Day 10, in which I continue my study of the saintly hubby I’ve been blessed with.
Some of my observations on how he lives his life:
- He reads his Bible or a spiritual reading book every single day, first thing in the morning.
- When, several years ago, we were struggling with having a regular family prayer time, he instituted the Rosary rule, so that we say the Rosary every single day as a family, and if we’re separated for whatever reason, we still say the Rosary as a group (one group may say it in the car, another may say it at home).
- He is kind to everyone, a couple of times to a fault where people took advantage of him.
- He rarely loses his temper — it takes A LOT to anger him. (The downside of this is that his stress builds up and it comes out via his skin or asthma or just health-related stuff.)
- When we’re at any social gathering, he will usually seek out the person that no one seems to want to talk to, like an elderly person.
- He’s always looking to do good things for others. When someone dies or gets sick, he never fails to make a call, send an e-mail or a card.
- He has some kind of “rule of life”, though he has never read St. Benedict. Contrast that to me — I’ve read parts of St. Benedict’s Rule and the whole Mother’s Rule of Life — and I still make the excuse that “routines and schedules are just not me”.
- He uplifts people, even if it’s just, like tonight, with a cheery “Good evening” to the hotel employee who directs us to the elevators, and a sincere “Thank you” to the usher who opened the door for us.
- He never fails to thank, or praise, or express appreciation for people no matter their state in life or how big or small the accomplishment or help provided.
- He doesn’t hold grudges.
- He will avoid conflict if he’s determined that it’s an unnecessary one.
- He doesn’t worry about things that can’t be helped, as he considers worrying a waste of energy.
- He focuses on solutions.
- He looks out for the good of everyone, and especially the underdog, which is why he is so loved by the people he manages.
- He doesn’t allow himself to get overwhelmed, and tells me when I am to simply focus on doing “One thing at a time.”
- He’s happy to stay in the background, and doesn’t expect to be given credit for everything.
If an individual grows only in or a few virtues, but lacks others, he is either a beginner or is becoming lax.
Virtues aren’t developed independently of each other.
In the state of perfection the sundry virtues are connected also with fidelity to and perseverance in one’s duties of state in life…. the saintly person need not do extraordinary or unusual things, but he must be devoted to the daily nitty-gritty of his vocation.
During Lent, we often find ourselves making extraordinary plans of fasting from this and that in almost overkill fashion, but this is only beneficial if at the end of Lent we don’t return to baseline but instead operate at a higher level of holiness or saintliness. Perhaps for some of us the overkill is the boost we need to restart or jumpstart a stagnant faith life…. but maybe for others a better strategy instead of going from 0 to 120 in five seconds would be to simply make incremental adjustments until the body/mind/spirit adjusts, i.e., waking up five minutes earlier in order to pray five minutes more each day, rather than waking up an hour earlier then failing because the goal was set too high.
These seem to be the goals I need to work toward:
– the habit of virtue — a good disposition at ALL times.
– love needs to be the primary motivation for each action
– radiating joy, finding the silver lining in every situation so that even pain or suffering doesn’t bog me down
– maintaining a calmness no matter the external circumstances in which I find myself
My resolution for tomorrow is to sit for some time with the hubby and find out more how he developed these virtues in himself. I’ve always thought of them as a function of his temperament and personality, but I can see with clarity now that temperament and personality could also be deadly excuses for not answering the call to be saints, if we’re not careful.
Finally, Fr. Dubay ends with a reference to Psalm 34:8
O taste and see that the Lord is good!
Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!
and something about participation in the celebration of the Mass. Hm. I’m eager to find out what he says next about this.