Serving God Well

SERVING GOD WELL

 

…. With all your strength

 

It is not enough to do good things, but we must do them well, in imitation of Christ our Lord, of whom it was written: Bene omnia fecit----He did all things well. We ought, then, to strive to do all things in the spirit of Christ; that is, with the perfection, with the circumstances, and for the ends for which He performed His actions. Otherwise, even the good works that we do will bring us punishment rather than reward.-St. Vincent de Paul

 

 

Bible quote on being wise as the children of the world____ We complain about how the world is, yet what do we do in comparison with them. How diligent are we in countering their diligence?

 

Now that we have established that all of our actions must ultimately serve some good purpose, we must make sure we are doing our best to perform them well. How do we do that?

LUKEWARMNESS.

People think they can cut God a short deal. Literally. Others think they can find “loopholes” to get around His plan. They talk about plenary indulgences like they’re Black Friday bargains… and other good deals too, like the one about getting out of purgatory on the first Saturday after death in exchange for certain prayers and devotions. Reality is, they probably won’t even see purgatory. They are LUKEWARM.

 

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot.  But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing: and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. – Apocalypse 3:15-17

Do you REALLY put your time to good use? How much time is wasted. “I don't have time?” Inventory and prioritize. Don't have time for meditation but you do have time for the recipe that takes 45 min

 

 

Diligence: putting in the effort.

The first step that most of us in this modern world need to take is to take charge of our time. But, let’s take inventory. Write down your daily or weekly activities. Next write down how much time each thing gets. If you’re not sure, just be aware of time and take notes for a week. Now that you know where your time is going, you need to see if that’s where it should be going.

SOLVE YOU PROBLEMS, DON'T MANAGE THEM!

Clean the junk out of your life, your mind, and your house.

 

Before you can take the next step, you may have to do some problem-solving in your life. When you take inventory, you may find a lot of time is going to certain things that don’t work well in your life: problems, in other words. But the thing is, all problems have solutions! (Predicaments don’t but they’re much more rare). You see, when something breaks or goes wrong, you have to take a little time work around it. As unsolved problems build up, they collectively take up a huge amount of time. Solve each problem, and suddenly you have time! Actually fixing each of your problems is a daunting task, but not doing so is sloth; the capital sin of sloth.

The next thing is to consider your particular talents, means, knowledge, strengths, and place in the world. What is the best thing you have to offer? What would be the most beneficial to yourself and others? Divide your time accordingly.

The next thing is to think and study to make sure what you are doing is actually having the desired effect and reaching it’s maximum potential. This is where awareness and prudence come in.

We make decisions all day long, big decision and tiny ones. The decision to slouch over the bed while praying night prayers is a decision. What we base those decisions on sets us up for either rapid growth in holiness or an equally rapid disintegration into self-seeking. Awareness is necessary for to make decisions to do God's will, on the contrary, decisions based on pleasure and comfort come naturally. So, doing God's will requires we be aware enough to make decisions on their value, and not simply follow animal instincts, or worse Satan's directives. Maintaining awareness requires diligence.

 

Sloth will tell you this is all too hard, too much trouble, and more than God would ever expect of you. But, is there any circumstance in this world that would be worth taking these steps for? What if a loved one were diagnosed with a deadly disease; would you do it for him or her? What if you were going to end up homeless? Why should these things matter more than serving God well?

St. Ignatius asked a lay-brother who was doing his work with much negligence, for whom he did it. And when the latter replied that it was for God, "Now," said the Saint, "if you were working for men, it would not be so bad; but if you are working for so great a Lord as God, it is a very great fault to do it as you do

 

“It’s too much trouble” is a Sloth-Statement. And remember, Sloth is a capital sin.

 

Many believe that they can do no true penance for their sins except by giving themselves up to corporal austerities. But we know that he does a very good penance for his sins, who takes pains to perform all his actions well, to please the Lord, which is a matter of great perfection and great merit. - St. Francis de Sales

 

 

We read in Ecclesiastical History that the Abbot Pambo, seeing a dancing girl gaily dressed and adorned, began to weep. Being asked why he did so, he answered: "Because, alas! I do not use as much care and diligence in seeking to please God by my works, as this girl employs in adorning herself to please men."

 

Bible quote on being wise as the children of the world____ We complain about how the world is, yet what do we do in comparison with them. How diligent are we in countering their diligence?

 

"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."--Pope St. Gregory the Great

 

 

 

PRUDENCE - Do it carefully and conscientiously.

Our first thing in the service of God is to do the duties of our state and do them well. Many people take on charitable endeavors at the expense of their duties. This does not please God. Furthermore, our first duty is to our own selves. We should never sacrifice our own spiritual welfare for that of another person, nor take on so much that we become overwhelmed to our spiritual detriment. A balance of work and rest must be maintained and that balance is different for everyone. We saw on the page on Charity that  recreation and friendship are needs (ordinarily) and means by which we can serve God better. We do not serve God by depriving ourselves of these things insofar as the help us to serve God better.

 

QUALITY VS. QUANTITY – LESS IS MORE

 

On the outside we have unlimited resources possibilities things to buy places to go people to connect with but not enough time to actually do this well with each one. In prison the limit resources are limited but there is but there is time time time. We must make a cross between the two. The Internet has greatly  enlarged the resource pool. This results in no time if we put everything we can find on our plate. The Internet does not have to be that though it’s good if it is used to put quality things people etc. in front of you. Take what you can use and no more. The Internet gives you the opportunity to find a quality that you could not find otherwise. The rare things the rare people the rare connections. The quantity part is a pain not a blessing. As with food it is all about quality versus quantity. Prayers everything in life friendships everything quality versus quantity. Take on only what you can do with quality.

 

The time issue reverts back to diligence….

 

MAKING TIME

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If you withdraw yourself from unnecessary talking and idle running about, from listening to gossip and rumors, you will find enough time that is suitable for holy meditation. Imitation of Christ

 

Chaos breeds chaos. When your life get chaotic, you MUST cut something out. Sit down, lay other things aside – even put off duties if possible – and ANALYZE where your time is going.

 

Do you REALLY put your time to good use? How much time is wasted. “Don't have time?” Inventory and prioritize. Don't have time for meditation but you do have time for the recipe that takes 45 min longer than some of your other meals?

 

 

 

LISTEN AND LEARN FIRST!

 

A major part of prudence is not influencing others to action or beliefs when you do not have the knowledge necessary to do so accurately.  This is of particular importance when it touches on matters of Faith and one’s spiritual life. There is a plague of uneducated, self-made “authorities” out there today, wrecking havoc with people’s minds and souls. Don’t be one of them!

 

STUDY THEOLOGY!

 

PARENTS! Your children are not “yours” to program with your opinions or those of your favorite person, in the name of God and His Church.

 

STUDY THEOLOGY!

 

Our times just do not permit a simplistic Faith. If you aren’t armed with good theology, you will be lead astray, and you will lead others astray. And, you WILL be held responsible. There are no excuses, we all have a wealth of good theology books at our fingertips. We live in the INFORMATION AGE.

 

STUDY THEOLOGY.

 

The important principal of listening and learning applies to all other areas of our lives. Good-hearted people often cause tremendous pain and damage by giving advise on relationships etc based on emotions without actually listening and learning what the actual circumstances are. Listen and learn, before you influence!

 

“The greatest work a man can do is to cooperate with God in the salvation of souls” (Spirago – check for actual quote).

 

HEALTH

 

A priest once reminded me “We are God’s work-horses. We must take care of ourselves.”

 

“Health is the collateral of the missionary.” St. Ignatius Loyola

 

Taking care of our health enables us to do God’s work. Ill health is not an excuse for not working when it is the result of intemperance and/or irresponsibility.

 

 

SINS OF IMPRUDENCE AND NEGLIGENCE Cath. Encyc. St. Thomas

“NEGLIGENCE: The condition of not heeding. More specifically it is here considered as the omission, whether habitual or not, of the care required for the performance of duties, or at any rate, for their full adequate discharge. In the teaching of St. Thomas, it is rated not only as a characteristic discernible in the commission of all sins, but also as a special sin in itself. Its particular deformity he judges to be the imputable lack of satisfying such solicitude as is here and now demanded for the satisfying of obligations. He therefore assigns prudence as the virtue to which it is directly opposed. What has been said applies also to actions which are not of precept, once it is resolved to undertake them. Negligence, according to St. Thomas, is initially at least a lack of promptness of will, and is quite distinguishable from torpor or slipshodness in execution. It is not commonly esteemed to be more than a venial sin. There are, however, two notable exceptions to this statement:

  • if a person is careless to the point of omitting something which is indispensable for salvation (de necessitate salutaris) or
  • if the remissness of will be so great as totally to extinguish the love of God in the soul, then the sin commited is obviously grievous.” Catholic Encyclopedia

 

 

“Prudence

(Latin prudentia, contracted from providentia, seeing ahead).

One of the four cardinal virtues. Definitions of it are plentiful from Aristotle down. His "recta ratio agibilium" has the merits of brevity and inclusiveness. Father Rickaby aptly renders it as "right reason applied to practice". A fuller description and one more serviceable is this: an intellectual habit enabling us to see in any given juncture of human affairs what is virtuous and what is not, and how to come at the one and avoid the other. It is to be observed that prudence, whilst possessing in some sort an empire over all the moral virtues, itself aims to perfect not the will but the intellect in its practical decisions. Its function is to point out which course of action is to be taken in any round of concrete circumstances. It indicates which, here and now, is the golden mean wherein the essence of all virtue lies. It has nothing to do with directly willing the good it discerns. That is done by the particular moral virtue within whose province it falls. Prudence, therefore, has a directive capacity with regard to the other virtues. It lights the way and measures the arena for their exercise. The insight it confers makes one distinguish successfully between their mere semblance and their reality. It must preside over the eliciting of all acts proper to any one of them at least if they be taken in their formal sense. Thus, without prudence bravery becomes foolhardiness; mercy sinks into weakness, and temperance into fanaticism. But it must not be forgotten that prudence is a virtue adequately distinct from the others, and not simply a condition attendant upon their operation. Its office is to determine for each in practice those circumstances of time, place, manner, etc. which should be observed, and which the Scholastics comprise under the term medium rationis. So it is that whilst it qualifies immediately the intellect and not the will, it is nevertheless rightly styled a moral virtue.

  • This is because the moral agent finds in it, if not the eliciting, at any rate the directive principle of virtuous actions. According to  Thomas(II-II:47:8) it is its function to do three things: to take counsel, i.e. to cast about for the means suited in the particular case under consideration to reach the end of any one moral virtue; to judge soundly of the fitness of the means suggested; and, finally, to command their employment. If these are to be done well they necessarily exclude remissness and lack of concern; they demand the use of such diligence and care that the resultant act can be described as prudent, in spite of whatever speculative error may have been at the bottom of the process. Readiness in finding out and ability in adapting means to an end does not always imply prudence. If the end happens to be a vicious one, a certain adroitness or sagacity may be exhibited in its pursuit. This, however, according to St. Thomas, will only deserve to be called false prudence and is identical with that referred to in Rom., viii, 6, "the wisdom of the flesh is death". Besides the prudence which is the fruit of training and experience, and is developed into a stable habit by repeated acts, there is another sort termed "infused". This is directly bestowed by God's bounty. It is inseparable from the condition of supernatural charity and so is to be found only in those who are in the state of grace. Its scope of course is to make provision of what is necessary for eternal salvation. Although acquired prudence considered as a principle of operation is quite compatible with sin in the agent, still it is well to note that vice obscures or at times utterly beclouds its judgment. Thus it is true that prudence and the other moral virtues are mutually interdependent. Imprudence in so far as it implies a want of obligatory prudence and not a mere gap in practical mentality is a sin, not however always necessarily distinct from the special wicked indulgence which it happens to accompany. If it proceeds to the length of formal scorn of the Divine utterances on the point, it will be a mortal sin.”- Catholic Encyclopedia

 

 

For even as a man going into a far country, called his servants, and delivered to them his goods;  And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey. And he that had received the five talents, went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five.  And in like manner he that had received the two, gained other two.  But he that had received the one, going his way digged into the earth, and hid his lord's money.  But after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them.  And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above.

His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me: behold I have gained other two.  His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed.  And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold here thou hast that which is thine.

And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed:  Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury.  Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents.  For to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: but from him that hath not, that also which he seemeth to have shall be taken away.  And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matt 25:14-30