Practicing the little Virtues

Cross of Inspiration

The Salesian tradition values doing the little things in the midst of ordinary and busy lives. In a very real sense, the person lives Jesus by “doing all ordinary things in an extraordinary way.” The Scriptural basis for this value is, “Come to me all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.” The primary Salesian virtues are gentleness, humility and simplicity.

In the midst of violence in contemporary society, the virtue of gentleness or graciousness has much to offer. St. Francis reminds us to be gentle with ourselves and not to become upset and discouraged by our feelings, but to pick ourselves up again and again. He counsels: “Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself.” Gentleness with ourselves leads to gentleness with others. When we learn to let go of judgmental attitudes, we become more compassionate and empathetic.

Humility always means truth. It acknowledges both our immense potential because we are made in the image and likeness of God, as well as the very real limitations that keep us from realizing that potential. We are essentially interdependent, needful of God and the assistance of others.

In the Conferences, St. Francis writes, ” simplicity is nothing else than an act of pure and simple charity, having one only aim and end, which is to acquire the love of God, and our soul is simple when in all that we do or desire we have no other aim.”

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