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“We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life. We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.”

— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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“Christ Himself taught humility of heart, and the heart must not remain idle, nor fail to product the necessary acts. And what acts of humility do you make before God? How often do you make them? When have you made them? How long is it since you made them? It would be absurd to hope for the reward which is promised to the humble without being humble, or at least making acts of humility; humility of heart without the heart’s humbling itself—what folly! Are you foolish enough to believe that this can be done? … it is necessary to humble ourselves when we approach God with prayer to obtain some grace, because God does not regard nor heed nor impart His grace except to the humble … When, therefore, you come to ask God for some grace of the body or of the soul, do you always remember to practice this humility? When we pray, and especially when we say the ‘Our Father’, we are speaking to God; and how many times when you are saying your prayers, do you speak to God with less respect than if you were speaking to one of your fellow creatures? How often when you are in church, which is the house of God, do you listen to a sermon, which is the Word of God, and assist at the functions of the service without any reverence? Humility of heart, says St. Thomas, is accompanied by exterior reverence; and to be lacking in this is to lack humility and is therefore a sin of pride, ‘which excludes reverence.'”

— Rev. Cajetan da Bergamo, Humility Of Heart

 

“She was the first flower in Francis’ garden, and she shone like a radiant star.”
—Saint Bonaventure

On Sunday we begin the Advent season, leading us to the birth of Christ. As we walk this journey, we will be joined by Saint Clare, a holy woman with quite her own journey to Christ. It is one that begins with Clare’s decision to leave behind the comforts of her life, descend to the hills below Assisi, and join Saint Francis in living out his mission. For Clare, Christ was her focus and Saint Francis was her guide to him. Her path, though, was definitely her own.

“Make known to me your ways, LORD; teach me your paths. / Guide me by your fidelity and teach me, for you are God my savior.”—Psalm 25: 4-5

—from the book Advent with Saint Clare

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“Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the most tender of friends with souls who seek to please Him. His goodness knows how to proportion itself to the smallest of His creatures as to the greatest of them. Be not afraid then in your solitary conversations, to tell Him of your miseries, fears, worries, of those who are dear to you, of your projects, and of your hopes. Do so with confidence and with an open heart.”

— St. Damien of Molokai

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“The fullness of wisdom is fear of the Lord, she is present with the faithful in the womb (Sirach 1:14). Fear of the Lord does not mean to be afraid of God. It means to stand in awe and wonder before the greatness of the Lord. When we recognize that God is God and we are creatures, we develop a healthy sense of humility. We acknowledge our need for wisdom and grace, which are both gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

— Rev. Jude Winkler

 

 

“Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a Master who pays well; who rewards even a cup of cold water given for love of Him.”

— St. Dominic Savio

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“The temporal goods are created by the Most High for the sole purpose of sustaining life; having attained this end, the need of them ceases. And as this need is limited, soon and easily satisfied, there is no reason that the care for the immortal soul should be only fitful and temporary, while the hunger after riches should be so perpetual and unintermitting, as it has come to be among men. It is the height of perverseness for man to mix up the end and the means in an affair so important and urgent, that he devote all his time, all his care, all the exertion of his powers and all the alertness of his mind to the life of the body, of which he knows not the duration nor the end, and that on the other hand, in many years of his existence he spare for his poor soul only one hour, and that very often the last and the worst one of his whole life.”

— Venerable Mary of Agreda

 

“Gratefulness strengthens a sense of belonging. There is no closer bond than the one which gratefulness celebrates, the bond between giver and thanks-giver. Everything is gift. Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless “yes” to belonging.”

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life

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“If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.”

— St. Clement of Alexandria

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“Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more generous, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in Heaven or on earth; for love proceeds from God and cannot rest but in God above all things created.”

— Thomas a’ Kempis

 

 

“Francis was becoming a happy man, not giddy, but a man whose whole being radiated joy. He had endured hatred and abuse in patience for two years already, and yet his spirit seemed more steadfast with the passing weeks and months and years – and Bernard looked and listened, and then one day he saw. He saw that what was happening to Francis was not madness but a great grace of God—a grace that had begun to draw Bernard himself. He began to see that what was happening was the religious conversion of Francis Bernardone. Bernard remembered the words of the Gospel he’d heard at Mass. The priest said that they were the first words of Jesus. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15).”

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis

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“If you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him. If you cry with Him, you will have joy with Him. If you die with Him on the cross of tribulation, you will possess the eternal dwelling place in the splendor of the saints. And your name, written in the book of life, will be glorious among men.”

— St. Clare of Assisi

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“The soul, enlightened by faith, judges of things in a very different way to those who, having only the standard of the senses by which to measure them, ignore the inestimable treasure they contain . . . the soul that recognizes the will of God in every smallest event, and also in those that are most distressing and direful, receives all with an equal joy, pleasure and respect. It throws open all its doors to receive with honor what others fear and fly from with horror. The outward appearance may be mean and contemptible, but beneath this abject garb the heart discovers and honors the majesty of the king. The deeper the abasement of his entry in such a guise and in secret the more does the heart become filled with love.”

— Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

 

 

“In one sense, what the Voice said to Francis is what he already knew, that beneath what appears on the surface is the priceless gold of what everything really is: God’s precious creation. And even greater than the created thing is its re-creation in eternity. Everything will be a new heaven and a new earth and it is struggling to be so even now. Humans who join in the sufferings, the birth-pangs, of all creation become transformed through their patience and long suffering and see at once that God’s future kingdom is already being realized in and with them. For everything suffers change, and only human beings who are able to see and understand can embrace that change willingly even when it involves darkness and suffering.”

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis

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“If you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him. If you cry with Him, you will have joy with Him. If you die with Him on the cross of tribulation, you will possess the eternal dwelling place in the splendor of the saints. And your name, written in the book of life, will be glorious among men.”

— St. Clare of Assisi

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“The soul, enlightened by faith, judges of things in a very different way to those who, having only the standard of the senses by which to measure them, ignore the inestimable treasure they contain . . . the soul that recognizes the will of God in every smallest event, and also in those that are most distressing and direful, receives all with an equal joy, pleasure and respect. It throws open all its doors to receive with honor what others fear and fly from with horror. The outward appearance may be mean and contemptible, but beneath this abject garb the heart discovers and honors the majesty of the king. The deeper the abasement of his entry in such a guise and in secret the more does the heart become filled with love.”

— Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

 

 

“Our freedom always has this marvelous power to make what is taken from us—by life, events, or other people—into something offered. Externally there is no visible difference, but internally everything is transfigured: fate into free choice, constraint into love, loss into fruitfulness. Human freedom is of absolutely unheard-of greatness. It does not confer the power to change everything, but it does empower us to give a meaning to everything, even meaningless things; and that is much better. We are not always masters of the unfolding of our lives, but we can always be masters of the meaning we give them. Our freedom can transform any event in our lives into an expression of love, abandonment, trust, hope, and offering.”

— Fr. Jacques Philippe

“We are constantly surrounded by advertising in a growing variety of forms. Ads creep into nearly everything we do. And this ramps up even more during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent invites us to take a break from the deluge of ads and seek something deeper and more lasting than the latest electronics or the best deal on that kitchen appliance that everyone needs this year. Advent invites us to seek a sense of peace and wholeness in our hearts and in our daily lives. If we do that even in small ways this year, we will have an immeasurable gift to share with our loved ones and possibly even with our world.”

—from the book Simple Gifts: Daily Reflections for Advent

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“Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of our hope; He is our Mediator and Advocate; the victim and sacrifice for our sins. He is goodness and patience itself; His mercy is moved by the tears of sinners, and He never refuses pardon and grace to those who ask it with a truly contrite and humbled heart.”

— St. Charles Borromeo

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“My daughter, know that My Heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy, graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached Me has ever gone away unconsoled. All misery gets buried in the depths of My mercy, and every saving and sanctifying grace flows from this fountain.”

— St. Faustina Kowalska

 

“Essentially a soldier, the Christian is always on the lookout. He has sharper ears and hears an undertone that others miss; his eyes see things in a particularly candid light, and he senses something to which others are insensible, the streaming of a vital current through all things. He is never submerged in life, but keeps his head and shoulders clear of it and his eyes free to look upward. Consequently he has a deeper sense of responsibility than others. When this awareness and watchfulness disappear, Christian life loses its edge; it becomes dull and ponderous.”

— Fr. Romano Guardini

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“Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.”

— St. Bonaventure

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“I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head and that you are a member of his body. He belongs to you as the head belongs to the body. All that is his is yours: breath, heart, body, soul and all his faculties. All of these you must use as if they belonged to you, so that in serving him you may give him praise, love and glory.”

— St. John Eudes

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“Since Jesus has gone to Heaven now, I can only follow the traces He has left behind. But how bright these traces are! How fragrant and divine! I have only to glance at the Gospels; at once this fragrance from the life of Jesus reaches me, and I know which way to run: to the lowest, not the highest place!”

— St. Therese of Lisieux

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