Here’s what the devil doesn’t want you to know:
There is a way to become the saint God created you to be…a way that’s practical and doable for anyone with the grace given by God to every Baptized person: you, me, everyone. That way is learning about the virtues and how to practice them: virtues like patience, gratitude, and forgiveness.
So the devil’s lie is that great holiness – saintliness – is unattainable for a sinner like me.
Don’t tell that to St. Mary Magdalene! The virtue of faith enabled her to believe – against all odds and all the devil could throw at her – that this man Jesus could heal her and lead her to the happiness of true love beyond anything she had ever known or imagined.
Don’t tell Bartolo Longo that a virtuous life isn’t attainable by anyone.
Bartolo Longo was a 19th century Italian Catholic who came to hate the Church as a young man – because the educational system taught him to – he hated the Church so much that he eventually became a Satanist priest! Meanwhile, his mom was praying like crazy for him. Her prayers were answered when one day a Dominican priest asked Bartolo, rather bluntly, if he wanted to die in an insane asylum and go to hell.
Somehow the challenge touched Bartolo and after several meetings with the priest, he did repent and was given absolution. The virtue of hope allowed him to give up his headlong descent into hell and forge a new life, a life that now depended on God. Today he is known as Blessed Bartolo Longo – on his way to sainthood – because he ended up bringing many thousands of people to Christ.
And we can’t forget Augustine of Hippo, who famously told God, “Make me chaste, Lord — but not quite yet!” Well, he finally received the virtue of chastity and is now a saint and doctor of the church!
How can these notorious, public sinners and so many like them, all be saints? By the grace of God, of course, and by learning to love like Jesus through knowledge and practice of the virtues, which are attributes of Jesus. The virtues are how we put into action the grace of the Sacraments.
If we want to grow in prayerfulness, kindness, patience, or any virtue, we need to learn exactly what the virtue is and what it isn’t. A misunderstanding of what humility is, for example, can lead us astray, and cause us to lead others astray, even if we have the best of intentions.
So, what is humility?
Humility means looking honestly at our strengths and weaknesses in the light of God’s love and mercy.
For example, hall-of-famer Stan Musial (1920-2013) said, “I thank God for making me a great baseball player.” That is a humble statement because he owned his talent and gave the credit to God.
When a compliment came Mother Teresa’s way, she would answer, “God’s work.” For us, we can offer a simple “Thank you,” with the thought in our mind that it’s really a thank you to God for helping us do something pleasing to the person who offered the compliment.
When we forget that every good thing that comes to us comes from God, we can slip into playing God. That just sets us up for disappointment when we don’t get the approval we were looking for from others.
What a difference between the two attitudes: with humility, we end up with a heart warmed by gratitude; arrogance, on the other hand, leaves us bitter — because no worldly praise is ever enough to make us really happy.
The Lord…loves the one who pursues virtue. Prov 15:9
Okay, so even if you’re a regular old sinner like me — maybe you could use more peace and joy in your day. That’s what you get by learning what virtues are and specifically how to practice them in your daily life. I’d love to chat with you about the many benefits of joining my supportive live zoom group “Virtue Circle.”
Just leave a comment below if you’d like to hop on a quick phone chat to learn more (or if you’re already a member, leave a comment on what it’s like to be a member).
I’d love to explore with you whether being a member of this cozy, enlightening circle of Catholic women is an answer to your prayers!
P.S. An added bonus of Virtue Circle membership is the confidence to pass along the faith to your family in a fuller, richer way than ever before.
Love to join.. my family is falling apart, I feel like we are under attack most of the time. Don’t know what to do anymore, I just keep saying over and over it has to be God’s timing not mind, I remind myself I just have to be more patience’s, any help on trying to get through to my family would be most appreciated .. thank you.
I’m sorry to hear of your difficulties. I sent you an email to follow up.
God bless you,
I know the feeling and empathize with you. I will remember you in prayer at Mass today and in my rosary. Ave Maria+++
I am interested in your Virtue Circle.
Could you please send me some information about this group?
Good morning Janet,
I just sent you an email about a phone chat to discuss.
Thanks and God bless,
Great post! I never knew that about Bl. Bartolo Longo! Yes, I would love to zoom meet with you and all the others, Rose. Is there a cost? I am on a fixed income, so I need to know. Thank you. God bless you.
Look for the email I just sent. Looking forward to chatting in person!
I love starting my Sunday morning with Rose!
Would like to join on Thursday but I don’t have Zoom. But I’ll be with you in spirit
For me it’s keep it simple and do the good that’s in front of me to do.
hi on a recent plane trip I had just such an experience. i have to board via wheelchair the person pushing me and wheeling my suitcase dropped one of my items. the young man picked it up and walked with us up tothe check baggage counter.. my driver, was nervouse about where he had parked his car. the stranger then offered to wait in in line with me so the driver could go. while we were waiting , I asked him if he worked for the airline his answer, i travel alot and on long layovers i just see if there arefolks whoneed help and I offer what assistance Ican.I told him what a beautiful, loving thing to do. his answer, its my pleasure.. he was from Wisconsiin.i was in Baltimore.. isnt that just the most wonderful thing to experience? i was absolutely awed. felt so blessed. such a beautiful experience for me. all felt so happy for the experience. lets all try to follow his examplein whatever way wecan!!
im very low visioned so hope this is understandable
I don’t have a computer but I have a smart phone. I’ve never been on a zoom call and I’m not very tech savvy. Would I be able to be in your circle?
Yes, I’ll walk you through getting zoom on your phone.
Please send me info. about zoom meetings.
Hi Rose I’d like to learn more about your women’s virtue group. I’m in spiritual direction with a priest but this could enhance my growth, I believe. Look forward to hearing from you. Blessed Trinity Sunday. Jenean
Great posting, Rose. Also, loved that blue flower!
Esther R. Davis
Yes, i would like to enroll in your Virtue program.
One of the things i learned about humility, was that it, and kind compliments of any kind from someone, like what i am wearing or doing or saying can go to your head, so right away I say, “I send this up to You God, so it doesn’t go to my head.” Lest i think i am better than someone else.
I would like to know more about this. Thank you.