Category Archives: Virtues

Another share on Charity…

As I have been trying out the living of another virtue, Charity, I have been preparing to write my own blog entry on the subject for the past week. But other people’s blogs keep seeming so appropriate and fun to share. I must say that the Lord has once again asked me to be charitable here in my own space…

Haley Stewart, writer of Carrots for Michaelmas, provided a surprising piece on the virtue cinderella castleof charity as seen in the current version of the movie, Cinderella.

Another great revelation about this story? It’s Christian foundation! Read Father Robert Barron’s great article about it here, if you haven’t already!

Its a movie I will be seeing as soon as possible for a fun night out. Imagine a product of Hollywood with no doubts about whether it is appropriate! Worth spending the money on an actual theater viewing!

shutterstock_247370791 …and in view of the virtue I am trying to live out I will pay for a ticket for the person in front of me when I go…I challenge you to do the same as a small piece of your Lenten almsgiving!

May God send you blessings…

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Charity (def): Sharing something good

So we are moving on to the virtue of charity. If you know me, you will know that I LOVE perusing the Internet for luscious tidbits and I have to admit I have dug myself to the outer limits of the ethers on occasion. Always indulging my curious mind!

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As an act of charity and goodwill, I am going to share with you someone else’s writing on Mary’s ardent virtue of charity. Then I will be going to Reconciliation to repent of my envy of her wonderful blog site! Kudos Christy!

Christy from Fountains of Home, a young Catholic mother of five, finds time to love the Lord, her family and friends and shares all about the ups and downs of life in her blog. She has that wonderful humorous outlook on life that as women and moms we all need to tap into!

Last year she wrote this amazing blog on Mary’s virtue of charity…so glad I can share it with you! Hope you enjoy it!

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

The Rewards of Humility

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

Next week, we will be moving on to another virtue, but we will not leave humility behind. Putting this virtue in the forefront of my daily life has been quite revealing and it is summed up by this verse from Galatians.

Moving through the day and deciding what tasks on the ever-growing list were pulling at me most ardently took on a new character. I found myself more aware of the fact that many of the items were strictly what I wanted to do. No one had asked me to do them, they were just things pulling at me from my endless pile of “good ideas”. This awareness actually allowed me to relax (just a little!) and sort out the real priorities.

Because we are in the season of Lent, I had lofty ideas of getting up at the crack of dawn everyday, spending a couple of hours in prayer and writing, going to Mass everyday, not watching any TV at all, and of course, eating nothing but healthy food! And I have to admit that last year this was my Lenten plan and it went very well!

white flowers

But I am in a different place this year. Last year’s Lenten observances were a practice that moved me into a deeper relationship with God leading to a fuller life in His Spirit and with His people. So this year Lent has to be for the person I am now. And she is someone that God wants to slow down and actually enjoy the life she has been blessed with. Someone that needs to learn to stop and listen and be less task oriented. Someone who needs to stop “shoulding” herself and beating herself up for the things she didn’t get done.

Why is this so important to humility? Because we are to do nothing that God has not put on our list, at least until we talk to Him about it. When we get caught up in our own “important-to-do” list and are feeling overwhelmed, it is a clear sign that we may be caught up in our own need to be important or good. Become a servant of Christ today.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Mary’s Lesson for Us on Humility

I promised you last week that I would write today about how the Blessed Mother serves as our greatest model of the virtue of humility…and I must say, I really needed to do this lesson for myself! It is a virtue that we tend to learn through recognizing its absence, for when arrogance, pride, and self-importance make themselves known in others, we likely feel an urge to turn away and discredit any good works the person may be doing. Ahhh…here again is the Evil One at play!

AnnunciationWhen Mary gave herself to the Holy Spirit to become the mother of Christ, I must wonder if she had any idea what was happening to her. If she did, would she have accepted so readily? Without a deep relationship with God, probably not. Her Jewish heritage showed her the way of blessings was through obedience,  so when the angel Gabriel appeared, even though frightened, she gave her consent because she loved God so much.

Her humility was shown throughout her life in that she was in constant, prayerful communion with God, listening for His direction. She did not make decisions on her own without consultation in prayer and a knowledge that the action she took was guided by God’s will for her. What we know as ego, was probably very subdued in this woman of God.

In our world, there is temptation to be successful and popular. This temptation is easily used by the Devil to lure us into believing that because our idea has to do with work of the Church or ministry to others for Christ it is okay. Well, let’s take a minute. What are our real motivations? Money, to be known by many, promotion of our own visions and ideas? These are so hard to sort out!

Again, take a look at Mary. Nothing she did took higher priority than that which God had Mary with Elizabethplanned for her, but she did not let the other duties of her life go by the wayside. One example is that she visited her cousin, Elizabeth, at a very difficult time in her own pregnancy, a time where she could have easily been shamed and left behind by Joseph. She could have hidden herself. Her willingness to charitably support her cousin led her to an experience that would confirm the angel’s message and calm her fears, and the verification that she indeed was carrying the Savior.

If we wonder why there is not more about Mary in the Scripture, there are many speculations, but one is that the most important things she did are revealed to us. We may be quite curious to know more about her, but the interactions recorded in the Bible are lesson enough for us.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo in Franciscanum, the official blog of the Franciscan Archive gives us a list of ways to put our good works ideas to the “test” for humility.

1. Does it stir up our pride or vanity?
2.  Will its accomplishment require us to neglect the other duties of our life?
3. Will its fulfillment put us in the way of those sins to which our nature draws us most easily?
4. Will the works bring the conversion to the ignorant and/or consolation of spirit to the faithful?
5. Do the works increase our virtue and lead us to hear God’s true call to other work to be done for Him?

stainedglassmaryqueenIf what you are longing to do can pass these tests and you have been brought to them by prayer and sacrifice in order to see clearly, forge ahead!

If you are having difficulty in discernment, seek the advice of your pastor or a spiritual director.

I hope this is a help in your path to holiness. Be blessed as we enter into the Lenten season.

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Praying for humility

mary humility 1Prayer is the foundation of developing a virtuous life. It is the key that opens the door in our soul to seeing with our spiritual eyes.  As I read this prayer today, the urge to shut that door was strong! I have been working so hard to be a good person Lord! But there are so many areas that I need to clean up!

So I start this prayer with a loud groan and crying out to you Lord for your mercy and grace as I continue this path each day, having to start over so many times, even within a day.

To think about:  Where in my life do I need to take a second look? When do I forget that it is not me, but our Lord, who has ensured my successes? Do I think myself better than others and forget each of us is created by God? 

The Litany of Humility
Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
 
provided that I may become as holy as I should…

May your day be blessed with ease of being a steward of the mercy of Christ!

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Learning to Live a Virtuous Life

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues: hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. – Augustine of Hippo

humility-will-felixTo my readers: Over the next year I will be focusing frequently on the living the virtues of Mary in our everyday lives. As St. Augustine so aptly stated above, it is important for me to start my journey with humility. I have much room for growth and I hope you will enjoy taking this journey with me. May our Blessed Mother guide us and keep us close to her heart, bringing our wishes to serve her Son to his feet that He may make us ever aware of our unique purpose.

My realization of the necessity of the virtue of humility began last year during my preparation for a presentation at the Maryland Catholic Women’s Conference  at Mt. Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, I partook of the process of consecrating myself to Mary. I had purchased the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael Gaitley,  a few years before, but the upcoming event prompted me to search for it.

Here is another God moment share:  I actually found the book (this is no small feat in our queenship of maryhome that could pass for a public library) and as I flipped through its pages I found a list of Marian feast days on which are appropriate to end the consecration. Surprise, surprise. The conference was the weekend of October 11, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary (of course if you google “Marian Feasts” you will see that virtually every day of the year is a feast day for Mary!)   Not only that, but on the day I found the book, I counted back 33 days from the feast, and found if I started on the next day I would finish on that feast day. Coincidence? I think not. I was just listening carefully to my soul’s message to engage the spiritual powers of Mary while I prepared my talk. Fear (or rather pride) will do that.

Now, each morning begins with a Hail Mary before I get out of bed, with a Rosary from my iPhone app  while I do morning stretches. My friend, Mary, is with me throughout my day and the Hail Mary is an antidote to worries and brain chatter. She refocuses me on her Son, Jesus Christ, and brings me out of my own little world to a more humble state of mind.

My favorite saint, Teresa of Avila, defines humility as living in the truth (“andar en la verdad”). Humility is knowing the truth of yourself, seeing yourself clearly, especially our deeply hidden shadows, many of which we have learned to hide even from ourselves, and presenting them for the difficult, but rewarding process of healing. Our Blessed Mother had no shadows, but she did have trials and tribulations. She handled them with the trust placed in her heart at her Immaculate Conception.

humility-is-a-precursor-of-successThe process of my consecration journey revealed surprise shadows…not happy surprises, but their revelation brought a joy of knowing I am in good hands in transforming them to spaces of light. As we move forward through the month of February, I will share my journey and the steps we can take together in building our foundation for virtuous living.

Hail Mary, full of grace…be with us each moment connecting us with the graces of unconditional mercy your Son offers for our healing.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!