“Act, and God will act, work and He will work.”

— St. Joan of Arc

**

“Christian life is a retreat. We are ‘not of this world’, just as Jesus Christ is ‘not of this world’ (John 17:14). What is the world? It is, as St. John said, the ‘lust of the flesh’, that is, sensuality and corruption in our desires and deeds; ‘the lust of the eyes’, curiosity, avarice, illusion, fascination, error, and folly in the affectation of learning, and, finally, pride and ambition (1 John 2:16). To these evils of which the world is full, and which make up its substance, a retreat must be set in opposition. We need to make ourselves into a desert by a holy detachment. Christian life is a battle … We must never cease to fight. In this battle, St. Paul teaches us to make an eternal abstinence, that is, to cut ourselves off from the pleasures of the senses and guard our hearts from them … it was to repair and to expiate the failings of our retreat, of our battle against temptations, of our abstinence, that Jesus was driven into the desert. His fast of forty days prefigured the lifelong one that we are to practice by abstaining from evil deeds and by containing our desires within the limits laid down by the law of God.”

— Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

“Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading.”

— St. Isidore of Seville

**

“This God of all goodness has made those things easy which are common and necessary in the order of nature, such as breathing, eating, and sleeping. No less necessary in the supernatural order are love and fidelity, therefore it must needs be that the difficulty of acquiring them is by no means so great as is generally represented. Review your life. Is it not composed of innumerable actions of very little importance? Well, God is quite satisfied with these. They are the share that the soul must take in the work of its perfection.”

—Jean-Pierre de Caussade

“Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.”

— St. Ignatius of Loyola

**

“Our Blessed Lord, bound like a thief, is conducted through the public streets of Jerusalem accompanied by a large body of soldiers who indulge their rage and hatred by ill-treating Him in every possible way, and surrounded by a multitude of people who overwhelm Him with insults and maledictions, and rejoice over His misfortunes. Jesus advances, His feet bare, and His strength utterly exhausted by all His mental and bodily sufferings, offering up the ignominy and tortures He is now enduring, to His Eternal Father, for the salvation of my soul. The soldiers render His position still more painful, by inviting people to approach and see their renowned prisoner, while Jesus proceeds on His way in the midst of them, with a humble demeanor and with downcast eyes, to teach us what value we should set on the esteem and honor of the world, and the applause of men. But a few days previously Jesus had passed through these same streets, applauded and honored by the crowd as the Messiah, and now, abandoned even by His disciples, He is followed only by perfidious enemies who seek His death, and unite in deriding and insulting Him as a malefactor, and the last of men. Such is the duration of the honors and praises of the world! Learn hence to seek the good pleasure of God alone, to labor for the acquisition of a right to the immortal honors of Paradise, and to practice patience under humiliation, from the example of Jesus.”

— Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus

“It is not that I want merely to be called a Christian, but to actually be one. Yes, if I prove to be one, then I can have the name.”

— St. Ignatius of Antioch

**

“He does not come down from Heaven each day to stay in the gold ciborium. He comes down to find another Heaven He cherishes infinitely more than the first, the Heaven of our souls, made in His image, living temples of the Most Blessed Trinity!”

— St. Therese of Lisieux

“The fast of Lent has no advantage to us unless it brings about our spiritual renewal. It is necessary while fasting to change our whole life and practice virtue. Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, avoiding all gossip, lying and swearing. To abstain from these things—herein lies the true value of the fast.”

— St. John Chrysostom

**

“Wait a little while, my soul, await the promise of God, and you will have the fullness of all that is good in heaven. If you yearn inordinately for the good things of this life, you will lose those which are heavenly and eternal. Use temporal things properly, but always desire what is eternal. Temporal things can never fully satisfy you, for you were not created to enjoy them alone . . . for your blessedness and happiness lie only in God, who has made all things from nothing.”

— Thomas a’ Kempis

“Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.”

— St. Gianna Molla

**

“Jesus trembled and shuddered as He stood before the pillar, and took off His garments as quickly as He could, but His hands were bloody and swollen. The only return He made when His brutal executioners struck and abused Him was to pray for them in the most touching manner: He turned His face once toward His Mother, who was standing overcome with grief; this look quite unnerved her: she fainted, and would have fallen, had not the holy women who were there supported her. Jesus put His arms around the pillar, and when His hands were thus raised, the archers fastened them to the iron ring which was at the top of the pillar; they then dragged His arms to such a height that His feet, which were tightly bound to the base of the pillar, scarcely touched the ground. Thus was the Holy of Holies violently stretched, without a particle of clothing, on a pillar used for the punishment of criminals; and then did two furious ruffians who were thirsting for His blood begin in the most barbarous manner to scourge His sacred body from head to foot.”

— Bl. Anne Cathrine Emmerich

“O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life, Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary.”

— St. Gertrude the Great

**

“The Eucharist is alive. If a stranger who knew nothing about the Eucharist were to watch the way we receive, would he know this? When you and I approach the Eucharist, does it look like we believe we are about to take into our bodies the living person, Jesus Christ, true God and true man? How many times, Lord, have I forgotten that the Eucharist is alive! As I wait in line to receive you each day, am I thinking about how much you want to unite yourself with me? Am I seeing your hands filled with the graces you want to give me? Am I filled with awe and gratitude that you love me so much as to actually want to come to me in this incredibly intimate way? Or am I distracted, busy with other thoughts, preoccupied with myself and my agendas for the day? How many times, Jesus, have I made you sad, mindlessly receiving you into my body, into my heart, with no love and no recognition of your love? How many times have I treated you as a dead object? The Host that we receive is not a thing! It’s not a wafer! It’s not bread! It’s a person – He’s alive!”

— Vinny Flynn

“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”

— St. Gerard Majella

**

“This is the difference between a journey on earth, and that which leads to Heaven. For in the former, not only may we stop without fear of going backward, but rest is necessary that we may sustain our strength to the journey’s end; however, in the latter journey which leads to perfection, our growth in strength is proportionate to our advance, inasmuch as the inferior appetites which throw all possible obstacles in our path to Heaven, grow gradually weaker while our good inclinations acquire new strength. Thus as we advance in piety, our early difficulties fade into the background, and a certain delight, with which God sweetens the bitterness of this life, increases in our souls. Going cheerfully on from virtue to virtue, we finally reach the summit of the mountain.”

— Dom Lorenzo Scupoli

“Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book.”

— St. John Bosco

**

“It almost always happens that interior sentiments of pride precede the commission of grievous sins. Peter was not aware of his own weakness. He preferred himself before others; he trusted in himself as though he were incapable of sinning, boasting that no temptation would separate him from Jesus. He would not even believe the assurance of his Divine Master, that he would deny him thrice. Deceived by this vain confidence in his own strength, he neglects to pray, and to have recourse to God; and God, in His justice, permits him to fall, in punishment of his pride. There is nothing more dangerous than to confide in our own strength, and trust to feelings of fervor. We are full of malice, and capable of committing the most enormous crimes, unless God supports us.”

— Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus

“I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own.”

— St. Gabriel Possenti

**

“God sees you in secret. Know that he sees into your very depths, infinitely farther than you do yourself. Make a simple, lively act of faith in his presence. Christian soul, place yourself entirely under his gaze. He is very near. He is present, for he gives being and motion to all things. Yet you must believe more; you must believe with a lively faith that he is present to you by giving you all of your good thoughts from within, as holding in his hand the source from which they come, and not only the good thoughts, but also whatever good desires, good resolutions, and ev­ery good act of the will, from its very first beginning and birth to its final perfection. Believe, too, that he is in the souls of the just, and that he makes his dwelling there within, according to these words of the Lord: ‘We will come to him and make our home with him’ (John 14:23). He is there in a stable and permanent way: he makes his home there. Desire that he should be in you in this way. Offer yourself to him as his dwelling and temple. Now come out, and with the same faith that enables you to see him within you, look upon him in Heaven, where he manifests himself to his beloved. It is there that he awaits you. Run. Fly. Break your chains; break all the bonds that tie you down to flesh and blood. O God, when shall I see you? When will I have that pure heart that enables you to be seen, in yourself, outside of yourself, ev­erywhere? O Light that enlightens the world! O Life that gives life to all the living! O Truth that feeds us all! O Good that satisfies us all! O Love that binds all together! I praise you, my heavenly Father, who sees me in secret.”

— Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

March 2021
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