Thought for the Day – 23 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Christian Formation of Character
“Our temperament is often a burden to ourselves and can, at times, be the source of annoyance to others.
If we do nothing about it, it can be the cause of failings or of extremes of behaviour on our part, which we bitterly regret afterwards.
It is necessary, therefore, to form character in accordance with Christian principles.
We are in no danger of losing our individuality, by training our character in this way.
God’s grace does not change nature but elevates and improves it.
It is like a shoot, which we plant in the uncultivated soil of our own being.
The first fruits may be sour but after a while, they grow sweeter, while still preserving the essential taste and aroma of the mother-plant.
St Jerome was a headstrong and austere character and he continued to be so, even after the grace of God had transformed him and made him holy.
But his rugged nature was, at the same time, softened and strengthened by divine grace.
St Augustine had a great intellect and a great heart.
When he abandoned philosophical sophistry and worldly vanity, in order to dedicate these gifts to the service of God, he achieved a profundity of thought, never before attained by Christian wisdom.
We should behave in the same manner.
If we are hot-tempered, we should convert this tendency to anger, into hatred for sin.
If we are enthusiastic by nature, we should turn our enthusiasm into love for God and for our neighbour.
If we are high-spirited and energetic, we should devote ourselves to good works, for our own salvation and to the apostolate of souls.
How far have we advanced in the Christian transformation of our character?
Let us examine our progress and resolve to do better.”