Teach them yourself

From Teaching Religion at Home by Mary Reed Newland

The notion that one must be specially educated to teach religion to one’s small children can be disposed of immediately by examining the lives of saints whose parents were unschooled, even illiterate. Literacy is hardly a requirement, but the success of such mothers as Assunta Goretti and Margaret Bosco dispose of the "I don't know enough" excuses.

Image:   At the Summit, Moonlit Night by Edward Potthast

Image: At the Summit, Moonlit Night by Edward Potthast

Père Auffray writes of Margaret Bosco:

This poor unlettered Piedmontese woman had a subtle sense of true education. Neither anything nor anyone, neither the Priest as a preacher nor as a catechist, nor the teacher in his school, can replace the mother: she alone can fashion the heart. A high and noble duty which Margaret Bosco instinctively understood; and how she devoted herself to doing it! 

At the bottom of this education, as at its top, was God. She would seize the least opportunity of impressing this thought of their Creator in its various aspects upon the hearts of her sons. On a starry night she would take them out and say: "All the stars are wonderful; it is God who put them there. If the sky is so lovely, what must paradise be like?" Or else, in the presence of one of those magnificent dawns which tinge the snowy girdle of the Alpine horizon with a ruddy glow: "What wonders God has made for us, dear children!" If hail had destroyed the humble family vineyard wholly or in part: "Let us bow our heads!" she murmured. "God gave us these beautiful bunches of grapes, and now He has taken them away. He is the Lord. It is a trial for us, for the wicked a punishment." And on a winter evening, when the family was huddled together round a flaming log and the north wind was whistling or icy rain was hammering on the roof: "Dear children, how we should love God for providing us with what is needful. He is indeed our Father who is in heaven.”

It was not only for the needs of the body that this watchful mother was so vigilant; more than all she took thought for the training of the soul, and she began by feeding her children's minds with the pure teaching of the faith. She could neither read nor write, but she knew all the catechism by heart, and Scripture history and the life of our Lord as well. From her memory all this living doctrine, patiently doled out, was passed on into the minds of her boys. She might have found some excuse in her daily care for handing over this work to the zeal of the curé of Castelnuovo; but in Italy, at that time, the catechizing of children took place only in Lent, and that meant for these children walking more than six miles a day; she preferred to teach them herself everything she knew, trusting to her work being checked or completed by the curé of the parish.

Image:  The Grace by Franz by Defregger

Image: The Grace by Franz by Defregger

This early Christian teaching, falling from his mother's lips, explains much in the harassed childhood of little John Bosco. It explains, in short, why the bitter poverty, the hard work, the ill-tempered jealousy of a cloddish half-brother did not warp the mind and destroy the spirit of this brilliant, dedicated, game little boy whom God had destined to be a great shepherd of souls. 

Margaret Bosco, Assunta Goretti, Charles and Brigid Savio (not illiterate, but simple people) cancel out our excuses. God did not make a mistake when He left the teaching of the little ones to the parents instead of the scholars. It might be said, with all due respect, that the scholars know too much to teach them, for small children learn best truths that are simply taught in the language of their daily lives by means of the love of their parents. Like Margaret Bosco, we have the catechism, Holy Scripture and, in the Gospels, the life of our Lord. Unlike Margaret Bosco, we can read. "She might have found some excuse in her daily cares for handing over this work." But she did not. "She preferred to teach them herself—everything she knew."

Perhaps this is the difference between the parents of the saints and the others.

Dear Precious One: Decisions

Dear Precious One,

There will be many times in your life where I will need to make a decision that will not only affect my life, but will also affect your life and our life together. I want you to know that I will never make one of these decisions without spending a great deal of time in prayer, seeking only God’s will for us. I promise that I will always choose God’s will over my own feelings and opinions. We might not necessarily expect the things that God has in store for us, but I know that we can rest in His plan. And I pray that you can rest in knowing that I will forever take care of you in this way.

 
the-mothers-cloister-hellebore.jpg

As Much as a Mother Can Love Her Child

Image:  Saint Louis and his mother Blanche de Castille stained glass window in the nave of the Saint Louis, Church, Saint-Louis-en-l'Isle, Dordogne, France

Image: Saint Louis and his mother Blanche de Castille stained glass window in the nave of the Saint Louis, Church, Saint-Louis-en-l'Isle, Dordogne, France

Not too long ago, I read a quote in the front of a book. Although I cannot remember which book, I do remember the quote. It really struck me when I first read it because it seemed so severe. But I think about it quite often.

Every Sunday at Mass, I kneel in prayer and my eyes will often gaze upon the beautiful paintings above the Altar. One of the portraits is of Saint Louis IX, King of France. Each time my eyes fall on his portrait I am reminded of the quote, which seemed so harsh at the time, but has curiously become rooted in my heart. The quote was spoken to Saint Louis by his mother when he was a child.

"I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a single mortal sin."

So many things come to mind now when I think of the profound meaning of these words of a mother to her child. I think first of the most important thing that I, as a mother, want for my child. For my child to know God, to love Him and to serve Him in this world, and to be with Him forever in Heaven. What I want most of all, above all things, is for my Little One to be with Jesus forever in Heaven. To never be separated from Him. To be wholly His for all eternity. Indeed, a mortal sin separates us painfully, terribly from God. And yes, death would be better than this separation. I must wholeheartedly agree.

I think also of how we live in a culture that wants to minimize sin. But temptations are real, sin is real. the spiritual battle is real. What we do matters. And if we are not talking to our children about these things, then they will be unprepared not only for the world, but also for the spiritual journey. Our children need to be raised with a clear and deep understanding of sin, of Heaven and hell, of what it means to love God and do His will. Especially in an age where anything goes and sins are often celebrated.

Image:  Saint Louis Xi, King of France, artist unknown

Image: Saint Louis Xi, King of France, artist unknown

But isn’t this quote still a bit too radical? I have come to believe that we need to be challenged to greatness. We are all capable of it. The road is not easy, but our children are worthy of this great and noble call. Wanting anything less than Sainthood for our children simply wont’t do. I believe that we can all rise to the challenge, but we must be given heroic and eternal purpose, we must be pushed with boldness and daring to the heights of sanctity, we must have grand and epic expectations.

True, we love our children exactly as they are in all their brokenness, in all their sins and failures. And when they fall, we will be the first to rush to them, to be with them in the hurt, and to help them stand up and try again. We encourage them to repentance and healing, to seek forgiveness and to sin no more. We nurture them with tenderness and mercy. But we also love them too much to want anything less for them than an eternity in Heaven with our Lord. The true definition of love is to will the eternal good of the other. And what is good for a soul is nothing less than Heaven. The road to Heaven is narrow. And all the Saints have lived lives of radical fidelity until the very end.

So we must courageously say the same words to our own children as Saint Louis’ mother spoke to him. And we must do so while loving them as much as a mother can love her child. Let us pray that our children become Saints. Let us do everything we can to help them to get there.

Saint Louis IX, King of France, ora pro nobis, pray for us.

Holiness


Image:    The Virgin in Prayer by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato

Image: The Virgin in Prayer by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato

FROM MODEL OF HOLINESS - MARY, MOTHER OF GOD BY DEACON FOURNIER

"Holiness is not about looking pious. It is about being selfless.

In the original languages, the words in Holy Scripture which are translated into the English word "holy" mean set apart or consecrated to God's service, given over to God and His worship. We are called to be set apart for the living God, to be holy, in a world which has become steeped in sin and selfish ambition.

This happens through conversion, or "metanoia", which, in Greek, means "to change." We are called to say "Yes" to a relationship with Him. That call is not a one time event but a continual invitation. Mary is a model, a pattern, of this holiness to which we are all called through our Baptism into Christ and His Body, the Church.

The Lord has invited each of us into an intimate, personal, exchange of love with Him. Mary is a model to imitate. She walked in holiness of life and points us along the path to Her Son. Each of us can say "Yes" to God, right now, wherever we are. Each of us can respond with our entire being, with a "Fiat" of surrendered love as she did.

When we do, we can participate in the life of the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We become sons and daughters "in the Son", and enter communion with the Holy Trinity. Conversion involves the exercise of our human freedom to choose God and the fullness of his plan as revealed in Jesus Christ.

As we lose ourselves in Him, we find ourselves again, made new and completed. This holy exchange-our life for His-is the essence of the spiritual journey. It is not about power but powerlessness. It is not about increase but decrease. It is not about becoming greater but about becoming smaller. In short, true spirituality is about surrender.

Mary teaches us to stay afloat in the ocean of life, with all of its undertows. The same God who became incarnate within her takes up His residence in us through Baptism. He invites us to live "redemptively" for others, to become dwelling places through which Incarnate Love comes alive for all those around us. We are to respond as Mary did. She is the model of holiness."


Beautiful is the Woman


Image:    A July Morning by Daniel Ridgway Knight

Image: A July Morning by Daniel Ridgway Knight

FROM THE MOTHER OF GOD - MODEL OF HOPE: ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN ANSWERING THEIR CALL TO BEAUTY BY SISTER HELEN PASHKEVICH, SSMI

“In the beginning God created Man, in the image of Himself; in the image of God He created him, male and female.

From the very beginning God spoke one Word, "person" and two expressions appeared, man and woman. They were to complement and supplement each other in the image of God their Creator: man by his fidelity to Truth; woman by her faithfulness to Beauty. Both by their response to the Mighty One who does great things in them.

Who is woman? What is she? What does it mean to be called woman? By God? By man?

Woman is a call to Beauty. To be a woman is a calling, a task to be fulfilled, not just a fact to declare. Being a woman is a vocation to be beautiful, not the kind of attractiveness that is exposed and exploited in today's advertisements that use the body of woman as a Thing, as a tool to sell their products. A woman's beauty is one of mystery, of hidden interiority, of withinness. It is a kind of beauty which comes from Goodness...

   ...in the heart that is open to kindness

   ...in a mind which seeks after wisdom

   ...in a heart that is faithful through suffering

   ...in a whole presence that is full of graciousness and a strength that comes from within.

To be a woman is to say in many different ways and yet in all uniqueness:

   I am beautiful before God

   I am beautiful before man

   and beautiful before children

   when I am most truly woman.

The task given woman by God is to be that kind of presence and inspiration through which others can find their way to the Father. This is the task Jesus gave woman--to be that kind of presence and inspiration that will lead others to God. He says of woman as He said of Mary: Behold this woman:

   Behold this mother.

   Blessed is she who does the Will of the Father, who says LET IT BE DONE UNTO ME.

   And the lines of inner beauty Jesus drew up in the Sermon on the Mount.

Image    Peasant Girl Daydreaming by J ean-François Millet

Image Peasant Girl Daydreaming by Jean-François Millet

Beautiful is the woman who is poor. Like a field of daisies, she freely gives fragrance and delight to all who come to her, never contending for the center of attention--simply wishing that others live in the gladness of the day.

Beautiful is the woman who is poor, who is a fountain that channels waters, empty of self and in her emptiness is rich with God's love for others. This is woman in her giving, possessing nothing for herself, letting others come through, and praising the gifts they have, helping them manifest potentials given them by God in their person and by their talents.

Beautiful is the woman who knows her own limitations and accepts them. Like a growing plant, she, too, is fragile but tenaciously strong, because she depends upon Someone greater than herself. And in this faith brings light out of darkness, hope out of failure.

Beautiful is the woman whose poverty echoes a liberating simplicity. such a woman is like a well-built dam that holds back flood waters of violence, hatred, resentment, anger. she is one who can change the shape of a whole situation through her inner strength; she can stem the tide of misunderstanding, take out the debris of gossip and remove the obstacles that prevent refreshing waters from flowing freely. She is the woman who continues to generate life, and her power in shaping the future cannot be measured in merely human estimates.

Beautiful is the woman who knows how to cry with others, to grieve with the sorrowful. The strength and love of God flow through her outstretched arms to others. Woman is that kind of bridge who finds God in prayer and through this relationship balances all things. I am sorry that LeeAnn Makar is not with us today. I think she is someone who answers her call to beauty extremely well.

Beautiful is the woman with a gentle spirit who can bring others into possession of themselves. She is the woman charged with sensitivity. She is the woman who can stand without defenses, because her inner strength rests not in herself but in God. Like a green-covered mountain, with its inner core of power, her values and convictions, too, are gently camouflaged with delicacy and patience.

Beautiful is the woman who can stand quietly in the midst of confusion. She is able to make decisions in the face of contradictions and lets others grow in spite of mistakes and failures. Like a tree that endures the lightening, rain, and snow, she can transform the dark and destructive into light and wholeness.

Beautiful is the woman who takes leadership in defending the helpless, the aged, the handicapped. And more beautiful is she who has the perception to see the needs of her children and her husband, her neighbor, and in seeing gives to them. Such a woman complements and supplements all she touches and all that touches her. We need to reflect on the lives of our mothers and grandmothers to realize that our church is built on the strong foundation of their faith.

Beautiful is the woman who excels in showing mercy, who can be compassionate with those that have strayed, with those who lack understanding, with those who hold a different vision. Such a woman identifies with the downtrodden, the helpless, the sinner, because she faces her own weakness and need for help from others. She is like a seedling emerging from the soil, ready to reach out tenaciously toward the light of Truth. She is the woman who listens with an open heart, and by her attentiveness teaches.

Image:  by Johann Georg Meyer von Bremen

Image: by Johann Georg Meyer von Bremen

Beautiful is she who leads others to understanding. Like a cobblestone walk she is strong and supportive, providing a solid foundation that helps others move ahead more freely in carrying their own burden of existence.

Beautiful is the woman who is pure, who stands empty before God ready to conceive Him, to give Him in every relationship, in every situation. She is the woman who can stand empty before others and let them unfold in the beauty of their essence. In standing empty, she does not count the cost of breaking, nor the pain of sacrifice. She does not seek recognition for what she does, nor keep a list of failings.

Beautiful is she because she is empty of resentment, jealousy and knows how to remain faithful with a single heart.

Beautiful is the woman who is a peacemaker, She is like leaven, whose bread of love, sympathy and care makes a difference in every home. She is that kind of bread that enlightens and raises life to a new level of thinking and living.

Beautiful is the woman of peace. Her laughter and sense of humor bring joy, a kind of gentle light over everything. she is one who never takes herself seriously, because she lives in God who is beyond the whole world and greater than everything. she is never restricted by the greatest, and yet she knows how to remain enclosed in the smallest. She is like the hearth-fire that warms the chill, warms the atmosphere, brightens the room, brings others to a relaxing leisure.

Beautiful is the woman who is a peacemaker. She is the one who can take up the opposite stands of life, and in weaving the tensions produces a whole new pattern of texture, design and color.

Beautiful is the woman who brings unity where differences existed, who knows how to dissolve bitterness with a word of forbearance. She is like the open door, extending hospitality without distinction or prejudice.

Image :    Nursing by Aurelio Arteta

Image: Nursing by Aurelio Arteta

Beautiful is the woman who gives life. She is like the earth, open, receptive, present, often taken for granted. And like the earth she, too, is capable of changing what is brought to her into something finer, richer, and more lasting. She can take the cries of little ones, the complaints of adolescents, the criticisms of neighbors, the doubts of friends, the taunts of relatives--all the debris of negativism and cynicism, and miraculously transform these cast--offs into a power of new vitality. Like the earth she brings what is needed to a thirtyfold, a sixtyfold, a hundredfold abundance.

   She is the valiant woman who makes an impact--the one called by God to bear witness to His Beauty.

   Who is woman? What is she?

She is God's call to Beauty, the one who holds a singular place in the cosmos, the one whose destiny will never occur again. God has never breathed the same breath into any woman before. And He never will again.

Father, You who created and called us to be woman, increase in us your love, made for everything small and everything great. Grant that we may continue the joy, the praise of Mary -- Woman above all women.”


For Those Whom I Hold Dear


Image:    Unknown

Image: Unknown

MORNING PRAYER BY SAINT THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX

“O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.

O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity. 

Amen.”


Homewards


Image:    Homewards with Mother by Hugh Cameron

Image: Homewards with Mother by Hugh Cameron

 
 
 

"You have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way."

Saint Francis of Assisi


I Thirst


Image   : Penitent Mary Magdalene by Francesco Hayez

Image: Penitent Mary Magdalene by Francesco Hayez

FROM THE I THIRST LETTER BY SAINT TERESA OF CALCUTTA

"I Thirst, I quench"

+LDM

25 March, 1993

Varanasi

My Dearest Children — Sisters, Brothers, and Fathers,

This letter being very personal, I wanted to write in my own hand —  there are so many things to say. Even if not in Mother’s hand, still it comes from Mother’s heart. Jesus wants me to tell you again, especially in this Holy Week, how much love He has for each one of you — beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus — one to one — you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel — but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus — not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying “I thirst” in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person — not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say “I love you” — impossible. 

Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead — meditation-only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him — speaking in the silence of your heart. Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living Jesus. The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes — to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more — He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close.

He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes — He is the one who always accepts you. My children, you don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you.

Only believe — you are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feet — only open your heart to be loved by Him as your are. He will do the rest. You all know in your mind that Jesus loves you — but in this letter Mother wants to touch your heart instead. Jesus wants to stir up our hearts, so not to lose our early love, especially in the future after Mother leaves you. That is why

I ask you to read this letter before the Blessed Sacrament, the same place it was written, so Jesus himself can speak to you each one.

Image:    Child Kissing Jesus on the Cross, Artist Unknown

Image: Child Kissing Jesus on the Cross, Artist Unknown

Why is Mother saying these things? After reading Holy Father’s letter on “I thirst,” I was struck so much — I cannot tell you what I felt. His letter made me realize more than ever how beautiful is our vocation. How great God’s love for us in choosing our Society to satiate that thirst of Jesus, for love, for souls — giving us our special place in the Church. At the same time we are reminding the world of His thirst, something that was being forgotten.

I wrote Holy Father to thank him. Holy Father’s letter is a sign for our whole society — to go more into this great thirst of Jesus for each one. It is also a sign for Mother, that the time has come for me to speak openly of the gift God gave Sept. 10 — to explain as fully as I can what means for me the thirst of Jesus. For me Jesus’s thirst is something so intimate — so I have felt shy until now to speak to you of Sept. 10 — I wanted to do as Our Lady who “kept all these things in her heart.”

That is why Mother hasn’t spoken so much of I Thirst, especially outside. But still, Mother’s letters and instructions always point to it — showing the means to satiate His thirst through prayer, intimacy with Jesus, living our vows — especially our 4th vow. For me it is so clear — everything in MC exists only to satiate Jesus. His words on the wall of every MC chapel, they are not from the past only, but alive here and now, spoken to you. Do you believe it? If so, you will hear, you will feel His presence. Let it become as intimate for each of you, just as for Mother — this is the greatest joy you could give me. Mother will try to help you understand — but Jesus himself must be the one to say to you “I Thirst.” Hear you own name. Not just once. Every day. If you listen with your heart, you will hear, you will understand.

Why does Jesus say “I Thirst”? What does it mean? Something so heard to explain in words — if you remember anything from Mother’s letter, remember this — “I thirst” is something much deeper than Jesus just saying “I love you.” until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you — you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him. The heart and soul of MC is only this — the thirst of Jesus’s Heart, hidden in the poor. This is the source of every part of MC life. It gives us our Aim, our 4th vow, the Spirit of our Society. Satiating the living Jesus in our midst is the Society’s only purpose for existing. Can we each say the same for ourselves — that it is our only reason for living? Ask yourself — would it make any difference in my vocation, in my relation to Jesus, in my work, if Jesus’s thirst were no longer our Aim — no longer on the chapel wall? Would anything change in my life? Would I feel any loss? Ask yourself honestly, and let this be a test for each to see if His thirst is a reality, something alive — not just an idea. “I Thirst” and “You did it to me” — remember always to connect the two, the means with the Aim. What God has joined together let no one split apart. Do not underestimate our practical means — the work for the poor; no matter how small or humble — that make our life something beautiful for God. They are the most precious gifts of God to our Society — Jesus’s hidden presence so near, so able to touch. Without the work for the poor the Aim dies — Jesus’s thirst is only words with no meaning, no answer. Uniting the two, our MC vocation will remain alive and real, what Our Lady asked.

Be careful choosing retreat preachers. Not all understand our spirit correctly. They may be holy and learned, but that does not mean they have the grace of state of our vocation. If they tell you something different than Mother is writing in this letter, I beg you not to listen or let it confuse you. The thirst of Jesus is the focus of all that is MC. The Church has confirmed it again and again — “Our charism is to satiate the thirst of Jesus for love and souls — by working at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor.” Nothing different. Nothing else. Let us do all we can to protect this gift of God to our Society.

Believe me, my dear children — pay close attention to what Mother is saying now — only the thirst of Jesus, hearing it, feeling it, answering it with all your heart, will keep the Society alive after Mother leaves you. If this is your life, you will be all right. Even when Mother leaves you, Jesus’s thirst will never leave you. Jesus thirsting in the poor you will have with you always.

That is why I want the Active Sisters and Brothers, the Contemplative Sisters and Brothers, and the Fathers to each one aid the other in satiating Jesus with their own special gift — supporting, completing each other and this precious Grace as one Family, with one Aim and purpose. Do not exclude the Coworkers and Lay MCs from this — this is their call as well, help them to know it.

Image Bottom:    Pieta by Gustave Moreau

Image Bottom: Pieta by Gustave Moreau

Because the first duty of a priest is the ministry to preach, some years back I asked our Fathers to begin speaking about I Thirst, to go more deeply in to what God gave the Society Sept. 10. I feel Jesus wants this of them, also in the future — so pray Our Lady keeps them in this special part of their 4th vow. Our Lady will help all of us in this, since she was the first person to hear Jesus’s cry I Thirst with St. John, and I am sure Mary Magdalene. Because she was there on Calvary, she know how real, how deep His longing for you and for the poor.

Do we know? Do we feel as She? Ask her to teach — you and the whole Society are hers. Her role is to bring you face to face, as John and Magdalene, with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified. Before it was Our Lady pleading with Mother, now it is Mother in her name pleading with you — “Listen to Jesus’s thirst.” Let it be for each what Holy Father said in his letter — a Word of Life. How do you approach the thirst of Jesus? Only one secret — the closer you come to Jesus, the better you will know His thirst. “Repent and believe,” Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness, He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you. He is not bound by time.

Whenever we come close to Him — we become partners of Our Lady, St. John, Magdalene. Hear Him. Hear your own name. Make my joy and yours complete. Let us pray.

God bless you.

M. Teresa, MC


A Sense of Humor


Image:    Picking Wildflowers by Daniel Ridgway Knight

Image: Picking Wildflowers by Daniel Ridgway Knight

FROM A RIGHT TO BE MERRY BY MOTHER MARY FRANCIS, PCC

"The term "sense of humor" has lost much of its fundamental significance in these tortured times of ours, even to the extent that it is often vaguely thought to be something associated with telling jokes and laughing at them. In point of fact, it is a thing rooted in the Divine, for a real sense of humor is what balances the mysteries of joy and sorrow. Without it, we can never hold a true perspective on ourselves or on others. The saints were the true humorists. The better poets were humorists. The ability to see through things and to know what is important and what is not, what is to be endured and why we endure it, what is to be tolerated out of compassion and what is to be extirpated out of duty, is dependent upon one's sense of humor. Without the one, we cannot possess the other. A group of dour females with their jaws set grimly for "perfection" and their nerves forever in a jangle would turn a cloister into a psychopathic ward. The joyous, high-spirited girl with a feeling for the splendid sense of things and the delicious non-sense of things is the one most likely to persevere in the enclosure.”