“In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus dies before he dies, and thereby readies himself for what awaits him. The next day, when Pilate threatens him with death, Jesus stands in a freedom and courage that can be understood only if we understand what happened to him in the garden. When Pilate says to him: “Don’t you know that I have power over you, power to take your life or to save it?” Jesus answers: “You have no power over me whatsoever. Nobody takes my life; I give it over freely.” Pilate is threatening a man who is already dead. No big threat. Jesus had already undergone the agonia. In great anguish, he had given his life over freely the night before, and so he is ready for whatever awaits him.”

—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser

**

“Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight.”

— St. Francis of Paola

**

“God’s delays are mysterious; sorrow is sometimes prolonged for the same reason for which it is sent. God may abstain for the moment from healing, not because Love does not love, but because Love never stops loving, and a greater good is to come from the woe. Heaven’s clock is different from ours.”

— Fulton J. Sheen

 

 

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“In the Our Father we say: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” This is an equation. If you are not capable of forgiveness, how can God forgive you? The Lord wants to forgive you, but he cannot if you keep your heart closed and mercy cannot enter. One might object: “Father, I forgive, but I cannot forget that awful thing that he did to me….” The answer is to ask the Lord to help you forget. One must forgive as God forgives, and God forgives the maximum.” 

—Pope Francis, as quoted in the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

**

“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

— St. Francis of Assisi

**

“No one denies what everyone knows, for nature herself teaches it: that God is the Creator of the universe, and that it is good, and that it belongs to humanity by the free gift of its Creator. But there is a vast difference between the corrupted state and the state of primal purity, just as there is a vast difference between Creator and the corruptor. … We ourselves, though we’re guilty of every sin, are not just a work of God: we’re image. Yet we have cut ourselves off from our Creator in both soul and body. Did we get eyes to serve lust, the tongue to speak evil, ears to hear evil, a throat for gluttony, a stomach to be gluttony’s ally, hands to do violence, genitals for unchaste excesses, feet for an erring life? Was the soul put in the body to think up traps, fraud, and injustice? I don’t think so.”

— Tertullian

 

 

“God of life, we are grateful for the many gifts that you have given to us. May we become prudent stewards of your many gifts and not thoughtlessly waste water, food, and other resources. May we respond to your Son’s cry of thirst with lives of peacemaking and just action. We make his prayer in your name. Amen.”

—from The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

**

“We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.”

— St. Francis de Sales

**

“And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that he dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination. What concept could man have of God if he did not first fashion an image of him in his heart? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, he was invisible and unthinkable, but now he wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of. But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence he ascended to the sanctuary of heaven. How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness?”

— St. Bernard

 

“I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him.”

— St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

**

“Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever.”

— C.S. Lewis

 

“If something is completely foreign to you, you’re normally bored by it or do not even notice it. We cannot deeply experience, much less desire union with, something that is foreign to us. So God planted a little bit of God inside of us—and all things. It seduces us into even more universal love and life. Some might call it the Holy spirit, some might call it the soul, some might simply speak of inner resonance. The point is that a force of love can move from God to us and back again.”

—from the book Yes, And…: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr

**

“Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions.”

— St. Faustina Kowalska

**

“And it is only by the observance of the first and greatest commandment that we can keep the second. The more we love God, the more we shall love man; the less we love God, the less we shall, in the true sense of the word, love man. Our love will become capricious, fitful, and unreliable—not charity, but passion. If you feel that your love for your fellowman is dying out in the fumes of selfishness, there is but one way to revive it: strive for, pray for, the love of God. As the heart turns toward its source, it will be quickened and expanded. There is no true, no lasting spirit of charity apart from the practice of religion. Therefore, we cannot keep those commandments which teach us our duty to men unless we are keeping those which teach us our duty to God.”

— Fr. Basil W. Maturin

 

“How does God speak? Through everything there is. Every thing, every person, every situation, is ultimately the Word. It tells me something and challenges me to respond. Each moment, with all that it contains, spells out the great “yes” in a new and unique way. By making my response, moment by moment, word by word, I myself am becoming the Word that God speaks in me and to me and through me.”

—from the book The Way of Silence by Brother David Steindl-Rast 

**

“You must accept your cross; if you bear it courageously it will carry you to Heaven.”

— St. John Vianney

**

“In truth, if the earth and all it contains must one day disappear by fire, the goods of this world are no more to be esteemed than wood and straw. What point is there, then, in making them the object of our desires and cares? Why seek to build and leave marks of our genius and power where we have no permanent abode, and where the form of this world will be removed, like a tent that has no travelers to shelter? It may be said that it will be a thousand years before this frightening cataclysm takes place; but Christ has said that a thousand years are but an instant compared with eternity, and when the moment comes—when, from the land of the future life, we are the witnesses and actors in that supreme drama—the whole span of humanity will seem to short to us that we shall scarcely consider it to have lasted a single day … Christ tells us to meditate upon these great teachings, for it is certain that we shall be taken by surprise, and that the time will come sooner than we think.”

— Father Charles Arminjon

 

 

“Grasping the secret of the cross is not something we do once and for all. Sometimes we grasp it, and we are inside the circle of understanding; and sometimes we don’t grasp it, and we are outside the circle of understanding.

For example, after Peter denies Jesus during the passion, the Gospels tell us that “Peter went outside.” They are referring to much more than simply stepping outside through some courtyard door. Peter was stepping outside the circle of both true discipleship and of a true understanding of life. His denial of Jesus took him “outside.” We too, in our following of Jesus, sometimes step “outside” when we give in to temptation or adversity. But then, if we repent, like Peter, we can step back “inside.”

—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser

**

“What was the first rule of our dear Savior’s life? You know it was to do His Father’s will. Well, then, the first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly to do it in the manner He wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is His will.”

— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

**

“Winnow not in every wind, and do not start off in every direction (Sirach 5:11). It is essential to discern what the Spirit wants when we are making important choices in our lives. Through prayer, fasting, spiritual reading, spiritual advice, discernment of signs, sorting out our hidden motivations, etc., we develop a sense of what God wants of us.”

— Rev. Jude Winkler, O.F.M.

 

 

A Day of Surprises

“There’s something about Ash Wednesday that draws us in, calls us to return to sanity, to a change of heart and mind.

Lent doesn’t take us away from our ordinary lives, but rather it invites us to bring a new and holy attention to those activities. This should be the way with all of our spiritual practices. We take time apart in order to return to our daily activities with new inspiration. God will always surprise us with possibilities when we least expect them. Let this Lent be one of those surprises.”

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

**

“A man who governs his passions is master of his world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.”

— St. Dominic

**

“Each of us must come to the evening of life. Each of us must enter on eternity.  Each of us must come to that quiet, awful time, when we will appear before the Lord of the vineyard, and answer for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad. That, my dear brethren, you will have to undergo. … It will be the dread moment of expectation when your fate for eternity is in the balance, and when you are about to be sent forth as the companion of either saints or devils, without possibility of change. There can be no change; there can be no reversal. As that judgment decides it, so it will be for ever and ever. Such is the particular judgment. … when we find ourselves by ourselves, one by one, in his presence, and have brought before us most vividly all the thoughts, words, and deeds of this past life. Who will be able to bear the sight of himself? And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves. In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves. We do not like to know how sinful we are. We love those who prophecy smooth things to us, and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults. But on that day, not one fault only, but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out. We shall see what we feared to see here, and much more. And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him!”

— Blessed John Henry Newman

 

 

Saint Bridget of Sweden longed from an early age to become a nun. But she was obedient to her prominent family’s desire that she marry a prince. Their marriage was happy and produced eight children (including one, Catherine, who would go on to be a saint herself). After her husband’s death, Bridget followed the call of her youth.

There are different seasons to our lives, as Bridget found. Her example shows us that God knows what’s best for each season; all we have to do is listen.

—from the book Sisterhood of Saints by Melanie Rigney

**

“Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow.”

— St. Vincent de Paul

**

“Yes, my heart’s dear one, Jesus, is here with His cross. Since you are one of His favorites, he wants to make you into His likeness; why be afraid that you will not have the strength to carry this cross without a struggle? On the way to Calvary, Jesus did indeed fall three times and you, poor little child, would like to be different from your spouse, would rather not fall a hundred times if necessary to prove your love to Him by getting back up with even more strength than before your fall!”

— St. Therese of Lisieux

 

 

 

“Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”

— St. Francis of Paola

**

“Now man need not hide from God as Adam did; for He can be seen through Christ’s human nature. Christ did not gain one perfection more by becoming man, nor did He lose anything of what He possessed as God. There was the Almightiness of God in the movement of His arm, the infinite love of God in the beatings of His human heart and the Unmeasured Compassion of God to sinners in His eyes. God was now manifest in the flesh; this is what is called the Incarnation. The whole range of the Divine attributes of power and goodness, justice, love, beauty, were in Him. And when Our Divine Lord acted and spoke, God in His perfect nature became manifest to those who saw Him and heard Him and touched Him. As He told Philip later on: Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father [John 14:9].”

— Fulton J. Sheen

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