The Virtuous Life

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by karnala, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. karnala

    karnala Well-Known Member

    I've just read this in latest TLIG e-news:

    5. “The Virtuous Life” by: Father John Abberton

    As we honor our Holy Mother’s wishes to whole-heartedly pray the Rosary during this Lenten period, we keep in mind a few words from our departed friend, Father John Abberton. The virtuous life, as he describes it, protects us from evil.


    Some people will want to argue with the title of this talk. They will say, “Surely, the greatest defence against evil is prayer.” Others may want to highlight prayer with fasting, and others will say our greatest defence is obedience and following the Will of God. Perhaps there are those who will want to speak of the Rosary and the intercession of The Mother of God. Of course, we must not forget St. Michael the Archangel. However, it is clear from the lives of the saints, from the messages of True Life in God and from the Gospels that our greatest defence is living in union with Christ. This is what I mean by the “virtuous life”, and when it is understood in that way, we can see that all these other things are included.

    When the Virgin Mary appeared to the children at Garabandal, she asked for devotion to The Blessed Sacrament, for the Rosary and for penance, “But” she said to them “first you must live good lives.” What did she mean? What is a “good life?”

    I have been an exorcist for eleven years. During that time I have learned a lot. I have come to understand that deliverance from evil is not just about praying with people. Some troubled people are not delivered until they have begun to change their lives. Others who are delivered may suffer serious setbacks because they have not changed. Our Lord Jesus Christ warned that when an evil spirit is cast out of a person it can return and bring others with it if it sees that the place it was made to leave is uninhabited. It is not enough to cast out demons; the place that has been vacated must become the dwelling place of The Holy Spirit. Those who are severely troubled by evil spirits must be prepared to change. I am speaking about conversion. This is so important, that I believe deliverance can take place during a sincere confession of sins. If the penitent really wants to be free of evil – if he or she really wants to change – if he or she really wants to be healed, deliverance can take place through confession and absolution. The sacraments are very powerful when we truly open ourselves to God’s grace.

    I had to travel over an hour to see a woman who was severely troubled. I went to see her about five times. She had been sexually abused twice; once as a child and then later as a young woman. Her mother had been involved in spiritualism. This woman was unmarried, and had a son who was now living with his grandmother. What she had in her house and around her person was an evil spirit that seemed to be behaving as though it was her husband. She had not been baptised, but was being prepared for baptism. She wanted to be a Catholic. I told her every time I saw her that all would be well when she was baptised. I knew she would be baptised around Easter last year. I had not seen her for some time when one day I found she had left a message on my answer-phone. She told me that she had been baptised and that she was fine. She was grateful for my help, but everything was now OK. Praise God.

    Trying to live a truly spiritual life – a life of virtue, does not mean that we will not be tempted or attacked by the devil. St. John Vianney heard loud banging at his door, and he often heard the devil mocking him – on one occasion his bed was set on fire. Padre Pio was physically beaten by the devil. Most exorcists have suffered some kind of physical attack, whether this comes through someone else or through some kind of strange illness or temporary affliction of some kind. Even though physical attacks can occur, we are still protected from serious moral or spiritual attacks as long as we are trying to live in union with Christ. Everyone is tempted, and as we grow closer to God, the severity of these temptations may increase. This can be used to our spiritual benefit because the Holy Spirit invites us to do battle against our weaknesses. Temptation is allowed because by resisting it we become spiritually stronger and more able to help others in their struggles. Remember, from St. Luke’s Gospel, the words Our Lord Jesus Christ said to St. Peter: “Simon, you should know, Satan has demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail, and when you have recovered you must strengthen your brethren.” St. Paul says, “Your endurance will win you your lives.”

    Jesus also tells us not to be afraid. In St. John’s Gospel He says this to His disciples:
    In the world you will have trouble, but be brave, I have conquered the world.
    And St. John in his First letter asks, “Who can overcome the world? Only he who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” and he says, “This is the victory over the world – our faith.”

    In the True Life in God message of April 17 1992, Jesus says to Vassula, “I know how frail you are and how much Satan would like to see you annihilated from the surface of the earth, but I am by your side; therefore, never complain but accept all of your trials graciously, with love and great humility; the devil will be disarmed and will flee with these virtues; never give the devil a foothold;”

    We know that love and humility are the keys to unity. Here we are reminded that these are virtues, so we are called to live a virtuous life. There are other virtues we should have as followers of Christ. In the canticle of The Holy Spirit from June 22, 1998, we read about the virtue of fortitude. God says to Vassula:
    I have given you the virtue of fortitude to be the principle of all your other virtues in you; since I was preparing your soul for this battle of your times, where good is deformed into evil…;”

    To help Vassula endure and persevere against the forces of evil she was given the virtue of trust in the Blessed Trinity with the virtue of fortitude. The virtues are rooted in The Trinity, the “Source of Divine Love.” Love gives birth to all the other virtues. To paraphrase St. Paul, without love, everything we do is worthless. We are told to “live holy”, and this means living in humility and love and learning to practice all the virtues that are necessary for the Christian life.

    The three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are infused in us through The Holy Spirit, and there are virtues that develop as we cooperate with God’s grace. To grow in love and in all the virtues we must respond to God and we must learn to die to ourselves. The so-called Cardinal Virtues are the hinges on which all the moral virtues depend. We speak of “moral” virtues because through them, with God’s grace, we govern our passions and are able to behave according to faith and reason. These virtues are achieved through human effort aided by grace, and our personal effort is essential. The struggle to develop and live the virtues is part of our calling in Christ; we must take up the Cross every day. The Cardinal Virtues are prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. Then the so-called Capital Virtues are the opposite of the capital sins. All the virtues we strive to practice are said to flow from these: Humility, generosity, brotherly love, meekness, chastity, temperance, and diligence. The opposite vices are: Pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony and sloth.

    Trying to follow Christ in carrying the Cross; trying to die to self; seeking God’s Will and cooperating with grace enables us to enjoy and share the fruits of The Holy Spirit. These wonderful signs of True Life should be seen in all our lives: Charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    How should the victory over evil, sin and death be proclaimed? Not just with our words, as wonderful and inspiring as these might be – but with our lives. Prayer must come from the heart. “Lip-service” is of no use. We cannot pray and evangelise effectively if we are living in sin and refusing to cooperate with The Holy Spirit. We show who we are and we display the truth of our message by the way we behave towards each other. As St. John says,
    “Anyone who says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, is a liar, since a man who does not love the brother that he can see, cannot love God whom he has never seen.”

    There is more than one reason why unity is important, but here is one that needs to be recognised and proclaimed; Satan cannot abide it. Why? This is why; the unity of the Church, and then the unity of mankind will allow the image of the Blessed Trinity to be seen on earth. Brothers and sisters living in unity, praying in unity, proclaiming the same gospel and praising the same God will sanctify the earth and the whole of humanity. The power of God’s grace will force Satan and the evil spirits to run for cover, and they will be ready to be thrown into the abyss. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and we are to “become gods by participation.” This cannot happen on earth without unity and this is why the devil hates it and will do all he can to destroy it. The late Metropolitan of Sourozh, Anthony Bloom, said that the Church should be an icon of the Trinity.

    How important it is for us to grow in love and understanding of each other. It is in the holiness of life, which grows out of love, and in which all the virtues are practised, that we find our strength against the enemy. St. John Vianney, the Cure D’Ars, was not an official exorcist. One day when a possessed person came to see the holy priest it was not necessary for the Cure to say many prayers, because just being near the saint was enough to banish the demon. Let us pray by all means and use all the armoury at our disposal, if we really want to defend ourselves and others, and if we really want to have the courage to stand against the evil one and not flinch; we need to “live holy.”
  2. cadman

    cadman Member

    Thanks for posting the letter. The articles by priests usually summerize the messages and explain them quite well. I hope more priests will come to read TLIG.

    I recently read a Medjugorje message reminded me about the part about praying with the heart (third last paragraph):

    January 25, 2007 "Dear children! Put Sacred Scripture in a visible place in your family and read it. In this way, you will come to know prayer with the heart and your thoughts will be on God. Do not forget that you are passing like a flower in a field, which is visible from afar but disappears in a moment. (Etc.)"

    Apparently reading the bible helps with prayer? I'm not entirely sure I understood full meaning.

    Anyway, the article is a very good one. It highlights TLIG teachings on virtue very well.
  3. karnala

    karnala Well-Known Member

    TLIG e-newsletters also give us insights about "how the Lord taught her to read the Scriptures", Vassula's meetings, retreats, etc.

    Vassula In Los Angeles May 18-21, 2004

    Meeting at the Glendale Civic Centre....

    Vassula was then introduced and began her speech with The Lord's Prayer in Aramaic. She then explained that she too was once an "earthly wanderer without God" until one day she was "astonished" to meet her Guardian Angel, Daniel. In her "wildest dreams" she could not have imagined that the Lord Himself would bring her into His Court to teach her everything Himself. She explained how the Lord taught her to read the Scriptures, how to "ponder" upon the meaning of His Presence, and how very important Confession is in order to clearly see and to be cleansed of your sins. For three weeks she went through an intense daily purification of reviewing and feeling wretched about her sins. She explained it was a necessary "fire of agony burning inside" in order to make room for the Holy Spirit.

    Vassula shared that the Lord Himself wants her to tell us that "HE IS ALIVE and HE IS OUR FATHER' and that we are to love Him intimately. The Lord asks Vassula to tell us her experiences so that we may receive Hope from His MERCY to renew us, and to TRANSFIGURE us and His Church. She says we are Royal Descendents from Majesty and Splendor and that Our Father says to each one of us, "COME BACK TO ME." She went on to say that God is only well pleased with prayers that are said from the heart, that are said slowly and meaningfully, and in which you realize that you are actually speaking to your FATHER Who HEARS every word....


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