“Fight all error, but do it with good humour, patience and kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.” St. John Cantius
I am not so familiar with St. John Cantius and some of the others of whom I will be writing about, but each one struck me in a certain way today. A few days ago, it was the anniversary of my father’s death. It was a hard day to continue work and be present at mass. I was quite distracted. I tried my best. I thought about how much my father gave our family and how much he is remembered. Moreover, I also thought about all the good things we did together before he died. He died a believer which was most important to my mom and me.
“Sorrow for sin is indeed necessary, but it should not be an endless preoccupation. You must dwell also on the glad remembrance of God’s loving-kindness; otherwise, sadness will harden the heart and lead it more deeply into despair." St. Bernard
Whenever I can, I try to visit the Carmelite Sisters near my home. I cannot go when I want so I ask permission if it is possible to come. Talking to them about faith and experiences is like an ointment. They have such wise words for me, and I am sure it comes from prayer. My dad’s words came from experience, and he was quite wise. However, the sisters are my friends, but I am sure their wisdom comes from an avid prayer life. The drive home made me reflect on a couple of saints. St. Monica and St. Poemen both had their feast days recently on the same date. St. Monica was so happy that her husband died after a spiritual conversion and her son, St. Augustine, converted after a life of debauchery. She was ready to meet our Lord once they were both taken care of in the religious life. She was so at peace.
St. Poemen also struck me. He lived a desert hermit and instructed those with him to sleep only four hours a day so they could devote more time to work and to our Lord. What dedication! He had such wise words that he left behind. Such simplicity in his life made me reflect on how important silence is in our life. I watched my dad live his faith regularly. I watch the sisters go about their day and live such a devotion to our Lord that it makes me somewhat jealous. I live in distraction it seems.
“If you are silent, you will possess peace wherever you live.” St. Poemen
“The beginning of evil is the lack of vigilance.” St. Poemen
“A living faith consists of thinking little of self and showing consideration for others.” St. Poemen
Faith is not easy. Yes, God gives us grace and it is a gift, but we must work to respond to these graces. Just like the readings of this last Sunday when Peter acknowledged that he was the Christ, so too must we do the same every day. Mary’s yes is our yes. Peter’s determination should be our determination and our faults should not prevent us from seeking a closer union to our Lord. Christ really is present here and now. We cannot give in to mediocrity and apathy. We must look at examples in the Church and examples in our lives that we truly are loved by God.
“Let us practice many acts of kindness and gentle charity toward those we like the least.” St. Francis de Sales