Yesterday was the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo.
In one of his sermons he says “I admit we are all weak, but if we want help, God has given us the means to find it easy”.
One may wish to lead a good and holy life. They may wish to be chaste and to live a life of virtue. However, this person does not resolve to use suitable means for this to happen. We need to move beyond just wishing for things to happen.
He stresses the importance of prayer, the avoidance of the occasion of sin.
He addresses distractions during prayer. He encourages us to prepare for prayer, especially by asking God for the grace to pray, and to meditate.
St. Charles also encourages us to actively build on the sparks of love in us.
He encourages us not to spend too much time in useless chatter. We need to cultivate times of silence and quiet in our lives.
If we are trying to help others make good choices, we need to preach by example.
“Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.”
How important this is for us who are parents, teachers, or leaders!
When we try to help others, it is important not to neglect our own spiritual life.
“Do not give yourself so completely that you have nothing left for yourself.”
It is not an either-or situation.
We, of course, give of ourselves when we help others. However, we need to love our neighbour as we love ourselves! There is a healthy love of self as distinct from self-preoccupation.
He stresses the need for meditation.
Meditation is about being in touch with the inner self. In this inner self God is present in a very real and special way. We need to give God a chance to speak to our hearts. We need to make some time everyday to stop and be refuelled from the ‘well within’.
In our interactions with others, to remind ourselves how deeply loved by God we are. It is easy to react out of our presuppositions and prejudices and prejudgements.
So, let us not drift through life, but decide to love, to live our Christian life, and put into practice the means for this to happen.