The Redemptorist Virtue for the Month of October is
RECOLLECTION and SILENCE
PATRON: St Simon, Apostle
TEXT: "And when He had dismissed the crowds He went up by Himself
into a mountain to pray." (Matt 14: 23)
Recollection is not a specific virtue like humility but rather a stimulus to the practice of all the virtues.
Its full title is "recollection of the presence of God."
Saint Alphonsus offers this insight:
"The more we walk in the presence of God, the better we recognize his beautiful qualities and strengthen his love in our hearts."
October's virtue is a challenge to seek ways of developing this awareness of God's presence in many different ways, to make it part of the rhythm of daily life. Thus, you might make a list of times in a typical day when a few moments of recollection would make all the difference
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of May is...
Patron: St. Thomas
Text: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Mt.5:3
Jesus identified with the poor. (See Mt 25:35-40.) Alphonsus insisted that we can begin to understand gospel poverty only when we begin to experience
"the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9).
Alphonsus' writings and preaching reveal his conviction that gospel poverty (what he calls "poverty of spirit and a spirit of poverty " ) demands detachment of the heart from material possessions and worldly power. He encourages us to gain perspective by meditating on death as "the day of loss," when riches and possessions will be no more. He used to encourage young Redemptorists to "clean out their closets " at the time of retreat so they would not clutter up their lives with extra things. Perhaps we can all learn a lesson from this!
This month, why not go through your "riches" and choose one treasure to give away. If you find this too difficult, perhaps you can find a way to use that treasure to help another or to bring joy to someone.
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of April is...
Virtue: Love of Neighbour
Patron: St. John
Text: "This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends." St John 15: 12-14
The teaching of Jesus about the great law of love includes not only love for God but also, in an essential way, love for neighbour. (See Mt 22:34-40 and Lk 10:25-28.)
Alphonsus emphasized the reason for this gospel insistence on loving one's neighbour:
"Why, there-fore, must we love our neighbour? Because he or she is loved by God! We must love all whom God loves!"
On the practical level, Alphonsus provides two positive and two negative considerations for practicing this virtue.
On the positive side, he first encourages the spirit of peace. Though the followers of Jesus Christ, he noted, are from different nations and climes and are of unlike temperament and character, they can live peacefully together,
"for love would induce them to practice mutual forbearance."
Second, Alphonsus stresses almsgiving. This refers to the religious duty to help the poor and needy—not only out of our abundance but even, if necessary, out of what we consider essential for ourselves.
On the negative side, he strongly cautions against rash judgment.
"If you desire to practice the beautiful virtue of charity, strive to reject every rash judgment, every distrust and unfounded suspicion of your neighbour."
In addition, he warns against uncharitable speech, for there are many people
"who cannot move their tongues with-out wounding someone."
True Christians will avoid calumny and detraction and will always try to say only what is good about their neighbour.
During April, focus on how much God loves you.
In addition, become conscious of your comments about others.
Thanks to: www.redemptorists.com
The Redemptorist Virtue for the Month of August is...
Virtue: Humilty of Heart
Patron: St. Bartholomew
Text: Learn of Me because I am meek and humble of heart. Mt. 11:29
Christian tradition teaches that one of the most important elements of humility is the ability to accept that we are creatures of God, that God is the source of our talents and gifts.
Humility does not demand that we deny our gifts and talents but rather that we acknowledge from where they come.
"He who loves God is not deceived by his own qualities because he knows that whatever he possesses is a gift of God, that without God he possesses only nothingness."
During August you might examine your life in light of these questions:
Do I really acknowledge my true relationship with God as Creator and Giver of all gifts?
Does this have a real impact on my behavior and on my relationship with others?
Thanks to www.redemptorists.com
The Redemptorist Virtue for the Month of July is...
Patron: St Philip
Text: "You are my friends, if you do things that I command you." Jn 15:14
Obedience is the moral virtue that inclines Christians to submit to the law of God in all its manifestations.
God alone is the ultimate source of all law.
Obedience is a positive response not only to civil and ecclesiastical decrees but to the authority of God himself?
Alphonsus points out that our obedience to human authority can be less than complete (if that authority opposes the authority of God), but our obedience to God must be complete and absolute.
Adults—who often think of obedience as primarily a child 's virtue— should carefully reflect on the specific ways in which this virtue can be manifested in the many components of their lives: family, job, neighbourhood, nation.
Alphonsus believed that many difficulties of obedience are rooted in false pride. Ask yourself if this is true in your life.
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of June is...
Patron: St. James the Less, Apostle
Text: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." Matt 5:8
This virtue is concerned not only with self-mastery but also with love and holiness.
"This is the will of God, yourholiness: that you refrain from immorality, that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God " (I Thes 4:3-5).
Alphonsus saw the practice of chastity as another way of striving to do God' s will in our lives. He believed that the most subtle dangers regarding chastity were occasions of sin.
In his moral theology, Alphonsus refers to occasions of sin that are voluntary (of one' s own choosing and therefore avoidable) and proximate (those that frequently lead a person to sin). He teaches that even sincere Christians fall into sins against chastity because they voluntarily place themselves into proximate occasions of sin. Likewise, avoiding such occasions is one of the most effective ways of growing in chastity.
This month, take time to reflect on the occasions of sin in your life.
Pray for the courage to make changes in your life so you can avoid these occasions of sin.
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of March is...
Virtue: LOVE of GOD
Patrons: St. James the Greater, Apostle
Text: "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul and with your whole mind." St. Matt 22:37
The centerpiece of the spirituality of Saint Alphonsus is the "love of God."
Reflecting the teaching of the New Testament, Saint Alphonsus identifies two aspects of this virtue called the love of God: God's great love for us and our love for God in return.
God's love, manifested especially in the gift of his Son Jesus, is freely and generously lavished upon each of us. The central message of Saint Alphonsus is, Remember how much God loves you!
This priceless gift of God's love for us deserves a response of love on our part. But how can we respond to God's love? There are countless ways, but Saint Alphonsus recommends the way of Jesus himself:
For us, too, doing the will of our heavenly Father is our way of showing our love for God. This response to God's love must enter the nitty-gritty circumstances of our daily lives.
During March, constantly ask your-self:
Thanks to www.redemptorists.com
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of February is...
Patron: St. ANDREW
Text: His hope he set on me, so I will rescue him; protect him for he knows my name.
Hope is centred on God. Through this virtue, we confidently expect the fullness of glory, our eternal destiny, the face-to-face vision of God.
For the early Christians, the anchor was the favorite symbol of hope (see Heb 6:18-19) because it symbolized strength and stability. It reminds us that the stability of our hope comes not from ourselves but rather from our gracious God and our risen Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Saint Alphonsus was convinced that we do not sufficiently realize that God has made great promises to us and that we can be sure God will be faithful to those promises.
During February you could feature the act of hope in your prayers, saying often during the day:
"My God, I place my hope in you."
You could also frequently make a conscious effort to let go of fears and worries that beset you and place your trust in God, whose love and care rule your life.
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of January is...
Patrons: Sts. PETER and PAUL
Text: "I am the light of the world" Jn 8:12
Faith is God's first gift to us.
Faith has many facets and definitions, but it is, above all, our response to the revelation of God.
God has revealed himself to us in many ways, but the fullness of his revelation is in Jesus Christ (see Heb 1:1-3).
Everything about Jesus reveals God to us: his words and works, his signs and miracles, his death and glorious Resurrection.
During January you might try the following suggestions:
First, set aside time for enlarging your knowledge of God's revelation.
"This could include a planned reading of the Scriptures or a study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Next, open yourself in prayer to the Holy Spirit. Alphonsus says:
Finally, examine how you are living by faith.
In the words of Alphonsus
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of December is :
The cross is a symbolic term for human suffering.
Experience had taught Alphonsus that all people suffer in some way; the question is not whether we will suffer, but how. We can respond to the how of suffering by developing a love of the cross—having the spirit of Christ, bearing the cross with gentleness, with cheerfulness, with love.
As you face the challenge of examining your personal sufferings in light of the sufferings of Christ, pray for the courage to accept these sufferings. It is a great challenge indeed!
Prayer is the heart of the practical plan of spirituality presented by Saint Alphonsus.
As the heart pumps life -
giving blood to all parts of the body, so prayer enlivens the whole Christian life.
Without it, spiritual growth is impossible.
Of the many aspects of prayer developed in the writings of Saint Alphonsus,
two stand out and are appropriate suggestions for practice this month.
- First, be especially aware of God' s presence in the Eucharist and try to make the sacrament the centre of your life.
- Second, set aside at least fifteen minutes each day for meditation, opening your mind and heart to God.
The Redemptorist Virtue for the month of September...
SEPTEMBER Virtue: Mortification
Patron: St Matthew, Apostle
Text: "He that hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life eternal"
(St. John 12: 25)
Mortification refers to the Christian ideal of dying to self through deliberate restraint of our unruly passions andappetites. It refers to our struggle against evil inclinations.
Alphonsus distinguishes between external mortification for example, fasting, controlling one's tongue and internal mortification " the discipline of the heart," overcoming aversions, resentments, dangerous attachments.
While both kinds of mortification are important, Alphonsus views the internal as both more demanding and more fruitful for spiritual growth.
During September you might reflect on the resentments or dangerous attachments in your life and pray for the grace to overcome them.