Saturday, June 4, 2016


No one ever ascends all at once to the highest point of vice or virtue; it is by the small habits we form.

“A magnificent building will never rise if we reject the insignificant bricks.” (St. Faustina)

The simplest way is to just have good manners, in the western tradition. Good manners is based on the scripture: "All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets." ( Mt. 7:12). He didn't say 'do NOT do unto others what you do NOT want done to you' While this is included, Jesus is making us pro-active-- "DO it"--
Do for others what you would like done for you.  Good manners is just thinking of the other person. How do they feel?

Hold that door; say thank you and please; keep calm, when a co-worker, a manager, a customer, or companion is angry with you. Are we not offended, when some one is unkind or unjust to us? We might think : 'They  didn't even say thank you !!' and we are offended.

Don't do it for a thank you, because you will often be disappointed, BUT do it because God has given you the opportunity to do it, for the love of God, and salvation of souls, that is reward enough.

Controlling the tongue is just controlling a muscle. Your thoughts might be angry or vulgar, but that word not said is an act of kindness. The perfect man has not the evil thought, but let us attack at the weakest link--our actions. If you have lost control of your thoughts, don't lose control of your muscles-- do not put the the anger into action.

St. James says that we can become perfect by this:  "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man... Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you?  Let him show, by a good conversation, work in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter zeal, and there be contentions in your hearts; glory not, and be not liars against the truth. For this is not wisdom, descending from above: but earthly, sensual, devilish. " (James 3: 2, 13-15)

While the muscles (actions) obey our thoughts, they can also "teach" our minds. If we just order our muscles to do the virtuous thing. It will actually create new patterns of thoughts. This is why smokers have a hard time quitting, they have gone through the actions (muscle movements) so many times, their minds are convinced; it canNOT change. Same goes for habitual sin.

Knowledge means experience, and the bulk of our experience stems from our actions. The type of knowledge that comes from study is chiefly informative.

Practical knowledge, the knowledge of how to behave, ie. virtue--what to do at a certain time in a given situation, comes to us from acting and practicing. With regard to virtue-- what to do and what not to do, there can be hardly any doubt, our actions (muscles) are per-eminently the teachers of our thoughts.

 "Well done! good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of your Lord "  (Matt. 25:21-23)

"God, who rewards thoughts, words, and deeds, will give good in return for even a small thing which you gladly suffer for His sake." (St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 41)

If we are generous towards God, He will be generous  towards us, BUT if  we offer our gifts to Him with a stingy hand, won't He act in the same manner?

If we always measure:"Am I obliged or not?" This kind of person has little love for God or man, and little virtue.

Jesus says "...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Be kind, when we don't want to; be helpful, when we are tired; be merciful, when we are angry-- this is the cross; this is virtue.

We can all do small things, even little children can be virtuous. St. Dominic Savio was fond of saying:
“I can’t do big things. But I want all I do, even the smallest thing, to be for the greater glory of God.”

The master of small things, St. Therese of Lisieux, wrote:
    “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
This is an ancient tradition and such towers of the Faith as St. Gregory Nazianzen taught:
“Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could.” (St. Gregory Nazianzen--The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Volume 4, pg. 59)

The atom is one of the smallest things, but when split it can unleash dreadful power. Small acts of kindness  likewise are powerful, but not destructive. They renew. If done with love of God, in the state of Grace, small acts of kindness releases tremendous graces. WHY?   Because, it is not us, BUT God acting through us-- not destruction-- but joy, peace, and love.

"For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." (Mark 8:41)

Do not despise the small or menial job-- for God does not. It is very important.
"He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that which is greater." ( Luke 16:10)

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