July 20, 2010

Stretching Myself With Virtues

I am currently practicing the virtue of prudence* in conversation, which includes email and instant messaging.  It is not easy.  Listening more and being more discerning about what I say is work, although it is fruitful work.

Being more conscientious about what I say gives others more of an opportunity to chime in, to initiate phone calls and 
conversations, and to reveal more of who they really are.  At the same time, it gives me more of an opportunity to sit in silence, to be less regretful of something I might have said, and to reveal more of who I really am, and vice versa.

"Be still and know that I am God" comes to me.

I think it is hard for most of us to be still.  Just look at our society and you will see that down time, white space, and active listening are rare.  For example, the floors in grocery stores used to be white or tan.  Now they are broken up with advertisements on the floors.  Silence!!!  That is what I want to yell sometimes. 

As for practicing virtues in general, it is not something to which I have been accustomed.  It was not suggested or taught to me so that it would become a way of life, never mind a way of salvation.  However, it is never too late.  After sporadically hearing others share their experiences for a couple years, and after having an unrelenting gnawing sensation in my gut, yearning for something to boost my spiritual life, I have started.  And I have started with one aspect of the virtue mentioned above. 

Don't take as long as I did to begin.  You'll reduce your painful time in Purgatory and get to the Big Guy more quickly.

Here are some references for incorporating the practice of virtues into your own spiritual life.

Links to a variety of resources related to virtue.

"St. Teresa of Avila stated that this work of Venerable Louis converted over 1,000,000 souls in her day. She, along with St. John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Rose of Lima, all counted it among their favorite spiritual books."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, THE VIRTUES
"A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions."

* Depending on one's perspective, temperance might have been the name of the virtue practiced in this case. They often overlap.

image - http://tarhearted.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54ee0f6128834010536cf2829970b-800wi

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