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“I am beginning to think that in our time we will correct almost nothing, and get almost nowhere: but if we can just prepare a compassionate and receptive soil for the future, we will have done a great work. Every minute life begins all over again. Eternity is in the present. Eternity is in the palm of the hand. Eternity is a seed of fire, whose sudden roots break barriers that keep my heart from being an abyss.”

—from The Art of Thomas Merton: A Divine Passion in Word and Vision

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“Commitment is doing what you said you would do, after the feeling you said it in has passed.”

— St. Camillus

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“The soul, who is lifted by a very great and yearning desire for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, begins by exercising herself, for a certain space of time, in the ordinary virtues, remaining in the cell of self-knowledge, in order to know better the goodness of God towards her. This she does because knowledge must precede love, and only when she has attained love, can she strive to follow and to clothe herself with the truth. But, in no way, does the creature receive such a taste of the truth, or so brilliant a light therefrom, as by means of humble and continuous prayer, founded on knowledge of herself and of God; because prayer, exercising her in the above way, unites with God the soul that follows the footprints of Christ Crucified, and thus, by desire and affection, and union of love, makes her another Himself.”

— St. Catherine of Siena

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“Saint Francis of Assisi loved the earth; he walked respectfully over the land as holy ground. When he walked over rocks, “he would walk with fear and reverence out of love for Him who is called ‘the Rock.’” We too are called to tread lightly on our planet, always supported by our Earth home, which has been created to sustain us in every moment.”

—from Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth

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“While the world changes, the cross stands firm.” — St. Bruno

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“You must first have peace in your own soul before you can make peace between other people. Peaceable people accomplish more good than learned people do. Those who are passionate often can turn good into evil and readily believe the worst. But those who are honest and peaceful turn all things to good and are suspicious of no one. … It is no test of virtue to be on good terms with easy-going people, for they are always well liked. And, of course, all of us want to live in peace and prefer those who agree with us. But the real test of virtue and deserving of praise is to live at peace with the perverse, or the aggressive and those who contradict us, for this needs a great grace. … in this mortal life, our peace consists in the humble bearing of suffering and contradictions, not in being free of them, for we cannot live in this world without adversity. Those who can best suffer will enjoy the most peace, for such persons are masters of themselves, lords of the world, with Christ for their friend, and heaven as their reward.”

— Thomas á Kempis

“Maybe what the world needs is more Franciscans. More people to live with the radical love of Saint Francis, to leave everything behind and “rebuild” the Church with humility and joy. In consecrated vowed life, cloistered contemplative life, and even in married secular life, the Franciscan charism has found a home in hundreds of thousands of people over the years. Maybe now is time for another rebirth of that charism. If we are to be followers and imitators of Saint Francis, then the thing we need above all is the humility to know that people do not need us: They need Jesus.”

—from Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God

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“Be peace-loving. Peace is a precious treasure to be sought with great zeal. You are well aware that our sins arouse God’s anger. You must change your life, therefore, so that God in his mercy will pardon you. What we conceal from men is known to God. Be converted, then, with a sincere heart. Live your life that you may receive the blessing of the Lord. Then the peace of God our Father will be with you always.”

— St. Francis of Paola

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“How many souls might reach a high degree of sanctity if properly directed from the first. I know God can sanctify souls without help, but just as He gives the gardener the skill to tend rare and delicate plants while fertilizing them Himself, so He wishes to use others in His cultivation of souls. What would happen if the gardener were so clumsy that he could not graft his trees properly, or knew so little about them that he wanted to make a peach tree bear roses?”

— St. Therese of Lisieux

“Today, Father, this blue sky lauds you. The delicate green and orange flowers of the tulip poplar tree praise you. The distant blue hills praise you, together with the sweet-smelling air that is full of brilliant light. The bickering flycatchers praise you with the lowing cattle and the quails that whistle over there. I too, Father, praise you, with all these my brothers, and they give voice to my own heart and to my own silence. We are all one silence and a diversity of voices.”

—from The Art of Thomas Merton: A Divine Passion in Word and Vision

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“Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You.”

— St. Brendan

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“Do not suppose that after advancing the soul to such a state God abandons it so easily that it is light work for the devil to regain it. When His Majesty sees it leaving Him, He feels the loss so keenly that He gives it in many a way a thousand secret warnings which reveal to it the hidden danger. In conclusion, let us strive to make constant progress: we ought to feel great alarm if we do not find ourselves advancing, for without doubt the evil one must be planning to injure us in some way; it is impossible for a soul that has come to this state not to go still farther, for love is never idle. Therefore it is a very bad sign when one comes to a standstill in virtue.”

— St. Teresa of Avila

“We can never know who or what God is going to use to teach us something new. If we truly want to build up the kingdom of God, we must have the eyes and ears of that kingdom, and the humility to accept that we do not always have the answer. If what we do allows us to do that, we might be well on our way to a vocation.”

—from the book Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God

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“Let us stand fast in what is right, and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him: ‘O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.'”

— St. Boniface

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“Everything that exists is a gift from God. Yet oftentimes we look to the things and creatures created by God for a satisfaction and fulfillment that only God Himself can provide. When the soul wraps itself around the things and the people of this world, looking for satisfaction or fulfillment that only God can give, it produces a distortion in itself, and in others as well. Many spiritual writers call the process of unwinding this possessive, self-centered, clinging, and disordered seeking of things and persons ‘detachment’. The goal of the process of detachment is not to stop loving the things and people of this world, but, quite to the contrary, to love them even more truly in God, under the reign of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Things and people become even more beautiful and delightful when we see them in this light. There are almost always painful dimensions to this process of ‘letting go’ in order to love more, but it’s the pain of true healing and liberation. Christian detachment is an important part of the process by which we enter into a realm of great freedom and joy.”

— Ralph Martin

“It is a source of hope that Pope Francis has taken the name of the Christian saint most associated with concern for nonhuman animals. In addition to emphasizing the need to protect “all of God’s creatures” in his very first homily, Francis once broke protocol by insisting that the canine helper of a sight-impaired journalist be allowed into the hall to greet him. The pope blessed not only the journalist, but gave a “special blessing for your dog, too.”
John Paul II also built on the fact that nonhuman animals have “the breath of life” by claiming during one papal audience that nonhuman animals “have souls” and that we “love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren.”

—from For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action

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“Since happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good, and since the highest good is above, no one can be happy unless he rises above himself, not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart.”

— St. Bonaventure

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“No one can fail to understand that the Divine Eucharist bestows upon the Christian people an incomparable dignity. Not only while the Sacrifice is offered and the Sacrament is received, but as long as the Eucharist is kept in our churches and oratories, Christ is truly Emmanuel, that is, ‘God with us’. Day and night He is in our midst, He dwells with us, full of grace and truth. He restores morality, nourishes virtues, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak. He proposes His own example to those who come to Him that all may learn to be, like Himself, meek and humble of heart and to seek not their own interests but those of God. Anyone who approaches this august Sacrament with special devotion and endeavors to return generous love for Christ’s own infinite love, will experience and fully understand—not without spiritual joy and fruit—how precious is the life hidden with Christ in God and how great is the value of converse with Christ, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness.”
— Bl. Pope Paul VI

“The last degree of love is when He gave Himself to us to be our Food; because He gave Himself to be united with us in every way.”

— St. Bernardine of Siena

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“Prayer brings our mind into the brightness of divine light, and exposes our will to the warmth of divine love. Nothing else can so purge our mind from its ignorance, and our will from its depraved affections. It is a blessed fountain which, as it flows, revives our good desires and causes them to bring forth fruit, washes away the stains of infirmity from our soul, and calms the passions of our hearts.”

— St. Francis de Sales

“Now I am under the sky. The birds are silent now. But the frogs have begun singing their pleasure in all the waters and in the warm, green places where the sunshine is wonderful. Praise Christ, all you living creatures. For Him you and I were created. With every breath we love Him. My psalms fulfill your dim, unconscious song, O brothers in this wood…”

—from The Art of Thomas Merton: A Divine Passion in Word and Vision

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“The limitless loving devotion to God, and the gift God makes of Himself to you, are the highest elevation of which the heart is capable; it is the highest degree of prayer.”

— St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

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“We are all sinners. We have all turned away from the Lord, but the Lord is always ready to take us back. When we sin we hurt ourselves, we break our own hearts. The Father sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts to bring us forgiveness and to heal whatever damage we have done to ourselves.”

— Rev. Jude Winkler

“In its fullness, prayer is an encounter with God that transforms the way we see and interact with the world. As so many saints have suggested, it is like a bright light that reveals what we otherwise do not see.
When we stop for a moment the desire to convince God to give us what we want and simply encounter God—to aim our full attention at the light itself rather than using it to see what we want—our focus becomes clear. All of a sudden, we see ourselves and the world the way God does … and for the first time know that things are not the way that they should be. Something needs to change. Often, that something is us.”

—from Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God

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“Know that the greatest service that man can offer to God is to help convert souls.”

— St. Rose of Lima

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“The soul, however, cannot be perfectly purified from these imperfections, any more than from the others, until God shall have led it into the passive purgation of the dark night, of which I shall speak immediately. But it is expedient that the soul, so far as it can, should labor, on its own part, to purify and perfect itself, that it may merit from God to be taken under His divine care, and be healed from those imperfections which of itself it cannot remedy. For, after all the efforts of the soul, it cannot by any exertions of its own actively purify itself so as to be in the slightest degree fit for the divine union of perfection in the love of God, if God Himself does not take it into His own hands and purify it in the fire, dark to the soul.”

— St. John of the Cross

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