Avalon Chronicles #99: "Civility-Part 2"
by Allen B. Clark www.combatfaith.com www.combatfaith.blogspot.com
The source for this message is the same as the previous message: my 1956 pamphlet from Gonzaga Jesuit High School in Washington, D.C., Manners and the Man. The following is quoted without an edit or paraphrase from the pamphlet in total. Admittedly these precepts and teachings may be "whistling in the wind" at a time in our culture when anything goes and the standards of behavior have taken a significant downward plunge, but without guidelines and standards to live by, we are only weeds blown about by whichever way the winds whip us.
"Good morals are always good manners; bad morals can never be good manners. Christ and His Blessed Mother had perfect manners. They are your models; imitate them and you will be refined and good. Always remember that you are a child of God and an heir of Heaven, that you were made by God to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life, and by this means to save your soul.
Beware of bad companions; they will ruin you. In speaking of evil associates, Christ Himself said this through His apostle St. Paul: 'Evil communications corrupt good manners.' (I Cor. 15, 33). Your companions are of the wrong kind if you are less good because of your association with them. General Robert E. Lee was known to all for his good manners. May you always remember the advice which he gave his son: 'Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or keep one.'
There is nothing manly about sin; it is an act of disloyalty to Christ, an act of surrender to His enemy, the devil. Always be loyal to Our Lord and to His service. There is something manly about virtue; in fact the very word is derived from the Latin word virtus, which signifies manliness. There never was, and there never will be a substitute for goodness; you must have the real article.
To be a boy or a man after the heart of Christ, you must be clean and pure in thought, word, and deed. The clean of heart are dear to God. Of them He said, 'Oh how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory. For the memory thereof is immortal, because it is known with God and with men...It triumpheth crowned forever, winning the reward of undefiled conflict.' (Wisdom: 4; 1, 2).
Purity in Thought. Keep your mind clean, and your words and deeds will be pure. Improper magazines, pictures, 'movies,' and shows have ruined the souls of many boys through the impure thoughts which they have caused. At times improper thought will come to your mind against your will. Never entertain them or dwell upon them, but say a short prayer and turn your thoughts to other things; keep yourself busy with work and wholesome play. God condemns impurity of thought: 'Evil thoughts are an abomination to the Lord.' (Proverbs: 15, 16).
Purity in Word. Never say a word or tell a story that will stain your soul or the souls of your companions, boys or girls. There is nothing manly about a dirty story or suggestive remark; on the contrary, improper conversation marks a man as improper company for any decent boy or girl. Listen to these words of Our Lord: 'Pure words, most beautiful, shall be confirmed by Him.' (Proverbs: 15, 16). 'He that loveth cleanliness of heart, for the grace of his lips shall have the king as his friend.' (Proverbs: 22, 11). 'Be you also in all manner of conversation holy.' (I St. Peter: 1, 15).
Purity in Deed. Nothing more becomes a manly boy than purity of action. At all times and in all places, whether alone or with others, be clean of heart. Always remember that any girl in your company is in your protection. Never by the slightest word, suggestion, or action make her less modest or less good. She is a child of Mary---and so are you. Drink and 'parked automobiles' have ruined the innocent friendship of many young people. May you always prove true to the ideals that you have been taught at Gonzaga; may you always be a ' knight without reproach.' You are a sodalist of Mary, you are a knight of Christ; through frequent prayer to her, and throughout frequent, even daily, reception of Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and through your manly cooperation with grace, you will always be a worthy knight of Gonzaga, Gonzaga will be proud of you; Mary will bless you; Christ will reward you for He said: 'Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.' (St. Matthew: 5, 8).
Brave and chivalrous like the knight, Sir Gareth, in Tennyson's Idylls of the King, may you live and die with his ideals:
'Man am I grown, a man's work must I do;
Follow the deer? Follow Christ the King;
Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King--
Else, wherefore born?'"