A good example from Blessed Bartolo Longo:
We have already looked at two good examples from Blessed Bartolo Longo (Pray the Rosary Daily and Deeply, Share the Rosary), yet one last good example deserves our attention before we move on to our next father and husband of heroic virtue.
The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as “the first fruits of eternal glory (CCC 1832).” These twelve fruits listed in the tradition of the Church are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (Galatians 5:22-23). Nearly all of these fruits are evident in one small habit that Bartolo cultivated to combat episodes of unhealthy aggression from his wife.
At times, Bartolo’s wife would verbally attack him with harsh, unkind, and injurious words. Bartolo would remain silent as the storm raged. Once it had passed, he would kindly and lovingly admonish his wife saying, “all things pass, let us always think of heaven.”
Blessed Bartolo Longo’s focus was so fixed on the reality of earthly life within the context of eternity that he did not fall into the temptation to win arguments with his wife or feign virtue with passive aggression. Bartolo actively loved his wife during her times of weakness by waiting until the most effective moment to speak into her heart by reminding her of their shared purpose and goal: Heaven.
The earthly bodies of Blessed Bartolo Longo and his wife Countess Marianna de Fusco rest side by side, entombed in the crypt of the Basilica of the Holy Rosary in New Pompeii.
How will I apply this? (The Challenge):
Step 1: At the end of each day, I will prayerfully examine my actions and my heart by asking: “God, where today did I lose sight of the eternal purpose and goal of Heaven that I share with others? Please show me this truth in my relationship with my wife and then in my relationships with all others.”
Step 2: As I reflect on these moments where I neglected the bigger picture and therefore fell into a distorted view of the smaller picture, I will look acutely for those instances where silence would have been the better choice and where a few loving words at the opportune time would have had a greater impact.
Step 3: I will follow-up by asking: “God, how can I do better tomorrow to authentically live this shared purpose and goal of Heaven with others? Please prepare me for greater love in my relationship with my wife and then in my relationships with all others.”
Some possible results:
- I may take greater care in my night prayer – enriching my prayer life in new ways.
- I may become more keenly aware of my faults and failings – increasing my ability to accurately repent of my sins and seek reconciliation with God and others.
- I may better notice opportunities for loving silence and effective moments for well-placed words as they occur – experiencing a greater freedom to love others well throughout each day.
Blessed Bartolo Longo, pray for us!