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“The awareness of God is like the awareness that you are falling in love with a beautiful person whose worthiness, goodness and beauty are so overwhelming that you wonder how so extraordinary a person could possibly love you, whose whole life up to this moment has been lived unworthily of such a love. And when that person is God, and you’re aware that God created you, died for you, and through the Holy Spirit is drawing you into deeper intimacy, you are flooded with regret for the infidelity of really not believing for so long what you now know: God is love, is, in fact, in love with you and wants your love in return.”

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

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“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

 

 

 

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“Exclusion in the name of God is the very worst of religious sins. God speaks in many tongues and to every color and age of people. It is not ours to decide where God’s favor lies. But it is ours to see as a spiritual task the obligation to come to our own opinions. We are not to buy thought cheaply. We are not to attach ourselves to someone else’s decisions like pilot fish and simply go with the crowd. We are meant to be thinking Christians.”

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

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“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

 

 

“The great spiritual problem of the day is being “like fish out of water.” A life without spiritual regularity drifts through time with little to really hang onto when life most needs an anchor. Instead, we often get caught up in someone else’s agenda most of our lives. We put the cell aside for work and its never-ending deadlines. We forget the cell when we need it most and make play a poor substitute for thought and prayer. We think that we can run our legs off doing, going, finding, socializing, and still stay stolid and serene in the midst of the pressure of it all. And then we find ourselves staring at the ceiling one night and thinking to ourselves, “There must be more to life than this.”

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

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“We have difficulty understanding this, just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color, but our difficulty doesn’t alter this fact: God’s omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom. In the core of our being we remain free to accept or reject God’s action in our lives—and to accept or reject it more or less intensely. God wants us to accept him with all our ‘heart, soul, mind, and strength’—in other words, as intensely as possible. But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil, so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace. … Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort, every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act of kindness to someone in need, we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord by putting our faith in his will.”

— Fr. John Bartunek

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“And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force, because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one, but only proposes, invites and counsels.”

— St. Angela Merici

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“We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?”

– St. Andrew Kim Taegon

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“Many people seem to worry themselves a great deal more over the things they cannot help than over the things that they can. … This want of proportion is doubtless observable in myself. Do I think more of the accidents of birth, fortune, and personal appearance than of the self that I have created? For I myself am responsible for myself. ‘To be born a gentleman is an accident; to die one is an achievement.’ Other things, then, I may not be able to help; but myself, I can. As I am at this very moment, as my character is—truthful or untruthful, pure or impure, patient or impatient, slow to wrath or quick-tempered, eager, enthusiastic, energetic, or lazy and dull and wasteful of time—I have no one to thank but myself … the fact remains that I myself alone am responsible for my own character; for character is an artificial thing that is not born, but made.”

— Fr. Bede Jarrett

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“Clearly one of the pillars of the spiritual life, as far as the Desert Monastics were concerned, was a time and place for reflection. A cell. A place to which we can retire in order to find our way back to our best ideals, our fullest selves, our life with God. A physical place, not a mental one, where we are truly alone and truly in peace. The cell is the place where clamor and chaos stop at the door. It’s the place where we get back in touch with our best selves. It’s the center of our very own, private, spiritual universe.”

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

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“While a vocation does bring us joy and should be something that we are good at, it is not primarily concerned with either of these things. As the word indicates, a vocation—from the Latin vocare, “to call”—is something that comes from outside and for the sake of something other than ourselves. Against the values of the world that tell us to never do anything we do not like and to think of our own happiness first, someone with a vocation is concerned most with the needs of the caller rather than their own, willing to sacrifice their own immediate happiness and comfort for the sake of the call. For them, there is a mission much greater than themselves at stake and they are willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill it. Sometimes, this means accepting that what we want to do and what we are good at is not what the world needs.”

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

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“If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.”

— St. Francis de Sales

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“He took what is mine in order that He might impart to me what is His. He took it not to overturn it but to fill it.”
– St. Ambrose

“Prayer is about love, not insight. It is meant to establish friendship. Friendship, as we know, is not as much a question of having insight into each other’s lives as it is of mutually touching each other in affection and understanding. Friendship, as John of the Cross puts it, is a question of attaining “boldness with each other.” When we have touched each other’s lives deeply, we can be bold with each other. We can then ask each other for help, ask each other to be present without needing an excuse, or share our deepest feelings. Good friendship inspires boldness. The object of prayer is precisely to try to attain this kind of “boldness” with God, to try to reach a point where we are comfortable enough with God to ask for help, just as we would a trusted friend. But to reach this kind of trust we first must let God touch us in the heart, and not just in insight.”

 —from Prayer: Our Deepest Longing

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“If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing. If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything.”

— St. Bonaventure

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“Man will not consent to drive away the money-changers from the temple of his soul until he realizes that it is a Holy of Holies—not a house of traffic, but in very truth the house of God. We thus reach two striking conclusions: There cannot be entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which is the true meaning of living in Christ, without complete self-renunciation. There cannot be complete self-renunciation without the constant underlying spirit of faith, without the habit of interior silence, a silence where God is dwelling. Many do not see the connection between thoughts about the King and the service of the King; between the interior silence … and the continual detachment … If we look closer, it will be seen that there is a strong, close, unbreakable link between the two. Find a recollected person, and he will be detached; seek one who is detached, and he will be recollected. To have found one is to have discovered the other … Anyone who tries, on a given day, to practice either recollection or detachment cannot ignore the fact that he is doing a double stroke of work.”

— Raoul Plus, S.J.

 

 

“Gregory of Nyssa elaborated a theory of the stages of the mystical life that had a profound impact on the future of Christian spirituality. For Gregory, the spiritual journey is a dynamic adventure of progressively deeper union with God that can never stagnate or get boring, since our created nature can never contain or comprehend the fullness of the infinite God. Since God surpasses our intellect, Gregory identifies a certain darkness that characterizes the mystical experience, a theme that would be developed by many subsequent writers over the centuries.”

—from the book When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers

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“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”

— St. Thomas Aquinas

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“You judge me, O Lord, for, although no one ‘knows the things of a man but the spirit of man which is in him,’ there is something further in man which not even that spirit of man which is in him knows. But you, Lord, who made him, know all things that are in him. Although I despise myself before your sight, and account myself but dust and ashes, yet I know something of you which I do not know about myself. In truth, ‘we see now through a glass in a dark manner,’ and not yet ‘face to face.’  … Let me confess, then, what I know about myself. Let me confess also what I do not know about myself, since that too which I know about myself I know because you enlighten me. As to that which I am ignorant of concerning myself, I remain ignorant of it until my ‘darkness shall be made as the noonday in your sight.'”

— St. Augustine

 

“The mystics cultivate awareness. They listen for God’s word; they respond with concrete, often heroic, actions when they hear it. A mystic, then, is one who shows the rest of us who we really are, who we can become, if only we would realize the gift of God that is already within us and respond in our concrete daily lives to God’s great gift of love. The mystic shows us how not to let God’s word return to God empty. The mystic uncovers the mystery, a mystery inside each one of us, and models what it looks like and what it accomplishes. In all of this it is important to remember that God takes the initiative—both in the ordinary believer’s life and in the mystic’s life. One cannot force God’s hand or woo God to make one a mystic. But once that initiative is taken, the mystic’s heart is changed, and he or she falls in love with God.”

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

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“As the pilot of a vessel is tried in the storm; as the wrestler is tried in the ring, the soldier in the battle, and the hero in adversity: so is the Christian tried in temptation.”

— St. Basil the Great

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“Our confidence in God must be founded on His infinite goodness and on the merits of the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, with this condition on our part: that we should preserve and recognize in ourselves an entire and firm resolution to belong wholly to God, and to abandon ourselves in all things, and without any reserve, to His Providence. Observe that I do not say that we must feel this resolution to belong wholly to God, but only that we must have it and recognize it in ourselves; we must not concern ourselves with what we feel or do not feel, since the greater part of our feelings and satisfactions are only the movements of self-love. Neither must it be supposed that in all this practice of abandonment and indifference, we shall never have desires contrary to the will of God, or that nature will never shrink with repugnance from the dispositions of His good pleasure, for these will often occur. The virtues of abandonment and indifference reside in the higher region of our soul; the lower region, generally speaking, has nothing to do with them. We must remain at peace, and paying no attention whatever to what that lower nature desires, we must embrace the divine will and unite ourselves to it—whatsoever this may entail. There are very few persons who reach this height of perfect self-renunciation; nevertheless, we must all aim at it, each according to his little measure.”
— St. Francis de Sales

 

 

“The mystics have been touched by God in an extraordinary way and in some cases have written extraordinarily well of the inner journey. Every mystical text is the story of an individual’s encounter with God. In those words we can find inspiration and motivation to seek, with the same single-minded perseverance, to be open to God’s voice. Not every mystic will appeal to everyone, but one or the other may strike a chord in the heart of someone trying to live the Gospel and know God. Something you read will speak to you, and you will say, “This is the saint for me; I believe this; I trust these words, this life.”

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

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“Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him whom the angels serve.”

– St. Agnes

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“With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence: ‘For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living’ (Wisdom 11:24-26).”

— (CCC, 301)

 

 

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