Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore Jesus Christ in the visits which He made during His life. He made very few, and He made them in a very holy manner, that He might merit for us the grace of sanctifying ours and of avoiding the dangers to be met with in them. What advantage for us to find in the actions of a God a pattern for our actions and also a grace to enable us to perform them aright! May our hearts be poured forth in praise and thanks at the feet of our divine Savior.
The Intentions of Visits are Rarely Christian
A Christian intention is that which proposes to itself, as the end of its action, the glory and the good pleasure of God. Now let us question the facts: is it not true that our visits have for the most part an entirely different intention? We make them from purely human and natural views; sometimes that we may amuse ourselves and find in them an agreeable pastime, to keep up intercourse with the world, to satisfy our curiosity, to hear news; sometimes to have it said of us that we are amiable and that our society is agreeable; to make our talents shine, to acquire a reputation or to preserve that which we have already attained, to gain friends who may be of service to us, and obtain positions for us and make our fortunes; sometimes even to maintain dangerous friendships or to satisfy one or other of our passions. Do we not often infuse into our visits intentions like these, which render them culpable or dangerous, or at any rate make us lose time which might be employed for our salvation?
Sins are Frequent in Visits
First, we often sin therein by words; sometimes they consist in calumnies, or turning into ridicule the defects of our neighbor, a species of gossip in which we pass the whole of society in review, and in which we destroy the reputation of every one; sometimes they are made up of worldly speeches, words in which there is too much license, uttered under the pretext of amusement and of recreation. At other times there is intemperance of language or an interruption of others who are speaking, or there is a morose taciturnity which is disagreeable to others, or a pretentious self-love which endeavors to attract esteem, which pronounces, in regard to everyone and everything, sentences from which there is no appeal, and which will not permit contradiction. It is herein that we realize the words of the Holy Ghost: “In the multitude of words there shall not want sin.” (Prov. 10:19)
Second, in visiting, we often sin by our actions; we permit ourselves to indulge in too great freedom of manners; we are too jovial and too familiar, especially towards persons of the opposite sex; we permit ourselves, and that is still more serious, a mode of dress and dances which are wanting in modesty, games and amusements in which the spirit of Christian reserve is not observed as it ought to be.
Third, we often sin therein by omissions not putting a stop, when we might do so, to all that is said in contravention of the law of charity, modesty, or any other virtue; not taking sufficient care to prevent what may give pain to others; not endeavoring to render our visits pleasant to all, in such a manner that everyone feels the happier and the better for them. Have we not sinned during our visits in one or other of these ways?
We Expose Ourselves in our Visits Entirely too Lose a Christian Spirit
Visits, says Peter of Blois, make the world revive in even the souls of those in which it was dead (Ep. 8); and, several centuries before his time, a pagan philosopher had said: “Every time that I mingled with men, I returned less a man.” (Seneca). How much more reason have we to say, I returned less a Christian! It is because, in fact, it is very rare to frequent the world without running great risk. We lose our time, we imbibe a taste for idleness, a dislike for work and a serious life, for things appertaining to religion and to our salvation; we become imbued with a spirit of effeminacy and relaxation, with all kinds of dissipations and futilities, the love of the world and of amusement; we listen to words and we see things calculated to seduce the heart; we contract dangerous intimacies; we seek to please, above all, persons of the opposite sex, and we too often meet with occasions of sin. And, to add to our misfortunes, the more visits we make, the more we desire to make; they become, as it were, a necessity of life; we multiply and we prolong them, most frequently to the injury of the duties of our position. Is not this our history?
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.
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