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“Paradise is not found on the beaches of a Caribbean island or in some mythic garden from the book of Genesis. Paradise is where God’s will is done. It is the very reality of our existence with God without the gloss of our own selfish desires, without our own obsessive need for control. It is the location—not so much in time and space, but in experience—where, like God, we live more and more as women and men for others. As the Our Father says so clearly, as the second criminal says implicitly, God’s kingdom—this paradise about which Jesus speaks—is found when his will is done.”

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

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“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

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“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

 

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“Jesus, in his proclamation of the kingdom, told us what we could prefer to life itself. The Bible ends by telling us we are called to be a people who could say, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20), who could welcome something more than business as usual and live in God’s Big Picture. We all have to ask for the grace to prefer something to our small lives because we have been offered the shared Life, the One Life, the eternal Life, God’s Life, which became visible for us in this world as Jesus.

What we are all searching for is someone to surrender to, something we can prefer to life itself. Well here is the wonderful surprise: God is the only one we can surrender to without losing ourselves! The irony is that we actually find ourselves, but now in a whole new and much larger field of meaning.”

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

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

— St. Gianna Molla

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“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

 

“One of the phrases most likely to be associated with Pope Francis is “Who am I to judge?” It’s a phrase that he has taken to heart. It is an openness to the mercy of God not only for oneself but for everyone. If God doesn’t judge us for our many failings, who are we to judge others harshly? Blaming others, especially for something we’ve done, is an attitude that we ought to outgrow sometime in our toddler years. But like many of the other remnants of original sin, we cling to this finger-pointing.

Pope Francis has been an extraordinary role model in the art of being perfectly human and perfectly Christian. He makes it look and sound so easy, perhaps because he comes to us with the wisdom of decades learning to do this himself.”

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

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“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

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“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

 

I spent yesterday at Women’s Lenten Retreat and did not post to my blog.  I hope you had a wonderful day, too.

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“The cross of Jesus doesn’t just reveal God as unconditional love; it also reveals how vulnerability is the path to intimacy. How is this revealed in the cross? The best place to start is with God. What the cross tells us, more clearly than any other revelation, is that God is absolutely and utterly nonviolent and that God’s vulnerability, which the cross invites us into, is a power for community with God and with each other.”

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

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

— St. Gerard Majella

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“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

 

“How often do we ignore the poor around us? At the very least, take time to see them. Smile. Make eye contact. Set aside some amount of cash each week to give to people you see on the street. If you don’t want to give money, keep snacks or personal care items in your car. Don’t just feel guilty today—take action!

Let this prayer guide our steps:
Let us ask the Lord for the grace
to always see the Lazarus who knocks
at our heart and for the grace to go outside
of ourselves with generosity,
with an attitude of mercy,
so that God’s mercy can enter our heart.”

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

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“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

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“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

 

 

“Francis and and his brothers could have been killed spreading the Gospel. In bringing near the kingdom of heaven, the brothers were engaging in one of the oldest of dramas in which the battle between darkness and light is played out. It was not so much a battle in which they fought the darkness, as it was the ongoing battle with themselves to keep bearing the light, to keep bringing near the kingdom and not giving up, even when they were rejected. For even in rejection they are bringing near the kingdom. And even if they were martyred for proclaiming these words of Jesus, they were not overcome by darkness; they were yielding to the light.”

—from the book Francis and Jesus by Murray Bodo

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“It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a man’s progress, nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.”

— St. Francis Xavier

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“When in your life of faith you are confronted with the deeper mysteries it is natural to become a little frightened. When this happens, take heart faithful Christian. Do not raise objections, but ask with loving submission, ‘How can these things be?’ Let your question be a prayer, an expression of love and self-surrender to God. Let it be an expression of your humble desire not to penetrate his sublime majesty, but to find salvation through the saving deeds of God our Savior.”

— Abbot William of Thierry

 

 

“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

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“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

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“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

 

 

“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

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

— St. Francis of Assisi

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“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

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“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

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“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

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“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

 

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