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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The Vatican Gradual cheered our hearts by restoring the authentic form of the hymns therein. But there are very few hymns in the Gradual. We looked forward to the continuation of the same work, where it was so much more needed, in the Vesperal, and then in the new Breviary. Alas, the movement, for the present, has stopped. The new Vesperal and then the Breviary contain Urban VIII’s versions. So at present we have the odd situation that in the Gradual the old form of the hymns is restored; but when the same hymn (for instance “Vexilia regis”) comes again in the Vesperal, we must sing the seventeenth-century mangling.
— Adrian Fortescue (25 March 1916)

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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.