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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Plate Act

Dear Sister,

Can you advise me on how to grow in virtue? Are there any books on the subject that you recommend?

Thank you and God bless, Jenna

Well, that's a big bite to try and swallow. Certainly, there are smarter and more virtuous people than me to tackle this one. St. Thomas Aquinas springs to mind.

He's hard to read, really, for most of us.  I admit that in all humility, one of the seven Heavenly Virtues. Here's your check list:
1. Chastity
2. Temperance,
3. Charity
4. Diligence  (you're going to need that to do the other six)
5. Patience
6. Kindness
7. Humility

So, to be more virtuous, all you have to do is be chaste and pure according to your station in life, achieve balance in your dealings and mental state, give generously of your love, talent and goods, work hard at everything you do, give everyone else a break, treat everyone with kindness and stay humble, especially when you become perfect from doing all of this.

Did that help?

I'm joking.  It can all seem overwhelming.  Rather like you're always doing that plate juggling act.  Remember that?  The juggler has a line of poles, he spins a plate on the top of the first pole, the second the third, the fourth and by then the plate on the first pole is slowing, so he runs back and spins it again and then runs over to the fifth pole and puts a plate up there but by now the second and third plates are slowing so he runs back.....

I feel his pain. 

It's a lot to try to do a whole plate act right off the bat.  I'm sure the juggler just starts with one.  I'd go with humility.  Once you've got that one spinning, the rest are not so hard. If you can just keep three plates going, you'll be well on your way to have all seven spinning merrily away. To practice, do this:

1. Say thank you.  To everyone for everything (God too!) all the time.
2. Say I'm sorry, frequently, whether it's because you have erred or because you feel empathy with the pain of others..
3. Say I love you.

Before you know it, you'll be able to balance a chair on your head with your Grandma in it while you spin those plates.  Let me know when that happens. I'd love to see it.


Daily Grace said...

This is wonderful! It reminds me of a "spoonful of sugar" from Mary Poppins because you make a great point and it's easy to swallow!

Thank you!

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Wonderful post!

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Here from the etsy blog team. : ) Wonderful post!

Leigh said...

I love reading your blog, your humor and your down to earth compassionate approach. I feel go when I come here, and that's an awesome service to provide. So today I'll thank God for Sister Mary Martha :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,

Wow, I wasn't expecting such a quick response and what great advice! Saying "thank you, sorry and I love you" more often is sorely needed in our lives. I will try and tackle some Aquinas while I'm at it.

Thank you and God bless,


Marion Teague said...

Hi sister, I've just been looking at your shop, but am confused how to contact as I just get a window wanting me to register with Etsy. Do you have a medal for St Oscar Romero, as I have been asked to be Godmother to an Oscar.

Lynn said...

With Lent coming soon, I needed something to post by my computer to remind me to "try to be good" to paraphrase the title of a Sanford Phippen book from Maine.

Thank you, especially for the eminently practical only-three-things-in-the-air-at-once tip.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Dear Marion, I'm sorry I don't have that saint in a medal, but I may be able to make you a glass pendant. If you look in the shop, you'll see a few listed. The pictures are blurry but the actual items are not. I just don't have a fancy camera.

Marion Teague said...

Thank you Sister, a glass pendant of St Oscar would be splendid. (St Wilgefortis would be right for me - fortunately my saintly husband took me beard and all!)You'd better let me know the correct way of ordering one. I'm in England, btw.