About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“Although the mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has not seemed expedient to the Fathers, that it should be every where celebrated in the vulgar tongue. Wherefore, the ancient usage of each church, and the rite approved of by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being in each place retained; and, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, nor the little ones ask for bread, and there be none to break it unto them, the holy Synod charges pastors, and all who have the cure of souls, that they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound either by themselves, or others, some portion of those things which are read at mass, and that, amongst the rest, they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on the Lord's days and festivals.”
— Council of Trent (17 September 1562)

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The Spirit of Gentle Counsel
published 10 March 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

At a prayer meeting here in Connecticut, our leader did a beautiful meditation about opening to God for a new gift. After kissing a big crucifix that went around the circle, we were to see if the Holy Spirit might be telling us about such a gift. Of course such exercises don’t pretend to be infallibly the word from on-high, but when something comes up that fits I take it seriously.

I had been praying for more of the gift of counsel. Like many professors, I am long on teaching concepts and shorter on knowing what to say one on one to people in trouble. The word I seemed to get during this exercise was “I want to give you the gift of gentle counsel.”

I filed it in the back of my mind but last night it came alive. I visited a mental help group to see what techniques I might learn from the touted holy priest director of the group. A small group of members sat around a table. Mostly we looked pretty woe-begone on arrival. The elderly priest leader, however, had a radiant smile as he greeted each of his old friends. He asked each one the simplest questions, such as, “what did you do yesterday?” His responses focused on what was good in what they had done with an encouraging nudge such as, “can you plan to do that more often this week?”

I realized that simply caring about the daily life of another enough to listen in a gentle spirit was a form of love. It is one I rarely indulge in as I plan my agenda of trying to force my insights down other people’s throats!

Dear Holy Spirit, do give me the gift of gentle counsel!

Dr. Ronda has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.