Loving our Failure: Salesian Insight on the virtue of Humility and Abjection

Sr. Mary Virginia Schmidt, VHM

Sr. Mary Virginia Schmidt, VHM

by Sr. Mary Virginia Schmidt, VHM

“[H]ow do we deal with failure that is so much a part of our lives?” – S. Mary Virginia

We are, most of us in the US, infected with the virus of perfectionism – in all areas: business, science, religion… It is the heart of advertising, is it not? So how do we deal with failure that is so much a part of our lives?

St. Francis de Sales, in his lists of little virtues, has one that he calls “love of our own abjection.” It is not one of his more popular virtues, probably because we do not know what it means, especially in a society that values success so much. Basically it means to love our failure and humiliations — our wretchedness. If we pay attention to these, they always teach us something.

St. Francis de Sales, Co-Founder of the Visitation Sisters

St. Francis de Sales, Co-Founder of the Visitation Sisters

“That Humility makes us love our own Abjection”
– Title of Chapter VI of St. Francis de Sales’ “The Devout Life.” 

The Gospel teaches us how to pay attention and be still in order to learn. So to love a failure is a form of humility which acknowledges our littleness and imperfections: our share in the suffering of Christ. We learn our need for mercy.

Actually it is one of my favorite virtues, one that I make frequent use of. It is one that will not make me proud and one that teaches me that I am never removed from God’s mercy.

Amen.

Summer Vegetable Treats

Delicious!

by Sr. Mary Virginia Schmidt, VHM

It was one of those HOT summer days. Sister Mary Frances prepared the grill on the back deck. She filled some foil “baskets” with onions, strips of carrot, bright red and orange peppers, cherry tomatoes, fresh green beans, and asparagus spears… She added garlic, basil from our garden, Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper;  cooked the vegetables on the grill for about half an hour.  What a meal they made: colorful, tasty, nutritious, elegant!

The rest of us prepare the same ingredients in different ways, all equally delicious.
Fall will bring us squash and cabbage! Yum.

I am coming to the conclusion that the children who stop by should get a vegetable for a treat instead of a cookie.  What do you think?

Pray with the Windows Open

Image from Inspiration Bit

Image from Inspiration Bit

by Sr. Mary Virginia Schmidt, VHM

“Never pray in a room without windows,” Joan Chittister counsels.

“Pray with the windows open,” suggests Mother Theresa. I realize that such advice is because prayer is not just about me.

What does Jesus mean by praying in secret to the Father?

As I look out my window I see the school bus picking up children from the drug house across the street; I hear the squeaking breaks and the early birds making their voices heard.

My dialogues with God always end up as monologues. But if I am quiet, still and silent in front of an open window, I would like to think that I am carried beyond myself into union with ALL; that I touch that energy that created ALL. But what experience is the open window!