Usually, I would write a homily for Sundays. But this is one of the rare Sundays when I have invited a priest to preach and I get to take a break from preaching. However, I want to use this opportunity to offer an invitation to those who follow my blog.
I want to invite you to perpetually participate in the spiritual life of St. Anthony’s Parish, Uitenhage, where I am working. I have so far, introduced to the Parish the spirituality of reflecting on one virtue every month. Usually, I will use different opportunities within the given month to speak to the Parish and explain what the given virtue is all about, hoping that I know much about it myself. My best day for teaching is on Tuesday evenings during the perpetual novena to Our Mother of Perpetual help.
WHY ARE THE VIRTUES IMPORTANT?
The virtues are important for many reasons. But one that stands our for me is that they are the opposite of sin. Every virtue has an opposite sin. Therefore, the practice of Christian virtues is the best way to stop sinning. Usually, we will preach and tell people to stop committing a particular sin. But we do not usually tell them what to do in place of the sin. The reason why the child cries when you take away his/her toy is basically because you have not replaced the toy with anything. In fact, if you offer the child something better than the toy, the child may throw away the toy without realizing it. The magic is that while you are busy practicing the virtues, you cannot be sinning at the same time.
For example, instead of telling someone how bad it is to steal, you teach the person the wonder of generousity. Instead of telling a person not to tell lies, you encourage them to always tell the truth. While they are busy telling the truth, they cannot at the same time be busy telling lies, at least not on the same matter.
There are many virtues to choose from, but I have chosen 12 virtues for the year (one for each month of the year) for our annual reflections. Therefore, at the beginning of every month, a new virtue is introduced and explained throughout the month and each person and family will try to see how much they have grown and are growing in the particular virtue. We expect some kind of self evaluation at the end of the month. The list of the virtues and their corresponding months are as follows: January- Faith, February- Hope, March- Love, April- Prucence, May- Justice, June- Fortitude, July- Temperance, August- Humility, September- Meekness, October- Chastity, November- Generousity, December- Diligence.
Please note that this is not an official mandate of the Church, but a selection made personally by me from virtues which I consider very neccessary in the life of Every Christian. Therefore, do not feel obliged to follow this kind of reflection if it doesnt appeal to you, but my advice is that you may want to try it first before rejecting it.
We are approaching the last week of April, our month of Prudence. You still have about 8 to 9 days to reflect on this virtue in relation to yourself. Even if you are not able to do a good job with that this year, maybe next year you will be able to go deeper.
I am aware of the kinds of questions that this invitation might evoke, but this is an invitation and will not be enough to explain every virtue in detail. The good news is that these reflections are perpetual. We have not gotten to our destination. We are on a journey and I am inviting you to become an active member in this journey with the Christian Virtues. Many blessings for the week ahead.