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A Favourite Maxim
by Mary Huan, CSJ Associate, Galilee Community

Father Jean-Pierre Médaille's Maxim #30: "It is the same with hope: the more difficult your situation, and the less chance of success or of someone coming to your assistance, the more you need to trust in God."

This is the Maxim I hold on to in time of discouragement and distress. I believe that in any situation, only God knows every detail in its entirety. Who else will I trust? I rely in God to guide me even in small daily tasks. My trust in the Lord continues to grow as I depend more and more on God’s providence and mercy. 

As Saint Peter said to our Lord in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”


A Favourite Maxim
by Sister Sue Mosteller, CSJ

Click here to listen to a recording of this article.

Today, in the second week of Ordinary Time, our new Office Books’ Morning Prayer offered us Father Medaille’s Maxim no. 11, which has been my favorite maxim.

“Always speak favorably of others and value highly the good in them, excusing and covering up, in the best way you can, the deficiencies they might have.”  (Maxim #11).

This maxim has always been an invitation for me to “go deeper” into the central reality of my life, namely, Community.  Whenever I reflect or talk about family or community, I find myself saying, almost without thinking, “Community is so wonderful and so terrible!”  And yes, it is a central reality for me.  I love it profoundly and know interiorly that I would not survive without it.  But the truth is that it is often so difficult and so terrible for me to try to ‘live’ well.  That is precisely because of Fr. Medaille’s insightful advice!

“Why is it,” I ask myself, “that my tendency is to recognize the deficiencies’ much faster than to ‘value highly the good things in others?’”  Living closely together in my family and then in community during my whole life, I’ve have access to such gifts and goodness in the others, yet I tend more to concentrate, judge, and even predict the behavior that will upset me.

Awhile ago, I discovered a list of “Daily Practices” of Beloved John XXIII, which I read, and try to practice every day.  The second one is the hardest and most challenging but it is sound advice for the practice of Maxim 11.  It reads:

‘Support me Lord, not to raise my voice, and to make every effort to be courteous.  Please help me not to criticize anyone, or try to improve/discipline anyone except myself.

This practice, challenging as it is, has become an important and central discipline for me and I’m so grateful to both Fr. Medaille and John XIII for gifting my life with this profound call to love.  It also supports me to reflect on the advice of Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ., who is quoted as saying about the violent gang members with whom he works, “I try to judge the poor by what they carry, and not by how they carry it.”

This precious Maxim, this invitation to let love grow in my heart, is a continuous challenge, guide and gift on the journey of life!


Out of deep respect for those who have cared for these lands since time immemorial, we are committed to tread lightly on the land, protect water as sacred, and affirm our desire for right relations with all Indigenous Peoples. - From our CSJ Land Acknowledgement

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