Eternal Spiritual Maxims

Eternal Spiritual Maxims

Philippians 4:8: For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.

Saint Augustine says: "To regulate the motions of the soul is the office of interior mortification." Sin begins in the heart, soul and mind. Interior mortification is aimed at rooting out sin from the deepest recesses of our interior, where it begins and takes root. Our goal is totally pure thought. Now purity of thought extends far beyond the sixth Commandment to all of our thinking. Consider that the sins against the Eighth Commandment begin in our minds. Yes, detraction, calumny and gossip all come from our minds and vomit out of our mouths. "But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man." (Matthew 15:18) Indeed much that flows from our mouths and today from our keyboards defiles us, so we must change this by purifying our hearts and changing our way of thinking.

Let us begin on working on purifying our minds in order to practice interior mortification. To do this Saint Alphonsus says: "And above all, it is necessary to impress deeply on the mind certain fundamental spiritual maxims, such as: “God alone deserves to be loved. Sin is the only evil which we ought to hate. Whatever God wills is good. All worldly goods shall have an end. The most insignificant action, performed for God’s sake, is more profitable than the conversion of the whole world, effected from any other motive than the love of God. It is necessary to do what at the hour of death we would wish to have done. We ought to live on this earth as if there were nothing in existence but God and ourselves.” He whose mind is continually filled with holy maxims suffers little molestation from earthly objects, and is always strong enough to resist his corrupt inclinations. The Saints kept their souls always occupied with the truths of eternity, and thus in the time of temptation, were almost insensible to the goods or the evils of this life." Over the next several months we will take each of these fundamental spiritual maxims to heart.

Let us begin by considering just how impure our minds actually are. Let us go over the list of fundamental spiritual maxims Saint Alphonsus sets before our minds:

God alone deserves to be loved.

Sin is the only evil which we ought to hate.

Whatever God wills is good.

All worldly goods shall have an end.

The most insignificant action, performed for God’s sake, is more profitable than the conversion of the whole world, effected from any other motive than the love of God.

It is necessary to do what at the hour of death we would wish to have done.

We ought to live on this earth as if there were nothing in existence but God and ourselves.

Have we taken issue with any of these maxims? Do we want to find some way to minimize any of these? If so, our mind is impure. In the world it is easy to adopt wrong thinking. In fact, we should consider that we have adopted wrong thinking and need to come to the fountain of truth in order to wash wrong thinking away. The world has always been a cesspool, but today it is far worse. We do not need to take time to prove this, we should already know this to be true. Instead our time must be spent in the fountain of truth washing away all wrong thinking.

What would you do, if you were pushed into a cesspool? You would get out and take a shower, possibly several. In fact, I have a friend, who fell into a 'honey pot' in Korea, which is what they call a cesspool. He had to take five showers to get clean! We will also spend much time in eternal truth in order to rid ourselves of all wrong thinking we have absorbed from the world around us. The Scriptures must be our constant companion, then the writings of the Fathers of the Church and of the other Saints.

Over the next several months we will take time to learn these fundamental spiritual maxims and take them to heart. Let us consider first the Great Commandments of love. This first, compiled from Sacred Scripture is this: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, thy whole soul, thy whole mind, thy whole understanding and all of thy strength." We are to surrender everything to Almighty God without reserve. Notice the word whole, which appears in Scripture. Also notice the word all. Whole and all, indicate everything. We hold absolutely nothing back for ourselves, but surrender all into God's hands.

The second commandment of charity is to love our neighbor for the love of God. The Fathers of the Church tell us that if we do not love our neighbor, then we do not truly love God. If we truly love God, then we will love our neighbor. Jesus tells us: "But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust." (Matthew 5:44-45) Let us remember that our enemies are also our neighbors.

Saint Paul asks the Galatians (4:16): "Am I then become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Truth has an ugly daughter, hatred. There are two possible reactions to truth, acceptance and hatred. And sometimes standing for and telling the truth brings out this ugly daughter, hatred. We should remember Scripture: "A time to keep silence, and a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:7) There are many times we should remain silent, and then there are times that our duty requires us to speak. Let us think well on this, for today many have the habit of speaking, when they should keep silence. Instead of speaking, let our way of life be a silent sermon about how to live by the Gospels. And this is why we need to purify our mind. Wrong thinking leads to wrong actions.

We recommend you take the list of things Saint Alphonsus recommends you think about and write them down and begin thinking about these fundamental spiritual maxims. It is by these spiritual maxims we should live. They will be the beginning of purifying our mind and heart.



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