Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Live Today Well, Chapter 12...
So today we are talking about "Living the 'Little Virtues.'" I wasn't sure exactly what this meant prior to reading the chapter, and here we find out:
"These 'little' virtues may be lowly in terms of not garnering great public esteem; practicing them is not something for which people are widely known. But they are not at all little in terms of being easy to do. Nor are they small in the value they they hold for those who practice them. In fact, these are the sort of good deeds that, from the inside out, change lives forever - not only our own but also those with whom we interact each day."
I just love that emphasis on the word "little," reminds me of St. Therese of Lisieux. And St. Therese, to me, emulates everyday holiness, I like those kinds of down-to-earth saints. :-) And what are these little virtues?
Humility - To St. Francis de Sales, this is "an honest estimation of who we are - in both the positive and negative realities of our personal identity." This one is painful, but we need to face it. :0 Especially when my patience is worn thin at work or with my kids, I know that negative qualities about myself come out. We have to be honest with ourselves about what these are if we ever want to overcome them.
Gentleness - "Gentleness invites us to be honest about, and accepting of, others." I like this. I can do that. Then I read this: "After all, the more we learn to embrace the truth that we are not perfect, the less we will expect or demand that others be perfect towards us. Yet how often do we expect things in life to be different?...We expect our work to produce positive results in proportion to the effort we put into it. We expect other people to act as we would in the same situation. All too often, and all too easily, we dwell in a world of 'should.' And when things do not measure up to the image we have in mind, when life does not go as we think it should, or people do not act as we want them to, we often get angry."
Let's pause for a moment here to reflect on the powerful nature of the point made above. :0 I actually wrote: "!" in my book next to this passage. This is why I struggle, and have been struggling, since the fall semester began. I get exasperated with careless, inconsiderate people, because I expect and want them to behave differently. I can still want them to, but I can't expect them to. That is not for me to worry about. Regardless of their behavior, I have to react to them with the same kind and loving guidance as I would anybody else. When we react with gentleness, we will "...show docility toward those with whom we find fault, our natural passion gives way to a more reasonable response." This REALLY made a big impact on me. Gentleness. It comes naturally to me, but my work environment sometimes brings out those negative qualities mentioned up in humility, above. ;-) Going to be working on both of these!
Simplicity - By this, St. Francis means that our approach to ourselves, others, and life in general should be: "forthright, plain dealing, and otherwise free from pretense." I have a Scentsy warmer that says "Live Simply" on the front. I'll think of St. Francis whenever I turn it on. ;-) "To be simple...is to be cognizant of the opportunities afforded for good that take place in the ordinary responsibilities of our vocation."
Opportunities afforded for good in the ordinary places of our lives. I need to tape this to my forehead. :0
What did you all think of this chapter? There was a LOT of fodder in this one for me! Next week, we're going to talk about reconciliation!