There’s a business on Main Street in downtown Peoria, across the street from the courthouse, called The Nut House. The inside of the business consists of a tiny storeroom that is lined with glass display cases along three sides. Inside the display cases are numerous trays and jars that contain different types of candy and nuts. On top of the display cases and on shelves attached to the walls are decorative jars that are also filled with candy and nuts. There are at least 200 different items on display that a customer can choose from.
Last month, in one of my Adoration Meditation articles, I quoted from an article I wrote seven years ago about the 10 principal virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary: her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual mental prayer, her mortification in all things, her surpassing purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness, and her divine wisdom. I pointed out that I had not done anything in the past seven years to improve my practice of these 10 virtues.
The following week, soon after stopping by The Nut House to purchase some of my favorite nuts, I decided that it was time for me to memorize the 10 principal virtues. To assist me in the memorization process, I decided that each time I wanted to eat some nuts, I had to first write down as many of the 10 principal virtues as I could from memory.
At first, I was able to write down only three or four of the virtues from memory. Each time, before I grabbed some nuts to eat, I wrote down the virtues I remembered and reviewed them against the entire list. The virtues that I forgot, I added to my written list. It took me a couple of weeks, but now I’m able to write down all 10 of the virtues from memory.
An unanticipated consequence has arisen from writing down the virtues every day and committing them to memory: The virtues have started popping into my mind when the need to practice them arises. For example, on several occasions, the words “heroic patience” have come to mind when my patience was being tested by someone, prompting me to soften my tone toward the person I was dealing with. Several times while I’ve been eating, the words “mortification in all things” have come to mind, prompting me to make a small sacrifice by denying myself an additional portion of food. On a couple of occasions when I was feeling discouraged, the words “lively faith” flashed through my mind, prompting me to recite the acts of faith, hope, and love.
When’s the last time you voluntarily memorized a new prayer or a list that’s related to the Catholic faith? Can you recite from memory the mysteries of the rosary; the sacraments; the gifts of the Holy Spirit; the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; the way of the cross; the acts of faith, hope, and love; the litany of humility; the Memorare; and the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary?
School is never out for the devout Catholic. As long as you have the capacity to think, you should always be learning and memorizing new things that will further develop your faith and enhance your relationship with God.
Let me know when you’ve memorized your next prayer or list, and I’ll treat you to some delicious snacks from The Nut House.