ-like eye.

If the cup of cold water given in Christ’s name wins eternal reward, what of the food and drink and clothes and housing that are provided by these generous women again and again and again?

May this saintly woman come very close to God. For there is no interfering love in her life. Those she loves, she loves unselfishly, almost without human reward but in the calm certainly that God is pleased by her life. “Whatsoever you do for the least of these my little ones, you do for me.”

The words of the Savior, tremendously reassuring, never fitted anyone more perfectly than they do Catholic teachers, Catholic nurses, Catholic businesswomen, and those sisters, daughters, and aunts who do and do and do – endlessly and without probability of repayment – for the sons and daughters of others – and of God.

The fine Catholic example of this kind of women has far more influence than she herself dreams.

Her laborious unselfishness is a constant rebuke to the greed and self-indulgence of the world. She is one of those unrecognized heroines whose work is never properly praised but is always effective to a degree that will be measured by celestial weights and measures.

She is a not unworthy successor of the holy women of the primitive Church who, with the Apostles and the doctors of the Church, taught a new way of life to humanity.


Nor can we forget the bright and inspiring vision of St. John. There upon the mount that is Sion he saw the Lamb of God surrounded by the specially honored one hundred and forty-four thousand, a mystical number embracing the vast host of those who will be nearest the Savior in eternity. Their closeness to the Savior, Saint John explains by one simple statement: “For they are virgins.” (See Rev 14:4)

Lift up your eyes, you heroines called spinsters! The Savior of the world loves you most especially and has a place for you in eternity in His own immediate company. It is a glorious certainty.

And if a certain group of spinsters will permit me to bring them back from those sublime heights to a more immediately grateful person . . . I thank you . . . and you . . . and you . . . and you . . . and all you others with whom it has been my happy privilege to be associated in a common enterprise during these many years. I know your holiness. I have felt your unselfishness. I know your shining beauty.

Surely my life has been made rich and full by the fact that I have counted you among my friends and partners in a work for the unmarried Christ and the Virgin Mary.



FF Quote for the Day
“Keep yourself at peace and in complete repose, never become upset and never trouble yourself about anything, forget the past, live as though the future does not exist, live for Jesus in every moment that you are living, or, better, live as though you have no life in yourself, but allow Jesus to live in you at His leisure; to walk thus, in all circumstances and in all encounters, without fear or worry as is becoming the children of Jesus and Mary; never think of yourself voluntarily; abandon the care of your soul to Jesus alone. Your soul belongs to Him. It is therefore up to Him to take care of it because it is His property. Generally speaking, banish all fear and replace this feeling with love; in all of this, act gently, sweetly, steadily, without haste, without anger. Walk in this fashion in all graciousness, abandonment and complete confidence.”-Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace of Heart
Finer Femininity is a small publication compiled to inspire Catholic women in their vocations. It consists of uplifting articles from authors with traditional values, with many of them from priests, written over 50 years ago. These anecdotes are timeless but, with the fast-paced “progress “of today’s world, the pearls within the articles are rarely meditated upon. This little magazine offers Catholic womankind support and inspiration as they travel that oftentimes lonely trail….the narrow road to heaven. The thoughts within the pages will enlighten us to regard the frequently monotonous path of our “daily duties” as the beautiful road to sanctity. Feminine souls need this kind of information to continue to “fight the good fight” in a world that has opposing values and seldom offers any kind of support to these courageous women. Inside the pages you will find inspiration for your roles as single women, as wives and as mothers. In between the thought-provoking articles, the pages are sprinkled with pictures, quotes and maybe even a recipe or two…
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