“Trials, tribulation, anguish, anxiety are permitted by the very One Who gives peace.”

— Archbishop Fulton Sheen

**

“Our Lord never intended that we should merely learn by heart the Our Father and recite it day and night. No doubt it is very beautiful and very simple, and can be meant quite easily by anyone who cares to use it. But that is not the purpose (although it is one purpose) of His gift of it to us. He evidently desires that we should take it to pieces, study its composition, and make it the model of our conversation with Him and the Father. … I must study it carefully, petition by petition, noting the distinct meaning of the words, the arrangement of the order, and the gradual development of the ideas of fatherhood, and so forth. … Indeed, this prayer is little else than a series of remarks made by a child to his Father. The very want of connection between each petition, the staccato notes that mark off phrase from phrase, seem to suggest that it should be said very slowly, pausing after each group of notes to let their meaning and harmony echo to the base of the soul.”

— Fr. Bede Jarrett

**

“Prayer has a huge ebb and flow. When we try to pray, sometimes we walk on water and sometimes we sink like a stone. Sometimes we have a deep sense of God’s reality and sometimes we can’t even imagine that God exists. Sometimes we have deep feelings about God’s goodness and love, and sometimes we feel only boredom and distraction. Sometimes our eyes fill with tears and we wish we could stay in our prayer-place forever, and sometimes our eyes wander furtively to our wristwatches to see how much time we still need to spend in prayer.”

—from Prayer: Our Deepest Longing

 

 

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“I know now that true charity consists in bearing all of our neighbors’ defects—not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues.”

— St. Therese of Lisieux

**

“The life of prayer calls for continuous battles. It is the most important and the longest effort in a life dedicated to God. This effort has been given a beautiful name: it is called the guard of the heart. The human heart is a city; it was meant to be a stronghold. Sin surrendered it. Henceforth it is an open city, the walls of which have to be built up again. The enemy never ceases to do all he can to prevent this. He does this with his accustomed cleverness and strength, with stratagem and fury … he succeeds all along the line to distract us and entice us away from the divine presence. We must always be starting again. These continual recoveries, this endless beginning again, tires and disheartens us far more than the actual fighting. We would much prefer a real battle, fierce and decisive. But God, as a rule, thinks otherwise. He would rather we were in a constant state of war.”

— Dom Augustin Guillerand

 

“Let each of us accept the truth of the following statement and try to make it our most fundamental principle: Christ’s teaching will never let us down, while worldly wisdom always will. Christ Himself said that this sort of wisdom was like a house with nothing but sand as its foundation, while His own was like a building with solid rock as its foundation.”

— St. Vincent de Paul

**

“Christians long ago concluded that each individual human being has his or her own particular guardian angel. Though the Church has never defined the teaching about individual guardian angels, the Catechism of the Catholic Church sums up the matter this way, quoting St. Basil: ‘From infancy to death human life is surrounded by [the angels’] watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life’. In this light, we can turn to our guardian angels for help in spiritual warfare, especially to resist the temptations of the Enemy. Yet angels are more than guardians; they are also warriors.”

— Paul Thigpen

**

“I love going out in the yard in the winter to look at the stars. The clear, cold air makes them seem brighter. Different stars are visible in the winter than at other times of the year. As the constellations wheel overhead, there’s a sense of vast possibility in the universe, but also a sense of permanence. The sun, the moon, the stars, and our own earth travel through time and space but there’s nothing random about those movements. Each has an orbit, an appointed path to travel. Our lives, too, have an appointed path. We move through the seasons of the year, and the seasons of a lifetime. Sometimes it seems as though the only constant is constant change. But the eternal feasts of the Christmas season remind us that the eternal keeps our feet grounded on the earth and our eyes fixed on God’s star, the plan God has for each of our lives.”

—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis

 

“Brother André Bessette joked, “My superiors showed me the door and I stayed there,” and, “I was at the door forty years without going out.” According to the Holy Cross constitutions of the time, the porter lived, ate and prayed somewhat separately from the community, near the entrance. Brother André’s first room had a roughly upholstered bench for a bed, a wardrobe, a pitcher and a bowl. Only a crucifix and an image of Saint Joseph hung on the walls. …. Speaking later in life of all his responsibilities, Brother André said, “I never refused to do what was asked of me. I always answered, ‘Yes,’ and I finished at night what I couldn’t do in the day.” Many nights he got little sleep but still rose early in the morning to start his round of work all over again. In light of all these jobs, Brother André once said, “A good-for-nothing is good for everything.”

—from the book God’s Doorkeepers: Padre Pio, Solanus Casey and André Bessette

**

“If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor. If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you.”

– St. Thomas of Villanova

**

“It is undoubtedly true that each of us, men and women, irresponsible and thoughtless as we often are, hold within our hands the happiness and sorrows of others. We cannot help it or escape from it. The power is in us inalienably almost from birth to death—in us, because we are persons—and we are responsible for the use we make of it. Indeed, so mysterious is this power that the very presence of a person who does not realize his responsibility is often the source of the keenest pain of all . . . The failure to exercise the power to give happiness to others is not merely negative in its results; it is the source of the most positive suffering of all. Thus there is no escape from the responsibility involved in the possession of this power. Not to use it where it is due is to destroy all happiness. Strange power, indeed, to be committed to such weak and unworthy hands; yet there could be but one thing worse: that none could interfere with the joys and sorrows of others. We might envy their happiness and pity their sorrows, but we could not help them. It would be a world of isolated individuals wrapped in inviolable selfishness; each must take care of himself and the world must go its way.”

— Fr. Basil W. Maturin

 

 

As our lives grow more pressured, as we grow more tired, and as we begin to talk more about burnout, we fantasize about solitude. We imagine it as a peaceful, quiet place, where we are walking by a lake, watching a sunset, or smoking a pipe in a rocker by the fireplace. But even here, many times we make solitude yet another activity, something we do. Solitude, however, is a form of awareness. It’s a way of being present and perceptive within all of life. It’s having a dimension of reflectiveness in our daily lives that brings with it a sense of gratitude, appreciation, peacefulness, enjoyment, and prayer. It’s the sense, within ordinary life, that life is precious, sacred, and enough.”

 —from Prayer: Our Deepest Longing

**

“If I am distracted, Holy Communion helps me to become recollected. If opportunities are offered by each day to offend my God, I arm myself anew each day for the combat by the reception of the Eucharist. If I am in special need of light and prudence in order to discharge my burdensome duties, I draw nigh to my Savior and seek counsel and light from him.”

— St. Thomas More

**

“Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts, and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. When she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.”

— Blessed Pope Pius IX

 

 

“What we bring to the pursuit of the God of life is what we will get out of it. The regularity of prayer, the depth of our lectio, the embrace of silence, the space we give to the search for God, the surrender of our own obsessions with self to the concerns of God for the world—all these will determine the quality of the contemplation we achieve. Prayer becomes the olive press we walk, the chafing wheel we tread which, over and over again, breaks open our hearts to the Word of God. Then, finally, after years of immersion in daily prayer, we begin to be what we have prayed for all those years.”

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

**

“It is better to be a child of God than king of the whole world!”

— St. Aloysius Gonzaga

**

“It is necessary to have an absolutely sure intention in all our actions, so that the generous fulfillment of our daily duties may be directed toward the highest supernatural ideal. Thus, our life, apart from moments of prayer, will be a prayerful life. It is clear that the habit of giving an upward glance to God at the moment of action is a great assistance in aiding us to behave always with a pure intention and in freeing us from our natural impulses and fancies, so, that, retaining our self-mastery, or rather, God becoming the sole Master, all our movements become dependent upon the Holy Spirit. We see in the Gospel that whenever our Lord was about to undertake some important step, He always paused for a moment to raise His eyes to Heaven, and only after this moment of recollection did He take up the work He had to do. ‘He lifted up His eyes to Heaven’ is a phrase that recurs with significant frequency. And doubtless, when there was no outward sign of this prayer, there was the inward offering. The ideal is the same for us. The constant subjection of self to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is made easier from the fact of His presence in the soul, where He is asked explicitly to preside over all our doings . . .  We shall not submit wholeheartedly to the invisible Guest unless He is kept in close proximity to us.”

— Raoul Plus, S.J., How to Pray Always

 

 

“In A.D. 368 when Cappadocia was stricken with a dire famine, the suffering was intense. Basil distributed the entirety of his inheritance to the poor. He also used Church funds to open soup kitchens where he was often found serving food, girded with an apron. Some of the people in his social class, however, both held on to their money and enjoyed profit from the higher prices resulting from decreased supply and increased demand. We are fortunate to still possess the text of a homily he preached to his peers during this crisis: “You refuse to give on the pretext that you haven’t got enough for your own need. But while your tongue makes excuses, your hand convicts you––that ring shining on your finger silently declares you to be a liar! How many debtors could be released from prison with one of those rings! How many shivering people could be clothed from only one of your wardrobes? And yet you turn the poor away empty-handed.”

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

**

“Only in Christ can men and women find answers to the ultimate questions that trouble them. Only in Christ can they fully understand their dignity as persons created and loved by God.”

— Pope St. John Paul II

**

“There is nothing to be dreaded in human ills except sin—not poverty, or disease, or insult, or ill treatment, or dishonor, or death, which people call the worst of evils. To those who love spiritual wisdom, these things are only the names of disasters, names that have no substance. No, the true disaster is to offend God, to do anything that displeases him.”

— St. John Chrysostom

 

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The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2: 16-21

*

“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart!” (Luke 2:19). In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days. Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people. Deep within, she had learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn taught her, throughout her life, to discover God’s heartbeat in history. She learned how to be a mother, and in that learning process she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son. In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but also learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God. With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise. With Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people.”

—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis

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“The story of Jesus in the Temple tells us that one’s primary family is not our only goal. Another responsibility, one for which our family can prepare us, is the call to follow God in fulfilling our unique mission. In responding to God’s call, we sometimes feel it necessary to do something that will not be understood by family members. Responding to this inner urge can be difficult, especially when close bonds tie together family members. Indeed, the decisions we make as a result of God’s call may cause other family members turmoil and may even lead to ruptured relationships. While the family prepares us for God’s special call, it must never stand in the way of our response.”

—from the book Your [Imperfect] Holy Family

**

“When we serve the poor and the sick we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.”

— St. Rose of Lima

**

If you would suffer with patience the adversities and miseries of this life, be a man of prayer. If you would obtain courage and strength to conquer the temptations of the enemy, be a man of prayer. If you would mortify your own will with all its inclinations and appetites, be a man of prayer. If you would know the wiles of Satan and unmask his deceits, be a man of prayer. If you would live in joy and walk pleasantly in the ways of penance, be a man of prayer. If you would banish from you soul the troublesome flies of vain thoughts and cares, be a man of prayer. If you would nourish your soul with the very sap of devotion, and keep it always full of good thoughts and good desires, be a man of prayer. If you would strengthen and keep up your courage in the ways of God, be a man of prayer. In fine, if you would uproot all vices from your soul and plant all virtues in their place, be a man of prayer. It is in prayer that we receive the unction and grace of the Holy Ghost, who teaches all things.”

— St. Bonaventure

 

 

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