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
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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
Being holy means living exactly as our Father in heaven wants us to live. You will say that it is difficult. It is. The ideal is a very high one. And yet it is also easy. It is within our reach. When a person becomes ill, there may be no appropriate medicine. But in supernatural affairs, it is not like that. The medicine is always at hand. It is Jesus Christ, present in the Holy Eucharist, and he also gives us his grace in the other sacraments which he established. Let us say again, in word and in action: “Lord, I trust in you. Your ordinary providence, your help each day, is all I need.”
– St. Josemaría Escrivá
We look around us at a world of noise and frenzied activity, of blaring voices in the media clamoring for attention, and millions of daily words poured out in print demanding to be read. We see the streets of our cities crowded with people and moving vehicles. We look at the sky and see planes traveling at speeds that were not even dreamed of at the beginning of the last century. We find ourselves surrounded by human beings who are preoccupied with money and pleasure and having a good time, and then we wonder: How can a believer in Christ be his devoted follower in an age that seems to be oblivious to heaven and eternity and everything Jesus stands for? Here are two recommendations: Learn the secret of silence, and develop the art of mental prayer. Together, this will give us some idea of how Christ can, and must be followed in our day.
– Father John Hardon
The revolution we are engaged in is a lonely revolution, fought out in our own hearts, a struggle between nature and grace. It is the most important work of all in which we are engaged. If we concentrate our energies primarily on that, then we can trust those impulses of the Holy Spirit and follow them simply, without question. We can trust and believe that all things will work together for good to them that love God, and that he will guide and direct us in our work. We will accomplish just what he wishes us to accomplish and no more, regardless of our striving. Since we have good will, we need no longer worry as though the work depended just on ourselves.
– Dorothy Day
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To return to God means to return to God with all that I am and all that I have. I cannot return to God with just half of my being. . .I realize that God’s love is a jealous love. God wants not just part of me, but all of me. Only when I surrender myself completely to God’s parental love can I expect to be free from endless distractions, ready to hear the voice of Love, and able to recognize my own unique call. It is going to be a very long road. Every time I pray, I feel the struggle. It is the struggle of letting God be the God of my whole being. It is the struggle to trust that true freedom lies hidden in total surrender to God’s love.
– Henri Nouwen
Without our suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the redemption. Jesus wanted to help us by sharing our life, our loneliness, our agony and death . . . We are allowed to do the same – all the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution, must be redeemed and we must have our share in it. Pray thus when you find it hard: “I wish to live in this world which is so far from God, which is turned so much from the light of Jesus, to help the poor, to take upon myself some of their suffering.”
– Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Jesus, Master, sanctify my mind and increase my faith. Jesus, teaching in the Church, draw everyone to yourself. Jesus, Master, deliver me from error, empty thoughts and eternal blindness. Jesus, Way between the Father and ourselves, I offer you everything and await all from you. Jesus, Way of sanctity, help me to imitate you faithfully. Jesus, Way, may I respond wholeheartedly to the Father’s call to holiness. Jesus, Life, live in me so that I may live in you. Jesus, Life, do not ever permit anything to separate me from you. Jesus, Life, grant that I may live eternally in the joy of your love. Jesus, Truth, may you shine in the world through me. Jesus, Way, may I be a faithful mirror of your example for others. Jesus, Life, may I be a channel of your grace and consolation to others.
– Father James Alberione