Maxims 1 - 11 Spirituality

Maxim 1

Keep always in mind the aim of your vocation which is sublime; and never do anything which contradicts the commitment to a life full of modesty, gentleness and holiness. 


Scripture References

Colossians 1:9-10

2 Timothy 4:5

Ephesians 4:1-4

Philippians 3:12-14

John 15:16-17


Suggested Application

  • Do I realize the tremendous responsibility I have to all the members of the Church?
  • Am I aware of the Spirit working in me?
  • Am I always ready to try again?
  • Who is the center of my life?

Maxim 2

Take it as a general rule for your inner being, for your virtues and for your actions, that “you must be made perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48); that is to say, embrace in all things what will bring about the greater glory of God, be more conformable to God’s holy will, and be more pleasing in God’s sight.


Scripture References

Romans 12:2

Philippians 3:13-15

John 4:34; 8:54; 15:14

Matthew 5:48

1 Thessalonians 4:1


Suggested Application

  • Do I strive for perfection and holiness
    because it is God’s will or am I merely a natural perfectionist?
  • Jesus is merciful, compassionate and just. Am
    I? What more is God asking of me?

Maxim 3

Empty yourself continually in honor of the Incarnate Word who emptied himself with so much love for you (Philippians 2:7).

Make your commitment to live in the practice of the most sincere, true, and
profound humility possible to you. Do so on all occasions, to everyone but
especially to God, from whom must come all the blessings of your Institute.


Scripture References

Matthew 18:2-4

John 12:24

Mark 10:44

Romans 12:3, 16

Micah 6:8

Philippians 2:7-8

Colossians 3:12-13


Suggested Application

  • Do I cultivate a sincere reverence and respect for every person with whom I come in contact?
  • Am I tolerant of the shortcomings and failures of others?
  • To what am I clinging that separates me from God and the dear neighbor?

Maxim 4

Live, as much as you can, in such a way that your life, in honor of the Holy Spirit, may be a continual act of the most pure and perfect charity that you are able to practice toward God.


Scripture References

1 Peter 4:8

1 Corinthians 13

John 13:34; 14:16-18

Ephesians 3:16-19; 4:1-41

John 4:11


Suggested Application

God took the initiative in loving me. Am I willing to take the initiative in loving others? Am I sensitive to the needs of others? Is love the root and foundation of my life? Am I open to the work of the Spirit in me? What is my contribution to strengthening the bond of love in my community?


Maxim 5

Esteem the world and its vanities no more than dung (Philippians 3:8). Let the world be crucified to you and you to it (Galatians 6:14); that is to say, “despise the world which is only illusion” (1Corinthians 7:31) and reject its maxims which are full of deceit and impiety.


Scripture References

John 12:42-43

1 Corinthians 1:27; 7:31

John 4:1

Galatians 6:14

Philippians 3:8-9


Suggested Application

  • Do the standards of the “world” have a hold on me?
  • Am I counter cultural in a world that projects power, wealth and individualism as its ideals?
  • To which world do I belong?Are my actions consistent with my words as a woman committed to Jesus?
  • What is the deepest desire of my heart?

Maxim 6

“Put aside your old that you can put on the new” (Ephesians 4:22-24), and accordingly lead a life dead to the world and to self-love, full of gentleness, humility of heart, true sincerity, modesty, interior and exterior peace, and of charity toward the neighbor; in a word, (a life) completely modeled on the holiness and the pleasing virtues of Jesus which you should develop in yourself. Thus you can by grace draw many people who will profit by your example and your conversations.


Scripture References

Psalms 51:12

Ephesians 4:22-24

Galatians 5:25

Colossians 3:9-10


Suggested Application

  • Do I believe and trust that God will effect this change in me?
  • Am I willing to believe and accept the efforts of others in their attempts to show a change of heart?
  • Do I use the daily examination of consciousness to rid myself of the “old self?”

Maxim 7

In the manifestation of zeal characteristic of your very humble vocation, imitate the fervor of the most zealous and embrace in desire the salvation and perfection of a whole world in a spirit replete with a true humility and a generous courage. This will bring you to wish to do everything, to suffer everything for the advancement of the glory of God and the salvation of the dear neighbor.


Scripture References

Luke 10:1-3

Romans 12:10-13


Suggested Application

  • Am I always available and sensitive to the needs of others or only when it concerns those for whom I have a natural attraction?
  • Does my awareness of God’s great love for me generate a response of a more loving or generous service of those with whom I live and minister?
  • Does my fear, timidity and human respect prevent me from proclaiming the “good news?”

Maxim 8

Root the strength of your resolutions and the hope of the success of your undertakings in the knowledge of your great weakness and the total mistrust of self, as well as in the firm and assured confidence you ought to have in God, for whom nothing is impossible and who will always assist you in everything you undertake for his glory through the movement of God’s grace and according to the orders of obedience.


Scripture References

Matthew 14:22-23

1 Corinthians 16:13; 10:13

2 Corinthians 4:7-10


Suggested Application

  • Do I believe that God loves me unconditionally?
  • Do I trust in God’s goodness?
  • God’s power can overcome my weakness. Do I believe this truth?

Maxim 9

Shun always and with repulsion all vanity, self-complacency, and infidelity to grace as plagues which infect good works and interfere with the action of divine grace on the living out of your life.


Scripture References

Mark 12:38-40

Matthew 5:16; 6:1-4; 3:8-10

Luke 6:41-42


Suggested Application

  • Do I safeguard against inclination to be self-satisfied, to stand still, instead of constantly moving forward?
  • Do I rely too much on my own efforts and ask God’s help only as a “last resort?”
  • Am I open to change and newness in my life?
  • Where is my security? In God who is life? or in myself? Life is always changing. Self-centeredness leads to rigidity, control and complacency.
  • Am I willing to risk everything for Jesus?

Maxim 10

Speak neither well nor ill of yourself without necessity; have no esteem of yourself nor of what you do, since what you are and can do is nothing before God, and since anyhow you are full of imperfections which would make you despise yourself were they known to you.


Scripture References

Sirach 10:27-28

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Romans 12:3; 7:14-25


Suggested Application

  • In my daily examine, do I consider the good I do or do I concentrate only on my negative qualities, forgetting that my personality is God’s gift to me? Then, do I thank God for the opportunities to serve him?
  • Despite my weakness and failings, do I have a lively confidence in God who works in and through me?

Maxim 11

Always speak favorably of others and value highly the good in them, excusing and covering up, in the way you can, the deficiencies that they might have.


Scripture References

James 1:26; 5:9; 4:11

Galatians 5:15

Ephesians 4:32; 4:15

1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Proverbs 16:24


Suggested Application

  • Am I kind and merciful to my sisters in community and to the dear neighbor?
  • Do I concentrate more on the deficiencies in people or in the good that is deep within them?
  • There is no distinction between love of God and love of neighbor. Do my words and actions speak to this truth?
  • Am I loyal to and trusting of my sisters in community?

The Scripture References can be found at the United States Conference of Bishops website.

Maxim Translation: Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph International Research Team, 1975.
Project Designer: Sister Catherine Marie Kreta, CSJ

Gospel Values, References, Application: Sister Marilyn Binder, CSJ

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