FORGING OUR PERSONALITY WITH THAT OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

FORGING OUR PERSONALITY WITH THAT OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

The task of building character

The action of grace in souls goes hand in hand with growth in human maturity, with perfecting our character. So while cultivating the supernatural virtues, a Christian who seeks holiness will strive to attain the ways of acting and thinking that characterize someone as being mature and balanced. He or she will be motivated not merely by the desire for perfection but by the eagerness to reflect Christ’s life. Thus Saint Josemaría encourages us to examine ourselves: “My son, where do men find in you the Christ they are looking for? In your pride? In your desire to impose yourself on others? In those little character defects which you don’t wish to overcome? In your stubbornness? Is Christ to be found there? No, he is not!” The answer gives us the clue to this endeavor: “You need to have your own personality, agreed. But you should try to make it conform exactly to Christ’s.”[4]

Our personality is influenced first of all by what we have inherited, which began to be manifested from birth, often called temperament. It is also influenced by factors connected with our upbringing, personal decisions, relationships with others and with God, and many other factors, perhaps even unconscious ones. All this leads to a variety of types of personalities or characters (extroverted or timid, spirited or reserved, carefree or apprehensive, etc.), expressed in one’s way of working, of interacting with others, of considering daily events. These elements influence each person’s moral life, by facilitating the development of certain virtues or, if the effort to attain these is lacking, the appearance of defects. For example, an enterprising personality can make it easier to acquire the virtue of industriousness, provided one has the discipline needed to avoid the defects of inconstancy and activism.

God counts on our personality in leading us along the path to holiness. Each one’s way of being is like fertile land that needs to be cultivated. If we patiently and cheerfully remove the stones and weeds that impede the action of grace, it will begin to bring forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.[5] All men and women can make fruitful the talents received from God’s hands, provided they allow themselves to be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, forging a personality that reflects Christ’s face. But this does not imply losing one’s own personal traits. Saint Josemaría insisted: “you have to be different from one another, as the saints in heaven are different, each having their own personal and special characteristics.”[6]

While we need to strengthen and polish our own personality in keeping with a Christian way of living, we aren’t striving to become some kind of “superman.” Rather the model is always Christ Jesus, who has a human nature like ours, but perfect in its normality and elevated by grace. Certainly, we also have a lofty example in our Lady: in Mary we see the fullness of humanity—and of normality. The proverbial humility and simplicity of Mary, probably the most cherished of her qualities in the entire Christian tradition, along with her closeness and tender affection for all her children, virtues of a good mother, are the best confirmation of her perfection. Although still a creature we can tell Mary: “greater than you, none but God!”[7] For she is so fully human, so charmingly feminine: the Lady par excellence!

Human and supernatural maturity

The word “maturity” means being ripe, fully developed, and by extension it refers to the fullness of being. Therefore, its best paradigm can be found in our Lord’s life. Contemplating in the Gospels how Christ dealt with people, his fortitude in suffering, his decisiveness in undertaking the mission received from his Father—here we have the criterion of maturity.

At the same time, our faith incorporates all the noble values found in different cultures. So it is useful to take into account the traditional criteria of human maturity, while also purifying them. This has been done throughout the history of Christian spirituality, to a greater or lesser extent. For example, the Greco-Roman classical world, which the Fathers of the Church so wisely Christianized, especially placed wisdom and prudence at the center of the ideal of human maturity, understood with various nuances. The Christian philosophers and theologians of the early Church enriched this view, pointing out the pre-eminence of the theological virtues, especially charity, which binds everything together in perfect harmony,[8] as Saint Paul said, and gives form to all the virtues.

In our day and age the study of human maturity has been complemented by the different perspectives offered by the modern sciences. These findings are useful to the extent that they start from a vision of the human person open to the Christian message. Thus, some tend to distinguish three key fields of maturity: intellectual, emotional and social. Significant features of intellectual maturity include: an adequate self-concept (with a close correspondence between how one views oneself and how one really is, firmly based on sincerity with oneself); clearly defined personal goals and purposes, with open and unlimited horizons; a harmonious set of values; ethical and moral certainty; a healthy realism in relation to oneself and others; the capacity for reflection and calm analysis of problems; creativity and initiative; etc.

Some features of emotional maturity, without trying to be exhaustive, would include: balanced reactions to life’s events, without being discouraged by failure or becoming unrealistic after success; the capacity for flexible and constructive self-control; the ability to love and to give oneself generously to others; confidence and firmness in decisions and commitments; serenity and the ability to overcome challenges and difficulties; optimism, cheerfulness, friendliness and good humour.

Finally, as elements of social maturity we find: a sincere affection for others, respecting their rights and seeking to discover and remedy their needs; being understanding when faced with a diversity of opinions, values or cultural features, without falling into prejudices; independence and a critical capacity in the face of a dominant culture, pressure groups or fashions; naturalness in one’s behaviour that leads to acting without mere conventionalism; the capacity to listen and understand; the ability to work with others.

A path to maturity

We could summarize these traits by saying that the mature person is able to develop a noble, clear and coherent life-project, with the positive outlook needed to carry it out readily. In any case maturity is a process that requires time, and passes through various moments and stages. Its growth is usually gradual, although specific events in a person’s life can lead to rapid advances. For example, the birth of a first child is a milestone that can suddenly wake a person up to the implications of this new responsibility. Or going through serious economic hardships can result in a new evaluation of what is truly important in life, etc.

The transforming power of grace is a significant factor in the path to maturity. We see in the better known saints their high ideals, their firm convictions, their humility (the most adequate self-concept), their boundless creativity and initiative, their capacity for self-giving and love shown in deeds, their infectious optimism, their effective and universal openness, expressed in their apostolic zeal. A clear example of this is the life of St. Josemaría, who from his youth felt the action of grace in strengthening his personality. Despite confronting many difficulties, when still quite young he felt within himself a peace of mind out of the ordinary: “I believe that the Lord has put in my soul another characteristic: peace—the ability to have peace and to give peace—judging by what I see in the people I deal with or whom I direct.”[9] The words from the psalm could quite appropriately be applied to him: Super senes intellexi quia mandata tua quaesivi[10]: I have more understanding than the elders, because I keep your commands. But all of this is compatible with the reality that maturity is usually acquired over time, through confronting the failures and successes that are part of the working of Divine Providence.

NOTES:

[4] Saint Josemaria, The Forge, 468.

[5] Mt 13:8.

[6] Saint Josemaria, The Way, 947.

[7] Saint Josemaria, The Way, 496.

[8] Col 3:14.

[9] Saint Josemaria, Intimate Notes, no. 1095, quoted in Andrés Vázquez de Prada, The Founder of Opus Dei, vol. I, Scepter, New York 2001, p. 481.

[10] Ps 118 (Vulgate).

EXCERPT FROM “A PERSONALITY IDENTIFIED WITH CHRIST”. READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Advertisements

Top Posts & Pages

Archives

Categories

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,260 other followers

Follow Catholics Striving for Holiness on WordPress.com

Blog Stats

  • 1,218,666 hits

Instagram

ST. AUGUSTINE ON THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD.. From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop (caps mine). Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. FOR JUST AS HE REMAINED WITH US EVEN AFTER HIS ASCENSION, SO WE TOO ARE ALREADY IN HEAVEN WITH HIM, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies. CHRIST IS NOW EXALTED ABOVE THE HEAVENS, BUT HE STILL SUFFERS ON EARTH ALL THE PAIN THAT WE, THE MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, HAVE TO BEAR. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food. WHY DO WE ON EARTH NOT STRIVE TO FIND REST WITH HIM IN HEAVEN EVEN NOW, THROUGH THE FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE THAT UNITES US TO HIM? WHILE IN HEAVEN HE IS ALSO WITH US; AND WE WHILE ON EARTH ARE WITH HIM. HE IS HERE WITH US BY HIS DIVINITY, HIS POWER AND HIS LOVE. WE CANNOT BE IN HEAVEN, AS HE IS ON EARTH, BY DIVINITY, BUT IN HIM, WE CAN BE THERE BY LOVE. HE DID NOT LEAVE HEAVEN WHEN HE CAME DOWN TO US; NOR DID HE WITHDRAW FROM US WHEN HE WENT UP AGAIN INTO HEAVEN. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body. OUT OF COMPASSION FOR US HE DESCENDED FROM HEAVEN, AND ALTHOUGH HE ASCENDED ALONE, WE ALSO ASCEND, BECAUSE WE ARE IN HIM BY GRACE. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is n
TO MOTHER MARY AND ALL MOTHERS, OUR SINCERE GRATITUDE TO WHO YOU ARE AND ALL THE YOU DO!
OUR PRAYER FOR ALL MOTHERS. In some countries, especially in the Philippines. Mother's day will be celebrated this Sunday, May 13, 2018. Let us thank God with prayers and deeds for giving us the wonderful and irreplaceable gift of having our mother. Let us thank all mothers as well for all the love and sacrifice you have given us your children, but above all for the gift of life. Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
ASCENSION OF OUR LORD: THE GLORIFICATION OF THE SACRED HUMANITY OF CHRIST. "Now the Master is teaching his disciples: he has opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and he appoints them witnesses of his life and his miracles, of his Passion and Death, and of the glory of his resurrection (Luke 24:45 and 48). Then he brings them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany and blesses them. And as he does so, he withdraws from them and is carried up to heaven (Luke 24:51) until a cloud takes him out of their sight (Acts 1:9). Jesus has gone to the Father. Two Angels in white garments approach us and say, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to heaven?” (Acts 1:11). Peter and the others go back to Jerusalem — cum gaudio magno — “with great joy” (Luke 24:52). It is fitting that the sacred humanity of Christ should receive the homage, the praise and adoration of all the hierarchies of the Angels and of all the legions of the Blessed in Heaven. But you and I feel like orphans: we are sad, and we go to Mary for consolation." -St. Josemaria, The Holy Rosary, 2nd Glorious Mystery
OUR SINCERE GRATITUDE AND PRAYERS TO MOTHER MARY AND TO ALL THE MOTHERS IN THE WORLD! O Mother of mothers, you are yourself one. Pray for, guide and protect all the mothers in the world, so that they may love their children in the same way you loved your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOTHER MARY AND TO ALL OF YOU, DEAR MOMS! THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR LOVE AND SACRIFICE! WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOTHER MARY! OUR LADY OF FATIMA, PRAY FOR ALL THE MOTHERS, PRAY FOR US!
DAILY FATIMA PRAYER.
OUR PRAYER FOR ALL MOTHERS. As we prepare for Mothers' Day this year which falls on May 6 or 13, 2018, let us thank God with prayers and deeds for giving us the wonderful and irreplaceable gift of having our mother. Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
A WAY OF SHOWING YOUR LOVE TO OUR LADY FROM ST. PADRE PIO.
TOMORROW IS THE 1ST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH. Here is a short prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May we honor and love her, imitating her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and as we do, let us pray for the conversion of many souls and in reparation for the sins of humanity. Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
HUMILITY: NECESSARY TO PLEASE GOD. St Peter the Apostle speaks to us of the need to be humble if we are to please God. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble, 1 Pet 5:5.” Nothing can separate us from God as much as pride. • A heart that is filled with self-love has no room for God. • The holiness we seek can be summed up in the words that John the Baptist spoke of Christ: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Our Lord's life must increase within us until we become "other Christs", and our intellect and our will, our powers and our affections, all we are and all we do, become entirely his. • Humility is essential if we are to achieve complete self-giving, and if we are to become channels by which God's grace can reach mankind. As St. Josemaria wrote: “Let us be humble. Let us seek nothing but the glory of God. Our life of silent and hidden self-giving should be a constant act of humility. Humility is the foundation for our whole life, the means and prerequisite for our effectiveness. Pride and vanity might attract us to the vocation of a Chinese lantern, which shines and sparkles for everyone to admire, but which lasts only one night and then goes out, leaving no trace behind. Vita vestra est abscondita cum Christo in Deo. (Your life is hidden with Christ in God. What God thinks, not what other people think, is what matters.” These words of St. Josemaria light up our whole life. • Without humility, everything we do would be sterile. If we allowed self-sufficiency and pride into our interior life, dialogue with God would be impossible. • In our apostolate, which should be based on friendship, pride would put a barrier between us and others, and make it impossible for us to help or understand them. • Our cheerfulness also depends on our being humble, because it is humility that enables us to lead an authentic existence, in which we aim to serve God and others, but without being worried about appearing less than perfect, and without letting our faults upset us. “Humility prevents us from becoming discouraged at our own faults. Our Father God knows what kind of clay w
BLESSED POPE PAUL VI ON MAY, THE MONTH OF MARY. “The month of May is … a month which the piety of the faithful has long dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. Our heart rejoices at the thought of the moving tribute of faith and love which will soon be paid to the Queen of Heaven in every corner of the earth. For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God's merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother's throne. We are delighted and consoled by this pious custom associated with the month of May, which pays honor to the Blessed Virgin and brings such rich benefits to the Christian people. Since Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which we are led to Christ, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ likewise. For what other reason do we continually turn to Mary except to seek the Christ in her arms, to seek our Savior in her, through her, and with her? To Him men are to turn amid the anxieties and perils of this world, urged on by duty and driven by the compelling needs of their heart, to find a haven of salvation, a transcendent fountain of life.” Blessed Pope Paul VI, Enc. Mense Maio, nn. 1-2 CSFH PHOTO of La Virgen y el Niño, by Armando Pareja
ST. JOSEMARIA ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST Jesus has remained within the Eucharist for love... of you. He has remained, knowing how men would treat him... and how you would treat him. He has remained so that you could eat him, so that you could visit him and tell him what's happening to you; and so that you could talk to him as you pray beside the Tabernacle, and as you receive him sacramentally; and so that you could fall in love more and more each day, and make other souls, many souls, follow the same path. (The Forge, 887) The humility of Jesus: in Bethlehem, in Nazareth, on Calvary. But more humiliation and more self-abasement still in the Sacred Host: more than in the stable, more than in Nazareth, more than on the Cross. That is why I must love the Mass so much ('Our' Mass, Jesus...) (The Way, n. 533) When you approach the Tabernacle remember that he has been awaiting you for twenty centuries. (The Way, 537) There he is: King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, hidden in the Bread. To this extreme has he humbled himself through love for you. (The Way, 538) Jesus has remained in the Sacred Host for us so as to stay by our side, to sustain us, to guide us. And love can only be repaid with love. How could we not turn to the Blessed Sacrament each day, even if it is only for a few minutes, to bring him our greetings and our love as children and as brothers? (Furrow, 686) Go perseveringly to the Tabernacle, either bodily or in your heart, so as to feel safe and calm: but also in order to feel loved... and to love. (The Forge, 837) Keep struggling, so that the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar really becomes the centre and the root of your interior life, and so your whole day will turn into an act of worship — an extension of the Mass you have attended and a preparation for the next. Your whole day will then be an act of worship that overflows in aspirations, visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the offering up of your professional work and your family life. (The Forge, 69) Build up a gigantic faith in the Holy Eucharist. Be filled with wonder before this ineffable reality. We have God with us; we can receive him every day and, if we want to, we can speak intimately with him
TOMORROW IS THE FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH (MAY 4, 2018). SHORT PRAYER OF CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART. Sacred Heart of Jesus, filled with infinite love, broken by my ingratitude, pierced by my sins, yet loving me still, accept the consecration that I make to You, of all that I am and all that I have. Take every faculty of my soul and body, and draw me, day by day, nearer and nearer to Your Sacred Side, and there, as I can bear the lesson, teach me Your blessed ways. Amen.
GOD CALLS US ALL TO HOLINESS AND HE WILL GIVE US THE GRACE TO LIVE BY OUR MISSION. LET US HAVE RECOURSE TO THE SOURCES OF HIS GRACE. Pope Francis recently reminded us in Gaudete et exultate of our divince vocation to holiness. Yes, you and I as well, for "This is God's will, our sanctification" As such, we must not be afraid of holiness, but rather desire and strive for it, absolutely certain that God will provide us the graces we need in the means He has put within our reach: prayer, sacraments and sacrifice.Let us then have frequent recourse to the sources of His grace. Mother, Help of Christians, pray for us! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
SACRED HEART OF JESUS: SHORT PRAYER OF CONSECRATION.
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: