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FOOD FOR THOUGHT




 

 

 

VIRTUE AND VICE

 

 

 

 

YOU MUST BE HUMBLED TO BE EXALTED

 

Origen Said: "If you are not humble and serene, it is impossible for the grace of the Holy Spirit to dwell in you." 

 

Augustine said: " God humbled himself; human beings should blush to be proud." 

 

Gregory the Great said:  "The more humility aims at the depths, the higher it climbs on the path to the summit."   "Humility in listening to the Word of God makes the path ready for the Lord to enter our heart."  

 

Isidore said:  "Whoever acquires virtue without humility is throwing dust into the wind."

 

Defensor Grammaticus

 

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AVOID AN ANGRY MAN

 

By anger, all the kindliness of social life is lost, as it is written -- "Be not the companion of an angry man; lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." And the same writer asks -- "Who can dwell with a man whose spirit is ready to wrath?" For he that does not regulate his feelings by the reason that is proper to man must needs live alone like a beast.

 

St. Gregory the Great

 

 

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CURIOSITY

 

Curiosity is vanity. We want to know something so we can talk about it. No one would ever want to travel if they were forbidden to talk about it. We would never desire to hear or see things if there were no hope of describing them to others.

 

 

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Peace and union are the most necessary of all things for men who live in religious communities and nothing serves so well to establish and maintain them as the forbearing charity whereby we put up with another's defects. There is no one who has not his faults, and who is not in some way a burden to others, whether he be a superior or a subject, an old man or young, a scholar or a dunce.,

 

St. Robert Bellarmine

 

 

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A man given to fasting thinks himself very devout if he fasts, although his heart may be filled with hatred. Much concerned with sobriety, he does not dare to wet his tongue with wine or even water but won't hesitate to drink deep of his neighbor's blood by detraction and calumny.

 

St. Frances de Sales

 

 

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Ambition is the mother of hypocrisy and prefers to skulk in corners and dark places. It cannot endure the light of day. It is an unclean vice, wallowing in the depths, always hidden, but with ever and eye to advancement.

 

St. Bernard

 

 

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AN ANGRY MAN

 

Wrath is a fierce fire; it devours all things; it harms the body; it destroys the soul; it makes a man deformed and ugly to look upon. And if it were possible for a wrathful person to be visible to himself at the height of his passion, he would need no other admonition, for nothing is more disgusting than the face of a man who is angry.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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Anger is tamed and becomes transformed into benevolence only through courage and mercy; for these destroy the enemies that besiege the city of the soul - the first, the enemies outside and the second, those within.

 

St. Gregory of Sinai

 

 

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MOCKERY

 

"Listen to the most wise Solomon explaining the evil, the punishment that lie concealed in mockery and derision. 'He that mocks a man, reproaches his Maker' (Prov. XIV: 31; XCII 5 Sept) For the mockery of a man redounds against his Creator."

 

St. Ephraim

 

 

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ELEGANCE

 

Elegance is vanity; it is showing off that you employ many hands, and, the more servants, the more powerful one is. Thus, your hair shows you have a hair-dresser; your clothes, that you have a couturier; your bearing shows  you are surrounded by maids. Elegance is not mere show; it is a way of projecting power.

 

 

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TALKATIVENESS

 

Miriam, the sister of Moses, because of one evil speech and though she was also a prophetess, was condemned and afflicted with leprosy. What punishment do they not deserve who, without any restraint, revile and speak ill of others?

 

St. Ephraim

 

 

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VANITY

 

Vanity makes man desire to be known all over the world even by people who will only come to exist in the far future.

 

 

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CHEERFULNESS

 

Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a holy life. Therefore, the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits, says St. Philip Neri.

 

A cheerful and glad spirit attains to perfection much more readily than a melancholy spirit, he adds. 

 

 

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WISDOM AND JUSTICE

 

He is not truly wise who is not just. For true wisdom cannot find room with injustice in a person, for the veil is thick between them. For his justice is nearer to meeting with wisdom than is his wisdom with justice, for it is then that a person is truly wise, when he is just.

 

St. Columban

 

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VIRTUES

 

Virtues are formed by prayer

     Prayer preserves temperance

          Prayer suppresses anger

               Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy

                    Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit

                         And raises man to Heaven.

 

St. Ephraem

 

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HUMILITY

 

Humility has been regarded by the saints as the basis and guardian of all virtues . . . (St. Alphonsus Liguori), it is the mother of salvation . . . (St. Bernard), the foundation of sanctity . . . (St. Cyprian), and the key which opens all the treasures of God . . . (St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier).

 

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COSMETICS

 

Is it not monstrous, that while horses, birds and the rest of the animals . . . rejoice in ornament that is their own, in mane, natural colour and varied plumage, woman, as if inferior to the brute creation, should think herself so unlovely as to need foreign, bought and painted beauty? 

 

Though they doctor their hair cleverly, they will not escape wrinkles, nor will they elude death by tricking time. 

 

* * *

 

Oh, how dangerous and imperceptible is the vice of pleasing men; it possesses even the wise. For the effects of other passions are easily seen by those who obey them and so bring those they possess to humility and mourning. But the effort to please men clothes itself in the words and appearances of piety, so that men whom it beguiles find it hard to detect its various aspects. 

 

St. Mark the Ascetic

 

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ANGER

When someone is overcome by a wrong and blazes up in a fire of anger, he should not hold the bitterness of the insult offered him as the reason for his sin, but, rather, the manifestation of his own secret weakness. A person blazes out in anger not because there is something wrong with the other, but because there is something wrong with himself. 

St. John Cassian

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THE MEASURE OF FOOD

We are made to rule over meat and food and not be slaves to them, says St. Clement. For the excess of meat can kill the soul more than a musket. 

So Barsanuphius advises us to partake of meat and food in a measure somewhat less than one's actual need. You should leave your meals still hungry, says St. Jerome. 

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FORBEARING CHARITY

Peace and union are the most necessary of all things for men who live in common, and nothing serves so well to establish and maintain them as the forbearing charity whereby we put up with another's defects. There is not one who has not his faults, and who is not in some way a burden to others, whether he be a superior or a subject, an old man or a younger one, a scholar or a dunce. 

St. Robert Bellarmine

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AN UPSTART

An upstart is a person who talks about what he does not understand and thinks he fully understands what he is talking about. This is often referred to as journalistic mentality. But a good man is one who talks about what he does not understand but understands that he does not fully understand it. This is humility.

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SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

Self-consciousness is not a bad trait. In fact it is a good trait and the opposite of vanity.

When a man becomes self-conscious, he very often becomes painfully and abominably humble. But so long as he is healthily unconscious of himself he is almost certain to be vain taking delight in his own powers and characteristics.

G. K. Chesterton

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Man, in his folly, wants others to find happiness in loving him alone. He wants to be the object of happiness of others...which is utter futility.

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(01-05-04)

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