When someone has lived most of his or her life in the last place and then discovers that Jesus is there in the last place as well, it is truly good news. However, when someone has always been looking for the first place and learns that Jesus is in the last place, it is confusing! . . .Yes, the broken and the oppressed have taught me a great deal and have changed me quite radically. They have helped me discover that healing takes place at the bottom of the ladder, not at the top. Their cry for communion has taught me something about my own humanity, my own brokenness – that we are all wounded, we are all poor. But we are all the people of God; we are all loved and are being guided. They have taught me what it means to be with brothers and sisters in communion, in community. They have revealed to me the well of tenderness that is hidden in my own heart and which can give life to others. The broken and oppressed are teaching me what the good news is really about.
– Jean Vanier
Remember that your soul is a temple of the living God. The kingdom of God is within you. Night and day let your aim be to remain in simplicity and gentleness, calmness and serenity, and in freedom from created things, so that you will find your joy in the Lord Jesus. Love silence and solitude, even when in the midst of a crowd or when caught up in your work. Physical solitude is a good thing, provided that it is backed up by prayer and a holy life, but far better than this is solitude of the heart, which is the interior desert in which your spirit can become totally immersed in God, and can hear and savor the words of eternal life. With great purity of intention, aim in everything to do what pleases God. Always remain faithful to God and genuinely accept whatever he wishes.
– St. Paul of the Cross
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Prayer never touches us as long as it remains on the surface of our lives, as long as it is nothing but one more of the thousand things that must be done. It is only when prayer becomes “the one thing necessary” that real prayer begins . . . We are called upon to live Christ’s life. We are called into the desert . . . We are called to face God alone in the night of our own solitude. We are called to die with Jesus, in order to live with him. We are asked to lose all, to be emptied out, in order to be filled with the very fullness of God . . . Christianity is much more than an expression of brotherly love couched in religious terms. It is essential that each person make some kind of personal response to God in Christ.
– James Finley
Coming to Mass on Sunday is to come to make our alliance with God real. Each Sunday Mass is living the alliance that teaches me to respect God . . . Facing Him, I have to dethrone all of the idols that want to take God’s place in my heart: the idols of power, of wealth, of licentiousness – the idols of all of these things that separate men from God. Sunday has to be for us, the alliance with the Lord that is renewed.
– Archbishop Oscar Romero
Man’s great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God – God who has loved us and who continues to love us “to the end,” until all “is finished.” Whoever is moved by love begins to perceive what “life” really is. Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves; it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with Him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with Him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we “live.”
– Pope Benedict XVI
Our Lord presents the perfect image of what we must become. . .His own brother or sister. This is no longer a dream; it means that we have made a preliminary contact with a reality that will show us the way to go and give us the strength to travel. A dream which is a mere mirage prevents us from living now, but hope enables us to participate in God’s dream for us and accept what is in front of us with patience. . .The idea of God’s presence within us is no dream; to abandon oneself, to put oneself completely at God’s service, is to acquire the ability to pass from daydreaming into truth.
– Father Rene Voillaume
Why did Jesus Christ sacrifice himself to the point of death? Faith answers – to expiate for our sins. Why did he rise in such splendor? To show us the meaning of our redemption. In his death, we recall that we were dead because of sin. In his resurrection, we have a perfect example of our resurrection in grace. Since Jesus Christ rose immortal to a life of glory, we must say with St. Paul that we too must rise immortal in the life of grace, firmly resolved to never again subject our souls to spiritual death.
– St. Pio of Pietrelcina
“Today’s Reflection” is now in paperback:
When for one reason or another, we contemplate the reality of death, it is not uncommon that we begin to think about the sin and failure in our past. And, for many, this thought can be a cause of great unhappiness and even despair. After all, the past is past, we are told; it can never be recovered; the chance of grace is gone. But when we pray the Hail Mary, there is contained in one small word an entirely different message, and one which can, in itself, completely transform our thinking and transform our lives. It is the word “now.” “Pray for us now.” What Mary discovered, deep in her being at the Annunciation, was that nothing was impossible to God. In a single moment, in an instant of grace, everything can be changed. And this, of course, is true, or can be true, for each one of us. . . In our lives, we can say that there are only two moments that are of supreme importance: the moment of our death, and this moment now, the present moment. Part of the greatness of the Hail Mary is that it contains, and contains together in one breath, as it were, both of these moments: Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
-Father Paul Murray, O.P.
In Bourke, Australia, Mother Teresa and her Sisters visited and assisted the poor and infirm. In one small hut there was an elderly man who lived alone. Mother Teresa cleaned his hut and washed his clothes. One day she found a very dusty lamp among his possessions. She asked the man if he ever lit it and he said no. “I have not had a visitor for years and years,” the man said. “There is no reason for me to light the lamp.” “Will you light the lamp if my Sisters come and visit you?” Mother Teresa asked. The man replied that he would. Mother Teresa cleaned the lamp and arranged for her Sisters to visit him every evening. He began to look forward to their visits and always had the lamp lit for them. Two years passed and Mother Teresa forgot about the incident. One day, she received a message from the man. He said, “Tell my friend, Mother Teresa, that the light she lit in my life is still burning.”
It’s true Lord that you are always thinking of us. From the beginning of time, before we existed, even before the world existed, you have been dreaming of me, thinking of me, loving me. And it is true that your love created me. It’s true Lord, that you have conceived for my life a unique destiny. It’s true that you have an eternal plan for me, a wonderful plan that you have always cherished in your heart, as a father thinks over the smallest detail of the life of his little one, still unborn. It’s true that, always bending over me, you guide me to bring your plan about, light on my path and strength for my soul. . .You the divine Attentive One, you, the divine Patient One, you the divine Present One, see that at no time I forget your presence. I don’t ask you to bless what I myself have decided to do, but give me the grace to discover and to live what you have dreamed for me.
– Father Michel Quoist