You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2019.

“Perfection is not what being human is about. Perfection is simply not attainable in the human condition. The function of being human is to become the best human beings we can be, one insight, one mistake, at a time. Then, knowing the struggle that comes with trying and failing over and over again, we become tender with others who are also struggling in the process.”

–from the book In God’s Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics

**
“If you become Christ’s you will stumble upon wonder upon wonder, and every one of them true.”

— St. Brendan of Birr

**

“Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defense armor. As Blessed Pope Paul VI once observed, St. Paul ‘used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.’ They are our best defense against his attacks, for they guard our minds and hearts from his deceptions and temptations. A lapse in virtue is in fact a chink in our armor that makes us vulnerable.”

— Paul Thigpen

 

 

Among all the voices that surround and beckon us, we need to discern the unique cadence of God’s voice. And we have a number of principles that come to us from Jesus, from Scripture, and from the deep wells of our Christian tradition that can help us discern God’s voice among the multitude of voices that beckon us:

  • The voice of God is recognized both in whispers, and in thunder and in storm.
  • The voice of God is recognized in the call to what’s higher and invites us to holiness, even as it is recognized in the call to humility.
  • The voice of God is the one that most challenges and stretches us, even as it is the only voice that ultimately soothes and comforts us.
  • The voice of God always invites us to live beyond all fear, even as it inspires holy fear.
  • The voice of God is always heard wherever there is genuine enjoyment and gratitude, even as it asks us to deny ourselves and die to ourselves.

—from Prayer: Our Deepest Longing

“The mystics teach us that one who tries to know and love God sooner or later becomes aware that God is unknowable, but one can love God intimately despite God’s ultimate unknowableness. With this awareness comes the further realization that all one’s desire to know and love God has from the beginning been God’s work and that, try as one may, two things are certain: You cannot find God who has already found you by running away from yourself, your own problems, your own unresolved fears; and secondly, everything you leave in order to respond to God’s love is in the end redeemed, transformed and given back to you wholly new and in an unpossessive way.”

 —from Mystics: 10 Who Show Us the Way of God

**

“When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth.”

– St. Bonaventure

**

“Prayer, considered as petition, consists entirely in expressing to God some desire in order that He may hear it favorably; a real desire is, therefore, its primary and essential condition; without this, we are merely moving the lips, going through a form of words which is not the expression of our will; and thus our prayer is only an appearance without reality. The way, then, to excite ourselves to pray, to put life and fervor into our prayer, and to make of it a cry which, breaking forth from the depths of the soul, penetrates even to heaven, is to conceive the real desire mentioned above, to excite it, to cherish it; for the fervor of our prayer will be in proportion to the strength of the desire we have to be heard; just as what we have but little at heart we ask for only in a half-hearted way, if even we ask it at all; so what we desire with our whole soul we ask for with words of fire, and plead for it before God with an eloquence that is very real.”

— Rev. Dom Lehody

 

 

 

“There is a whole dimension of life to which we have to listen with our whole heart, mind-fully, as we say. Mindfulness is necessary to find meaning—and the intellect is not the full mind. The intellect, one has to hasten to say, is an extremely important part of our mind, but it isn’t the whole mind. What I mean here when I say “mind” is more what the Bible calls the “heart,” what many religious traditions call the “heart.” The heart is the whole person, not just the seat of our emotions. The kind of heart that we are talking about here is the lover’s heart, which says, “I will give you my heart.” That doesn’t mean I give you part of myself; it means I give myself to you. So when we speak about wholeheartedness, a wholehearted approach to life, mindfulness, that alone is the attitude through which we give ourselves to meaning.”

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

**

“Prayer is the best preparation for Holy Communion. Prayer is the raising of the mind to God. When we pray we go to meet Christ Who is coming to us. If our Creator and Savior comes from heaven with such great love, it is only fitting that we should go to meet Him. And this is what we do when we spend some time in prayer.”

– St. Bernardine of Siena

**

“God cannot cease to love me. That is the most startling fact that our doctrine reveals. Sinner or saint He loves and cannot well help Himself. Magdalen in her sin, Magdalen in her sainthood, was loved by God. The difference between her position made some difference also in the effect of that love on her, but the love was the same, since it was the Holy Spirit who is the love of the Father and the Son. Whatever I do, I am loved. But then, if I sin, am I unworthy of love? Yes, but I am unworthy always. Nor can God love me for what I am, since, in that case, I would compel His love, force His will by something external to Himself. In fact, really if I came to consider, I would find that I was not loved by God because I was good, but that I was good because God loved me. My improvement does not cause God to love me, but is the effect of God’s having loved me.”

— Fr. Bede Jarrett

 

“All morality that was ever developed in any tradition in the world can be reduced to the principle of acting as one acts toward those with whom one belongs. And the differences between the different codes of morality are only the limits that we draw for belonging: “These are the ones toward whom you have to act morally, and the others are ‘the others,’ outside.” And when you really live with common sense, that has no limitations; you live out of a morality that includes everybody, and therefore you behave toward everybody as one behaves when one belongs. That is what Jesus meant when he said “the kingdom of God”—and any other term of that sort that you get from any religious tradition will fit in here.”

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

**

“In order to be an image of God, the spirit must turn to what is eternal, hold it in spirit, keep it in memory, and by loving it, embrace it in the will.”

– St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

**

“Prayer is, as it were, being alone with God. A soul prays only when it is turned toward God, and for so long as it remains so. As soon as it turns away, it stops praying. The preparation for prayer is thus the movement of turning to God and away from all that is not God. That is why we are so right when we define prayer as this movement. Prayer is essentially a ‘raising up’, an elevation. We begin to pray when we detach ourselves from created objects and raise ourselves up to the Creator.”

— Dom Augustin Guillerand

 

 

“In the spiritual life, we are meant to prod our souls to regular discipline so that in doing so our hearts will be softened to serve those whom Jesus served. The gentle Jesus wants clean hearts from us, not sacrifice; deep down basic commitment, not simply blue ribbons for winning the spiritual marathons we’ve run to make ourselves feel holy.”

–from the book In God’s Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics

“Francis never wanted anyone to follow him, he wanted them to follow the one he followed. “The Lord has shown me what is mine to do. May he show you what is yours.” In this humility, we realize that it is not our strength, our ingenuity, our love, or our care that is going to shape the world. It is Jesus that the world needs, working through us. The world does not need us. It needs someone who will bring it Jesus. Thank God. Because, really, we could never do anything well on our own. As hard as we try and no matter the intentions we have, the truth of the matter is that sometimes we fail. Actually, we fail a lot. We fail the world, we fail our brothers and sisters, and we fail ourselves. If we truly want to be what the world needs, we need to accept that we are not its savior and that it is actually in our weakness and failing that Christ is made strong in us and in the world.”

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

**

“We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us.”

– St. Bernard of Clairvaux

**

No photo description available.

Francis was destined by his father to be a lawyer so that the young man could eventually take his elder’s place as a senator from the province of Savoy in France. For this reason Francis was sent to Padua to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he returned home and, in due time, told his parents he wished to enter the priesthood. His father strongly opposed Francis in this, and only after much patient persuasiveness on the part of the gentle Francis did his father finally consent. Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a center for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success.

At 35, he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.”

Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. As he wrote in The Introduction to the Devout Life: “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman…. It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world.”

In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal, in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety, and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life.

**

Francis de Sales took seriously the words of Christ, “Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart.” As he said himself, it took him 20 years to conquer his quick temper, but no one ever suspected he had such a problem, so overflowing with good nature and kindness was his usual manner of acting. His perennial meekness and sunny disposition won for him the title of “Gentleman Saint.”

**

“Above all else, Francis de Sales had the heart of an apostle. True, he was intellectually gifted, he had an amiable and mild disposition that helped him make friends easily, and he was an effective writer and public speaker. But none of those advantages would have amounted to anything substantial in his mission had he not possessed a burning love for Christ and for his neighbor, a love that radiated and warmed those around him. This wellspring of charity (purely a gift of God’s grace) permeated all his actions and animated his every effort to spread the kingdom of Christ.”

—from the book On a Mission: Lessons from St. Francis de Sales

**

Image may contain: 1 person, beard and text

“God wants to work through you, regardless of your circumstances—in your office, your home, your social circles, your parish—to search for and rescue those who have drifted or are starting to drift away from the Faith. You can reach people in your own daily life who have been put there by God’s mysterious providence. Though your own personal temperament, abilities, and circumstances are unique and differ from those of others, God wants to make you his coworker in the vast drama of salvation. He has a vital role for you.”

—from the book On a Mission: Lessons from St. Francis de Sales

**

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”

– St. Augustine

**

“Not to try to live in interior silence is equivalent to giving up the effort to lead a truly Christian life. The Christian life is a life of faith, lived in the invisible for what is invisible. Anyone who is not in constant contact with the invisible world runs the risk of remaining always on the threshold of a true Christian life. … Solitude is the stronghold of the strong. Strength is an active virtue, and our power of keeping silence marks the level of our capacity for action. ‘Without this interior cell, we would be incapable of doing great things, either for ourselves or for others.'”

— Raoul Plus, S.J.

 

 

“We tend to think that the opposite of work is leisure. Leisure is not the opposite of work; play is the opposite of work, if you have to have a polarity like that. And leisure is precisely the bridging of this gap between the two. Leisure is precisely doing your work with the attitude of play. That means putting into your work what is most important about playing, namely, that you do it for its own sake and not only to accomplish a particular purpose. And that means that you have to give it time. Leisure is not a privilege for those who can take time for leisure. Leisure is a virtue. It is the virtue of those who give time to whatever takes time, and give as much time as it deserves, and so work leisurely and find meaning in their work and come fully alive. If we have a strict work mentality we are only half alive.”

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

**

“For He became man that we might become divine; and He revealed Himself through a body that we might receive an idea of the invisible Father; and He endured insults from men that we might inherit incorruption.”

— St. Athanasius of Alexandria

**

“Now surely I do see what an immense effect such a doctrine [of the Holy Trinity] must have upon life. It is no mere question for theologians, but one that concerns every living soul. Whatever is allowed by God’s power must be guided by His wisdom and urged on by His love. All that happens to me in life, the little worries and the great anxieties, the crises and the daily annoyances, the sorrows and the joys, the harms that reach me through the sins of others, the great crimes of history, the huge and devastating wars, the partings and loves and the whole cycle of human experience are permitted by Power, which is itself wise and loving. These three Persons determine my life, and, since I walk by faith, I must surely grow very patient in my attitude toward life. For how can I complain or criticize God’s Providence, since it all comes under that triple influence of Power, Wisdom, and Love? Under the guidance, then, of this mystery, I can walk through the valley of death or the more perilous borders of sin without loss of courage or hopefulness. Nothing can make me afraid. How these are separate, yet one, I do not know, nor can I reconcile in my concrete experience the claims of each. It is always a mystery, but a mystery in which I believe. Whatever Power allows on earth is designed in Wisdom and attuned by Love.”

— Fr. Bede Jarrett

Archives