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Today we celebrate the conversion of St. Paul, who was literally knocked off of his (high) horse (Acts 9:1-9).

His conversion is a good reminder that no one is too far gone for Jesus.

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

– St. Bernard of Clairvaux

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“Since all our love for God is ultimately a response to His love for us, we can never love Him in the same way He loves us, namely, gratuitously. Since we are fundamentally dependent on God and in His debt for our creation and redemption, our love is always owed to Him, a duty, a response to His love. But we can love our neighbor in the same way that He loves us, gratuitously—not because of anything the neighbor has done for us or because of anything that we owe him, but simply because love has been freely given to us. We thereby greatly please the Father. God the Father tells Catherine [of Siena]: This is why I have put you among your neighbors: so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—that is, love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself. And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.”

– Ralph Martin

 

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

— St. Basil the Great

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“Scattered about the entire earth, your mother the Church is tormented by the assaults of error. She is also afflicted by the laziness and indifference of so many of the children she carries around in her bosom as well as by the sight of so many of her members growing cold, while she becomes less able to help her little ones. Who then will give her the necessary help she cries for if not her children and other members to whose number you belong?”

— Saint Augustine

 

“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

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“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., How to Pray Always

“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

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“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

 

“The Cross is the way to Paradise, but only when it is borne willingly.”

— St. Paul of the Cross

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“There was much in the Magdalen that she had never used, perhaps never dreamed of, until she came to our Lord. He revealed to her the secret of true self-development, which is another word for sanctity. And she found under His guidance that everything in her had henceforth to be used, and used in a fuller and richer way than she had ever imagined possible. It was in no narrow school of self-limitation, in no morbid school of false asceticism, that this poor sinner was educated in the principles of sanctity, but in the large and merciful school of Him who has been ever since the hope of the hopeless, the friend of publicans and sinners; who knows full well that what men need is not to crush and kill their powers, but to find their true use and to use them; that holiness is not the emptying of life, but the filling; that despair has wrapped its dark cloud around many a soul because it found itself in possession of powers that it abused and could not destroy and did not know how to use. Christ taught them the great and inspiriting doctrine ‘I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.'”

— Fr. Basil W. Maturin

 

“O That I Might Find Him”

 

I can remember very vividly how in my recent seminary days, I was able to strengthen my spiritual life through communing with nature.  The seminary campus is a beautiful site, particularly in the spring.  And it was this time of year that I made it a practice to go out to the edge of the campus every afternoon for at least an hour to commune with nature.  On the side of the campus ran a tributary from the Delaware river,  Everyday I would sit on the edge of the campus by the side of the river and watch the beauties of nature.  My friend, in this experience, I saw God.  I saw him in the birds of the air, the leaves of the tree, the movement of the rippling waves. . . . Sometimes I go out at night and look up at the stars as they bedeck the heavens like shining silver pins sticking in a magnificent blue pin cushion.  There is God.  Sometimes I watch the sun as it gets up in the morning and paints its technicolor across the eastern horizon.  There is God.  Sometimes I watch the moon as it walks across the sky as a queen walks her masterly mansion.  There is God.  Henry Ward Beecher said it right:  “Nature is God’s tongue.”

 

Martin Luther King, Jr.  “Reminiscence about Crozer years, ca. 1953,”  The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson.

“One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life; but one should say that it is not easy. Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain.”

— St. Anthony of the Desert

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“That which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did and suffered for all men, He did and suffered for each one in particular; and He would not have thought it too much to do if it had been a question of saving only a single soul. The salvation of a soul is, then, the price of the blood of God, the price of the death of God, the price of the greatest sacrifice that God, clothed in our human nature, could possibly make! This is incomprehensible! … It proves that the dignity of a soul is beyond understanding—for God to abase Himself, for God to annihilate Himself, for God to sacrifice Himself, only to save that soul and make it happy forever! … As for us, who believe humbly and firmly all that God has revealed to us, let us learn, by the contemplation of God upon a Cross, what is the value of our souls. Let us not lose our soul; let us not prostitute it to creatures; and to make sure of our eternal salvation, which cost so much to the Son of God, let us beg of Jesus Christ Himself to take charge of it, to lead us in the right way and guide us always. Such an inestimable treasure runs too great a risk in our own hands. Let us trust it to God and our Savior. Let us make Him the Master of our liberty, which we may so easily abuse, and the abuse of which may bring about such terrible consequences. Once abandoned to the safe and infallible guidance of His grace, we have no more to fear. He loves us too much, He takes too much interest in our salvation, ever to lose the price of His blood and His sufferings.”

— Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou

 

“The life of the body is the soul; the life of the soul is God.”

– St. Anthony of Padua

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“Francis [de Sales] insists that true devotion must touch every area of our life. True devotion is not just a matter of spiritual practices but of bringing all our life under the lordship of Christ. Francis is known for his slogan: ‘Live, Jesus! Live, Jesus!’ What he means by this is an invitation to Jesus to ‘live and reign in our hearts forever and ever’ . . . In other words, for Francis, to live the devout life is to reach the point in our love for God and neighbor that we eagerly (‘carefully, frequently, and promptly’) desire to do His will in all the various ways in which it is communicated to us: in the duties of our state in life, in the objective teaching of God’s Word, in opportunities and occasions presented to us, in response to our interior inspirations.”

— Ralph Martin

“Humility, obedience, meekness, and love are the virtues that shine through the Cross and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. O my Jesus, help me imitate you!”

– St. Anthony Mary Claret

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“Worship is a spiritual weapon. When we worship God, we enter into His presence in a powerful way. Because demons tremble at His presence, they are reluctant to follow us there. No doubt the Devil is busy tempting us and trying to distract us even when we attend Mass. But if we give ourselves wholly to participating in the Mass, he has little room to operate. In fact, true worship focuses our attention on God: praising Him for who He is and thanking Him for what He has done. When our minds and hearts are centered on God, the Enemy’s provocations and enticements lose their power. Frequent Mass attendance, then, is an effective weapon of our warfare.”

— Paul Thigpen

 

“I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand.”

— St. Anselm of Canterbury

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“So when we pray, we must stand in His presence, on His level. We must see His suffering in the same way that we see His greatness, and as we picture His compassion. But we must also remember that that suffering, that greatness and that compassion will one day judge us. We shall be weighed in the balance by them; and if we are found wanting in any way, we shall hear the words: ‘Depart from me. . .’ ‘Go elsewhere; go to those who refused to be my friends.'”

— Dom Augustin Guillerand

 

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