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A Post for the Catholic Writers Guild:
Today’s advice is from the late Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
Fr. Hardon believed that daily writing helps us make a “giant stride on the road to sanctity.” Why is writing such an asset of the spiritual life?
Writing provides discipline for the mind, “gives direction to our thinking,” and “helps us to master our faculty of thought.”
Writing cultivates intellectual humility. It exposes “the vagueness of my thinking, the inconsistency of my logic, the triviality of my life”.
Writing creates a record of graces received, and helps fix thoughts and spiritual experiences in memory. “Whatever is memorized becomes a part of the treasury of our mind. Our memorized thoughts contribute to everything we think, say, or do for the rest of our lives.”
Writing makes a vital contribution to our excellence (skill and purity) in speaking. “The effort and grace required to write down our thoughts are a major contribution to mastering our speech.”
Writing is a means for sharing the gifts of the soul with others, to bring them closer to Christ. “Charity is, above all, sharing with another what I have, in order to enrich the person whom I love….We should make a written memo of the parables in our own life, to share them with others.”
Fr. Hardon advised his Marian Catechists to develop their writing apostolates through letters to editors, articles, and books. He particularly emphasized the importance of writing letters. “The writing apostolate…must include the writing of letters, not only to those who have written to us, but especially to those from who we have never received a letter, and who may never correspond with us in return.”
With St. Ignatius, he “trained his followers to write, write, extensively, write daily, write through correspondence, and write for publication,” and to keep a daily moral inventory in writing.
You’ve heard it before, but this writing life is hard work and we who are called to be writers must take seriously the need to Write, Write, Write if we would communicate Christ to others and see Him realized in our own lives. We are not writing to get paid, to get noticed, to get a response, to get credit (though, let’s admit it, all that would be nice!), but to become saints. I’ll pray for you all, please pray for me! I’ve asked Fr. Hardon to pray for us, too.
Fr. Hardon’s quotations are from the article, “The Writing Apostolate of the Marian Catechists” and there are a number of helpful articles on the Marian Catechists site about how to write books, news articles, letters to editors, etc….