Ash Wednesday- The Ornament of Humility

This Lent we are sharing a treasure for meditation- rare conferences not easily found in English, by a Visitandine Superior, Mother Marie-Philomène Maujoüan du Gasset, of Nantes France, (1818-1896) whom we wrote about as a mystic in a previous post.

In this first meditation,Mother Marie Philomene addresses humility as a key characteristic for our souls’ Lenten journey.

“In order that the good God may bless this holy time, on which we are entering today, we must become permeated with the spirit of Holy Church, while listening to the instructions she gives us.

She tells me that the time of Lent is a time of penance, and hence, we should commence this Holy Quarantine in sentiments of penitence, of contrition, of humility. These sentiments are not difficult to conceive, when we recall all the goodness of God, all that Our Lord has done for us, and our little correspondence to His graces.In seeing all that our Sovereign Master has done for your souls, each of you will find I assure you, wherewith to humble oneself in discovering that these graces have not produced what Our Lord had a right to expect. You have not drawn from them the profit that your souls should have received, advantages which were not small, as they were to be for Eternity.

To keep alive within yourselves these sentiments of contrition and humility, reflect upon these words that Holy Church recalls to us: “remember, man. That thou art dust  and into dust thou shall return.”

What then is dust? And what account is made of it?

Poor dust! It is thrown out by everyone, no one wants it, see, as soon as it is perceived, it is removed, every means is taken to expel it, to remove it.

Yet, this dust is not guilty dust, yet the dust that our bodies will produce, after our death, will be the dust of a guilty person, the dust of one who has offended her God and who has offended Him so grievously, that to repair this offense, it required divine love entire, to make Our Lord resolve to become incarnate in His creature, to dwell among us, to suffer all the time that He spent upon earth, and to die upon the Cross.

See how guilty we are! We have caused the death of our God. Understand from this, the evil that sin does, not only to our soul, but also to the good God, in the manner possible.

Such are the sentiments  with which Holy Church inspires me, sentiments of humility, lowliness and contrition,inspired by the recollection of our faults.

Decorate your soul with the ornament our Lord loves. This ornament is humility.  Ornament yourselves with these virtues  in order to please HIM.”

Our newest Monastery in NKUE, Equatorial Guinea, Africa

Chatting about: Friends and Imperfections

  1. Saint Francis really builds upon what we’ve been discussing over the last few weeks. He explains why it is spiritually safe to keep ourselves from unhealthy relationships/friendships. Here Saint Francis offers us insight. He mentions that true friendship tolerates imperfections, but desires for a friend to improve. How do we find this balance in our friendships/relationships?
  2. Why is it important that Saint Francis make a distinction between imperfections in our friends and sins? How do you detect the difference?
  3. St. Francis talks about three types of relationships: 1) that based on vice, which is not really friendship, 2) that based on mere “temporal profit”, and 3) that which is based on virtue. What are some examples of the second one? Is there anything wrong with this type of relationship?


Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) And now for question 1. The imperfections of a friend might lead us to try to help him/her overcome it. But if that does not occur, we can gently and patiently accept that limitation (as long as it is not sinful).

Feb 26 2017, 7:36 PM


SrSusan (Guest): For Q 1 we all have limitations so we would have no friends if we did not accept each other7:46 PM

Carol Ann: That is so true Sr. Friends of different types and backgrounds can make us stronger2017, 7:47 PM

SrSusan (Guest): and friends do give each other adviceM



Feb 26 2017, 7:47 PM

SrSusan (Guest): I think we advise each other here


Feb 26 2017, 7:47 PM

SrSusan (Guest): many times


Feb 26 2017, 7:47 PM

Ruth (Guest): True. And I am so grateful that my friend Miriam accepts ME even though she often has to remind me that “that’s more detail than I need

9 PM

Dawn (Guest): true Ruth!

Feb 26 2017, 7:49 PM

Ruth (Guest): I think it is, at least sometimes, important to WAIT to be ASKED for advice, not give it too soon or it sounds to the hearers like you are judging them.

Feb 26 2017, 7:50 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) How does she accept that Ruth? I have a friend who is constantly telling much more about what she is doing in her life than I really need, or want to know. I can’t get up the nerve to tell that it is more than I need to know.

Feb 26 2017, 7:50 PM

Dawn (Guest): when you have a friend that accepts your limitations….this is a friend indeed!

, 7:53 PM

Dawn (Guest): sometimes the person sharing much, needs us to be a listener, out of charity. something I felt recently with others…two separate occasions

Feb 26 2017, 7:54 PM

SrSusan (Guest): Direct is best but we are not all gifted that way- some people dance around subjects


SrSusan (Guest): and keeps others guessing

Feb 26 2017, 7:54 PM

Ruth (Guest): Judy, I have another friend, Jane (She’s just retired from working as a lab technician) who ALWAYS gives way more details than I feel really comfortable hearing, but I just accept that that is the way she is — detail oriented, life long. I listen for say twenty minutes to a story that someone else would tell in three minutes. It helps me to appreciate the problem Miriam has with me!

7:56 PM

Ruth (Guest): Yes, I think especially in the hospital setting, and maybe it is also mainly a “male” thing, some people just want the bottom line.

Feb 26 2017, 7:57 PM

SrSusan (Guest): Imperfections are not always distinguishable from sins or rather we treat another’s imperfections as if they were sins, sometimes

7:57 PM

Ruth (Guest): Often it is easier to write or tell — for me anyway — a LONG story than to summarize.

Feb 26 2017, 7:57 PM

SrSusan (Guest): In a monastery where we do not do much talking in general we also get used to the bottom line

17, 7:57 PM

Carol Ann: Yes, and that can be a burden on the one with the imperfections because they feel judged7, 7:58 PM

Ruth (Guest): If I have to write a short paragraph on a particular topic, often I have to write and rewrite it many times, to manage to be accurate without using too many words.

Feb 26 2017, 7:58 PM

SrSusan (Guest): alot of pain over critisized imperfections

:59 PM

Carol Ann: We all have imperfections that we must rely on God to overcome in us. Too much criticism could lead to despair


Feb 26 2017, 8:00 PM

Ruth (Guest): Often, when I shorten a statement, I feel like I am distorting the truth just a little. And maybe I am, simply in order to say something simply.

1 PM

SrSusan (Guest): Do yu think the disciples and apostles were friends

Feb 26 2017, 8:01 PM

Lisa C: Yes, I think that they were good friends

Feb 26 2017, 8:01 PM

Lisa C: They shared Jesus

Feb 26 2017, 8:01 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) Imperfections in friends can be accepted; but sins must be rejected An imperfection, E.G. procrastinating, eating too fast, being picky, having negative thinking patterns can be accepted. Sins are actions which go against the precepts of the Gospel (love your enemy, care for the poor ,worship the Lord, modesty and chastity, for example). These could bring about the demise of a friendship rather than risking falling into the same sinful patterns ourselves.

Feb 26 2017, 8:02 PM

Carol Ann: Gossip is the worst. It destroys friendships families parishes


Feb 26 2017, 8:02 PM

Ruth (Guest): Sorta’ — friends who bicker among themselves a good deal: “Who’s the greatest?”

, 8:03 PM

Ruth (Guest): That’s in regard to the Apostles.

Feb 26 2017, 8:03 PM

Dawn (Guest): do you think an inability to be direct and open to others is connected to gossip..easier to talk about than to someone?


Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) I think it is more related to a fear of rejection.

Feb 26 2017, 8:05 PM

Carol Ann: Dawn, I think that inability is caused by having be e n burned by gossip. How to recover from the discovery that your confidante has betrayed you?


Feb 26 2017, 8:05 PM

Lisa C: The Apostles were selected from all walks of life and left home and traveled with Jesus. Maybe they would not have been friends if left on their own, but they were together with a common purpose. They left their families and all had God and each other to depend on. They had to be friends.

Feb 26 2017, 8:05 PM

Dawn (Guest): I have understood the disciples were friends but they did have bickering or disagreements

Feb 26 2017, 8:05 PM

Lisa C: It is similar to soldiers who go away together and have nothing in common to begin with and become very close over time.

7, 8:06 PM

Ruth (Guest): I suspect that several weeks ago I was misunderstood when I mentioned that I thought modesty was relative, that is situational. PURITY is an absolute standard, but modesty of dress, I still think, relates to the situation. You wouldn’t “dress” the same with your spouse in bed, than when giving a lecture at a professional meeting. But in BOTH situations, you should practice modesty and purity. PM

SrSusan (Guest): Common purpose- yes; and in that the risdk of gossip means risking the purpose so it may be less likely to occur



Dawn (Guest): helpful comparison Lisa, and I guess they were soldiers8:10 PM

SrSusan (Guest): Jesus’s friends were all sinners

Feb 26 2017, 8:10 PM

Ruth (Guest): What we understand by “friends” can vary a great deal.

Feb 26 2017, 8:10 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) Friendships based on mere “temporal profit” Examples: becoming friends with someone because he or she can advance your career; someone who has some connection with a team so that you can get tickets cheaper or more easily; solely for the purpose of learning a skill or craft which the other does well; with people of a certain class so you can be seen as one of the “in” group.

7, 8:12 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) they might be considered wrong because they are not true friendships but relationships entered into out of selfish motives.

Feb 26 2017, 8:12 PM

Ruth (Guest): Except for Jesus, and his Holy Mother, we are ALL sinners.

8:12 PM

Carol Ann: This might also be what we used to call acquaintances


Feb 26 2017, 8:12 PM

SrSusan (Guest): true


Lisa C: I do not think that friendship based upon temporal profit has to be wrong. For example, Interns, Residents, Fellows, Attendings are set up in a hierarchy for the purpose of training, but do become friends.

Feb 26 2017, 8:13 PM

Lisa C: The Interns receive training and take close care of the Attendings’ patients.

Feb 26 2017, 8:13 PM

Lisa C: Mutual benefit

Feb 26 2017, 8:13 PM

Ruth (Guest): When Pope Francis was asked “WHO are you?” His reply was “I am a sinner who has received the mercy of God.

Feb 26 2017, 8:13 PM

Ruth (Guest): Or something to that effect.

Feb 26 2017, 8:14 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) I think that’s different from choosing people based on what they can do for you.

8:14 PM

Lisa C: The motive mattersM

Ruth (Guest): Not his name, his office, his membership in any group . . .

Feb 26 2017, 8:15 PM

Ruth (Guest): Yes, acquaintances is a far more accurate term for many of our relationships.


SrSusan (Guest): A friend is usually one of the heart

Feb 26 2017, 8:17 PM

Dawn (Guest): neighbors are different, I thought I read a distinction St F made.

Feb 26 2017, 8:17 PM

Ruth (Guest): There are friends and there a friends. Companions, peers, buddies, fellow . . . would also be words for some of these relationships.

8:18 PM

SrSusan (Guest): or one with whom one shares one’s heart17, 8:19 PM

Carol Ann: We have lost a lot of our vocabulary, other generations would know what each of those relationships entailed


Feb 26 2017, 8:19 PM

Ruth (Guest): And a spouse should also be a friend, but not all true friends can or should be in a spousal relationship . . .

017, 8:20 PM

Dawn (Guest): the deeper the friendship, when we were talking about spiritual friendships, when there is a mutual goal of growing closer to God, these are a gift ( said) received. I think of …never the two before the one

Feb 26 2017, 8:21 PM

Ruth (Guest): The ONE you mean?

Feb 26 2017, 8:21 PM

Dawn (Guest): yes Ruth! thank you



Ruth (Guest): The One Triune God.

Feb 26 2017, 8:22 PM

SrSusan (Guest): Jesus talked seriously about friends “i no longer call you servants but friends” He is our model in friendship


:23 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) He truly gave Himself for all people, sacrificing even His very life.

Feb 26 2017, 8:23 PM

Ruth (Guest): Just wondering, Did Jesus EVER call His Disciples “Servants?”

Feb 26 2017, 8:25 PM

Ruth (Guest): He — The Incarnate Son of God — was the “Suffering Servant” described by Isaiah.

Feb 26 2017, 8:25 PM

Carol Ann: There was the story of the servant who was told not to expect a reward for doing his duty


Feb 26 2017, 8:26 PM

Ruth (Guest): Yes, “He will just say, ‘I am an unworthy servant.'”

Feb 26 2017, 8:26 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) I’m checking my concordance.

Feb 26 2017, 8:27 PM

Lisa C: The parables have many references to servants

8:27 PM

Ruth (Guest): Yes,

Feb 26 2017, 8:28 PM

Ruth (Guest): and in the letter (which one was it?) there is the

Feb 26 2017, 8:29 PM

Lisa C: St. Paul refers to himself as Jesus’ servant

29 PM

Guest9860 (Guest): (Judy) As far as I can see, Jesus did not call His Apostles servants but in His parables He may have compared them to servants.

Feb 26 2017, 8:29 PM

Ruth (Guest): Opps! that posted before I finished.

Feb 26 2017, 8:30 PM

Carol Ann: We are His servants because we do as He instructs. And He calls us friends if w d do as He commands

7, 8:31 PM

Ruth (Guest): “He did not make Himself equal, but emptied Himself . . . becoming like a servant to many”34 PM

Carol Ann: Yes, I could do that. Would it be alright if I emailed people who witnessed what happened to Sr Margaret Mary for more details if what they remember?


Feb 26 2017, 8:35 PM

SrSusan (Guest): Yes time goes so quickly. Ash Wed is upon us. Have a good beginning of Lent!

Feb 26 2017, 8:35 PM

Lisa C: In Acts when they are talking about Joel prophesying God is calling us servants.


Carol Ann: Blessed Ash Wednesday to us all!