Humility, obedience, meekness, and love are the virtues that shine through the Cross and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. O my Jesus, help me imitate you!”

–St. Anthony Mary Claret

**

“Some people imagine that in order to be holy you have to cultivate the sad side of life, choosing the darker prospect whenever the alternative comes up. Surely what holy people choose is the will of God, whether it happens to be dark or light. Holy people know—and know it better than others—that suffering must anyway occupy a fair slice of life. They accept this as normal, meeting their sorrows as calmly and cheerfully as they can.”

—Fr. Hubert van Zeller, OSB

The Triple Evils Presented In No Particular Order

(Martin Luther King, Jr. identified the triple evils as Racism, poverty, and war.)

1.

Frosty moonlight

filters through church-window prisms,

striking the cross,

the hungry one crying out of the dark,

words to the Sacred.

In the dark, no one remembers the sparrows.

An old man dreams

about a cheeseburger and hot fries.

Where will he lay his head?

Left half-dead outside in the cold,

perhaps, through some oversight,

shivering and naked,

with no bowl of hot soup

to warm his belly.  Might as well be dead.

Holy candles flicker as they burn.

The old man dreams a valid dream.

2.

Dirty children line blasted streets,

sucking babes who cannot cry,

their parched throats

swelling amid the rubble.

Have they no homes, no mothers?

And, oh God, the men.

Yes, the men.  Are they so guilty

as to die for those who govern with

trumped-up creeds, pitting brother against

brother, maiming for life, stealing

divine creation one-by-one?

The world must lock the door

to keep war out, the people safe.

3.

A woman rises from a third row seat

with stomach churning

and lungs that will not fill.

She’s a Pillar of Fire

who wants to burn like

God’s voice at midnight.  But ice crystals

cast thin shadows in the place where she’s going

in a room filled with strangers.

There’s no make it plain in the buzz of this crowd. 

The woman’s dream is divorced from the cross:

Small embers in fallen leaves,

the Promised Land in the incensed air.

And all she totes are borrowed words.

from Better with Friends (Rank Stranger Press, Mt. Olive, NC)

“I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand.”

–St. Anselm of Canterbury

**

“So when we pray, we must stand in His presence, on His level. We must see His suffering in the same way that we see His greatness, and as we picture His compassion. But we must also remember that that suffering, that greatness and that compassion will one day judge us. We shall be weighed in the balance by them; and if we are found wanting in any way, we shall hear the words: ‘Depart from me. . .’ ‘Go elsewhere; go to those who refused to be my friends.’”

— Dom Augustin Guillerand

“And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force, because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one, but only proposes, invites and counsels.”

–St. Angela Merici

**

We have difficulty understanding this, just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color, but our difficulty doesn’t alter this fact: God’s omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom. In the core of our being we remain free to accept or reject God’s action in our lives—and to accept or reject it more or less intensely. God wants us to accept him with all our ‘heart, soul, mind, and strength’—in other words, as intensely as possible. But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil, so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace. … Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort, every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act of kindness to someone in need, we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord by putting our faith in his will.”

— Fr. John Bartunek

“We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?”

–St. Andrew Kim Taegon

**

“Many people seem to worry themselves a great deal more over the things they cannot help than over the things that they can. … This want of proportion is doubtless observable in myself. Do I think more of the accidents of birth, fortune, and personal appearance than of the self that I have created? For I myself am responsible for myself. ‘To be born a gentleman is an accident; to die one is an achievement.’ Other things, then, I may not be able to help; but myself, I can. As I am at this very moment, as my character is—truthful or untruthful, pure or impure, patient or impatient, slow to wrath or quick-tempered, eager, enthusiastic, energetic, or lazy and dull and wasteful of time—I have no one to thank but myself … the fact remains that I myself alone am responsible for my own character; for character is an artificial thing that is not born, but made.”

— Fr. Bede Jarrett

“If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.”

–St. Francis de Sales

**

“This great power of grace over nature appears at first sight as unnatural, for which reason nature strives against it and does not even wish to hear of the necessity of penance and mortification. But the obligation of penance remains, and precisely because of nature’s opposition, it cannot be emphasized often enough or earnestly enough. Softened, wounded nature, moreover, makes difficulties greater than they really are. Grace does not wish to destroy nature, but only to elevate it, that is, to drive out the evil that makes it sick and then to introduce a new and better life. By taking away all that nature loves to its own detriment, and thus wounding it in its innermost depth, it at the same time pours such a healthful balsam into this wound that it is a delight to be wounded in this way. Ask the Saints if they have ever experienced any greater delight than in those moments when they offered themselves, body and soul, as a victim to God. … Ask yourself if you have ever enjoyed a deeper or more genuine delight than when you suppressed a violent desire of proud, angry nature, or performed any other act of heroic mortification with the help of grace. If, then, grace could give the Saints such a wonderful, superhuman and heroic courage as to elevate them above themselves and make them lead an angelic life already in the flesh, can it not enable you to live at least as a man, in harmony with your natural dignity, and not as a slave of the flesh, of the passions, of your own will and opinion?”

— Fr. Matthias J. Scheeben

“If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing. If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything.”

–St. Bonaventure

**

“Man will not consent to drive away the money-changers from the temple of his soul until he realizes that it is a Holy of Holies—not a house of traffic, but in very truth the house of God. We thus reach two striking conclusions: There cannot be entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which is the true meaning of living in Christ, without complete self-renunciation. There cannot be complete self-renunciation without the constant underlying spirit of faith, without the habit of interior silence, a silence where God is dwelling. Many do not see the connection between thoughts about the King and the service of the King; between the interior silence … and the continual detachment … If we look closer, it will be seen that there is a strong, close, unbreakable link between the two. Find a recollected person, and he will be detached; seek one who is detached, and he will be recollected. To have found one is to have discovered the other … Anyone who tries, on a given day, to practice either recollection or detachment cannot ignore the fact that he is doing a double stroke of work.”

— Raoul Plus, S.J

“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”

–St. Thomas Aquinas

**

“You judge me, O Lord, for, although no one ‘knows the things of a man but the spirit of man which is in him,’ there is something further in man which not even that spirit of man which is in him knows. But you, Lord, who made him, know all things that are in him. Although I despise myself before your sight, and account myself but dust and ashes, yet I know something of you which I do not know about myself. In truth, ‘we see now through a glass in a dark manner,’ and not yet ‘face to face.’  … Let me confess, then, what I know about myself. Let me confess also what I do not know about myself, since that too which I know about myself I know because you enlighten me. As to that which I am ignorant of concerning myself, I remain ignorant of it until my ‘darkness shall be made as the noonday in your sight.’”

— St. Augustine

“As the pilot of a vessel is tried in the storm; as the wrestler is tried in the ring, the soldier in the battle, and the hero in adversity: so is the Christian tried in temptation.”

–St. Basil the Great

**

“Our confidence in God must be founded on His infinite goodness and on the merits of the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, with this condition on our part: that we should preserve and recognize in ourselves an entire and firm resolution to belong wholly to God, and to abandon ourselves in all things, and without any reserve, to His Providence. Observe that I do not say that we must feel this resolution to belong wholly to God, but only that we must have it and recognize it in ourselves; we must not concern ourselves with what we feel or do not feel, since the greater part of our feelings and satisfactions are only the movements of self-love. Neither must it be supposed that in all this practice of abandonment and indifference, we shall never have desires contrary to the will of God, or that nature will never shrink with repugnance from the dispositions of His good pleasure, for these will often occur. The virtues of abandonment and indifference reside in the higher region of our soul; the lower region, generally speaking, has nothing to do with them. We must remain at peace, and paying no attention whatever to what that lower nature desires, we must embrace the divine will and unite ourselves to it—whatsoever this may entail. There are very few persons who reach this height of perfect self-renunciation; nevertheless, we must all aim at it, each according to his little measure.”

— St. Francis de Sales

“Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him whom the angels serve.”

–St. Agnes

“With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence: ‘For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living’ (Wisdom 11:24-26).”

— The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 301**

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