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“Like his namesake St. Francis, Pope Francis has made joy one of the hallmarks of his papacy. It’s a joy in the simple things in life and a focus on sharing God’s love with everyone he meets. It’s a way of looking at the world that sees hope and possibility, that emphasizes real connections over the distance that can accompany formality. Joy is deeper than mere happiness. It’s less influenced by external circumstances. Events and people and material things can make us happy. But if we bring an inner disposition of joy to our lives, we will be surprised by the way we can change the people around us. When we describe someone as “joyful” we often mean that they bring a special light into life. We know that we aren’t always going to be happy. Sadness, even tragedy, is going to cross our paths more than once. But we can strive to be joyful as a matter of course.

—from Diane M. Houdek,  Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy


“God loves those who thank Him even in suffering.”

— St. Arnold Janssen


“The soul that does not attach itself solely to the will of God will find neither satisfaction nor sanctification in any other means however excellent by which it may attempt to gain them. If that which God Himself chooses for you does not content you, from whom do you expect to obtain what you desire? . . . No soul can be really nourished, fortified, purified, enriched, and sanctified except in fulfilling the duties of the present moment.”

— Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade



“Keep to the ancient way and custom of the Church, established and confirmed by so many Saints under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And live a new life. Pray, and get others to pray, that God not abandon His Church, but reform it as He pleases, and as He sees best for us, and more to His honour and glory.”

— St. Angela Merici


“Once, while I was wondering why Our Lord so dearly loves the virtue of humility, the thought suddenly struck me, without previous reflection, that it is because God is the supreme Truth and humility is the truth, for it is the most true that we have nothing good of ourselves but only misery and nothingness: whoever ignores this, lives a life of falsehood. they that realize this fact most deeply are the most pleasing to God, the supreme Truth, for they walk in the truth.”

— St. Teresa of Avila


“And now here they were together again at La Verna, their sacred mountain, preparing for the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, and Leo was praying the Mass of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, his feet planted firmly on the rocky ground. He raised his heart to Leo’s voice in the Introit’s perfect articulation: “Nos autem gloriari opportet in cruce Domini Nostri Jesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra: per quem salvati et liberati sumus. We however should glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection through which we are saved and made free.” The wind began to whistle and whine through the pine trees as Brother Leo intoned, “Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.” That cry, like that of the pines, for mercy. Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner. And sinner he had been and was, but lately he seemed to remember more the blessings of Jesus.”

—from Murray Bodo, OFM, author of the book Francis and Jesus

“Saint Francis and Saint Clare made what most would call negative or disadvantage shimmer and shine by their delight in what the rest of us ordinarily oppose, deny, and fear: things like being small, poor, disparaged, being outside the system of power and status, weakness in any form, or what Francis generally referred to as minoritas.

This is a different world than most of us choose to live in. We all seem invariably to want to join in the “majority” and the admired. Francis and Clare instead make a preemptive strike at both life and death, offering a voluntary assent to Full Reality in all its tragic wonder. They make a loving bow to the very things that defeat, scare, and embitter most of the rest of us. You might call it “dying before you die,” which is always the secret of the saints, and the heart of any authentic spiritual initiation. ”

—from Richard Rohr,  Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi



“While proofreading a manuscript, I better keep my mind on the text, not on God. If my mind is torn between the two, the typos will slip through like little fish through a torn net. God will be present precisely in the loving attention I give to the work entrusted to me. By giving myself fully and lovingly to that work, I give myself fully to God. This happens not only in work but also in play, say, in bird-watching or in watching a good movie. God must be enjoying it in me, when I am enjoying it in God. Is not this communion the essence of praying?”

—from Brother David Steindl-Rast, The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life


“All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever has done these two things best, has made himself most saintly.”

— Saint Francis de Sales


“By accepting the sufferings ‘offered’ by life and allowed by God for our progress and purification, we spare ourselves much harder ones. We need to develop this kind of realism and, once and for all, stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness.”

— Fr. Jacques Philippe



“The three vows that Saint Francis took—poverty, chastity, and obedience—were the same as those that monks had taken for centuries. However, he lived without the safety net that most monks had in their monasteries. If working with his hands did not earn enough to live on, Francis begged. But first the friars had to work hard and live simply. They did not wait for people to come to them. The friars went to the people and preached the word of God that too often was not preached effectively. Today, we “preach” by the way we live out the Gospel in our own lives.”

—from Pat McCloskey, OFM,  Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi


“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”

— St. Therese of Lisieux


“Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life ‘in earthen vessels’, and it remains ‘hidden with Christ in God’. We are still in our ‘earthly tent’, subject to suffering, illness, and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.”

— (CCC, 1420-21)



“Pope Francis reminds us that we must turn not to worldly responses in the face of fear—to consumerism, violence, self-centeredness—but instead turn to a strong personal experience of Christ in the Spirit. Like the disciples on a boat during the storm, we too will find ourselves afraid and confused in this life. But may we reach not for the fear-mongering mentality of worldly wisdom and politics and instead reach out to Christ who shows us the way through the fear toward life and courage. Only then can we defeat the enemy of Christian discipleship, living fearlessly as witnesses of the Gospel in a world so desperately in need of that hope.”

—from Dan Horan, OFM,  God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude


“Consider God’s charity. Where else have we ever seen someone who has been offended voluntarily paying out his life for those who have offended him?”

— St. Catherine of Siena


“I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world—mercy triumphed over justice. My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant.”

— St. Faustina Kowalska



“Peace is a work of justice; it does not come about by a display of superior strength or military might. In fact, it can be argued that those who “live among social outcasts, among the poor and helpless, the sick and the lepers, and those who beg by the wayside” most truly effect the cause of peace and justice by changing society at its very roots: its people. Make a sign of peace today in some small way. Help to effect a change in the world with an act of justice and love.”

—from Pat McCloskey, OFM, Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi


“We should take as a maxim never to be surprised at current difficulties, no more than at a passing breeze, because with a little patience we shall see them disappear. Time changes everything.”

— St. Vincent de Paul


“When we come into church from the outside our ears are filled with the racket of the city, the words of those who have accompanied us, the laboring and quarreling of our own thoughts, the disquiet of our hearts’ wishes and worries, hurts and joys. How are we possibly to hear what God is saying? That we listen at all is something; not everyone does. It is even better when we pay attention and make a real effort to understand what is being said. But all this is not yet the attentive stillness in which God’s word can take root. This must be established before the service begins, if possible in the silence on the way to church, still better in a brief period of composure the evening before.”

— Msgr. Romano Guardini




“There can be no doubt that Padre Pio dedicated his life to prayer and suffering. Every breath he took was a prayer—never for himself, always for others. From the beginning of his life, he was able to easily travel from this world to the next, through deep prayer. He used this connection with God to recommend to him the prayers of his spiritual children.

This ability to make contact with the powerful presence of God through prayer enabled him to bless and pray with those in most need, wherever they were in the world.”

—from the book Padre Pio: A Personal Portrait


“Love Our Lady and make her loved; always recite the Rosary and recite it as often as possible.”

— St. Padre Pio


“Always be impartial and just in your deeds. Put yourself into your neighbor’s place, and him in yours, and then you will judge fairly . . . Frequently, therefore, examine your heart, whether it is so disposed towards your neighbor, as you would have his disposed towards you, were you to change places; for this is the true test.”

— St. Francis de Sales



“Always bear in mind as a safe general rule that while God tries us by his crosses and sufferings, he always leaves us a glimmer of light by which we continue to have great trust in him and to recognize his immense goodness. I urge you, therefore, not to be entirely disheartened in the face of the cross…heaven bestows on you, but to continue to have boundless confidence in the divine mercy.”

—from the book The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio: Stories, Letters, and Prayers


“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.”

— St. Thomas Aquinas


“All our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which the most perfectly conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus.”

— St. Louis De Montfort




“Mary remains an ever-present figure as we journey through the Gospels with the women who meet Jesus. These stories are the tales of very different women, yet the common thread is the one most powerfully illustrated by his own Mother: intimacy with Jesus calls out the very best of who we can be.”

—from the book Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels


“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

— St. Therese of Lisieux


“Prayer is greatly aided by fasting and watching and every kind of bodily chastisement. In this regard each of you must do what you can. Thus, the weaker will not hold back the stronger, and the stronger will not press the weaker. You owe your conscience to God. But to no one else do you owe anything more except that you love one another.”

— St. Augustine



September 2017