Blessed is the soul who hears the Lord speaking within, who receives the word of consolation from his lips. Blessed are the ears that receive the echoes of the soft whisper of God, and pay no heed to the murmurings of this world. . . Blessed are they who search inward things, who try daily to prepare themselves more and more to understand heavenly mysteries. Blessed are they who long to give their time to God, and who cut themselves off from the hindrances of the world. Consider these things, my soul, and close the door of your senses, so that you can hear what the Lord your God speaks within you. “I am your salvation,” says your Beloved. “I am your peace and your life. Remain with me and you will find peace.”
– Thomas à Kempis
Only those who keep always in view, man’s destiny, confident of God’s care, only those who pray daily for an increase of faith and hope and charity, can endure. St. Stephen prayed for his murderers, Lay not this sin to their charge. And it was to be expected that Jesus Christ would say, he who came to give his life, to lay it down for his brothers – Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. All through the lives of the saints, there is this “laying down of life,” not the taking of it, this forgiveness, with no thought of revenge, this overwhelming love that overcomes fear, this loving to folly. . .This is the mystery of the Christian life, the mystery of love. Even if we don’t understand it, we can try to understand it, we can pray to grow in love.
– Dorothy Day
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Oh God, infinite holiness, goodness and perfection, lead me to sanctity. Increase and refine my love. Turn it into a burning flame, a fiery furnace of love. Raise me above my mundane self. Do for me what I am unable to do for myself. Drown my pride, my selfishness and attachments in the abyss of the love and humility of thy Sacred Heart.
– Louis Kaczmarek
Listen to what it says in the Imitation of Christ: “This must be your endeavor, this your prayer, this your preference, that you should manage to be stripped of all possessiveness, and follow in the footsteps of Jesus, naked as He.” And when the Imitation of Christ talks about being stripped of possessiveness, it doesn’t just mean living simply on a small income; it means giving up all ambition, all desire for human praise, all greediness for any kind of comfort, spiritual consolations included. We ought to aim at that, it says; and if we cannot bring ourselves to aim at it, we ought to pray that it may happen to us; and if we can’t bring ourselves to utter that prayer, we ought at least to make it our preference – we should like to be people like that.
– Monsignor Ronald Knox
Because we’ve been called together, we are a people of celebration, but in our celebrations there is always a note of sadness because not all the people in our world are celebrating. Not everyone is rejoicing. Many today are being crucified in prisons and hospitals, or just downtown in the slum areas. Many people are lonely and in pain. Along with the celebration that rises from a community of thanksgiving, there is a note of pain but also a note of hope. We have been drawn together by God to be a sign of the resurrection and a sign of unity in this world where there is so much division and inner and outer death. We feel small and weak, but we are gathered together to signify the power of God who transforms death into life. That is our hope, that God is doing the impossible: changing death to life inside of each of us, and that perhaps, through our community, each one of us can be agents in the world of this transformation of brokenness into wholeness, and of death into life.
– Jean Vanier
Trials are not only good for us, but necessary for our spiritual growth, especially if endured with the right disposition. During hard times, God helps us see that control is really an illusion. We’re not in charge. Our lives don’t even belong to us. We would cease to exist if the Holy Spirit stopped actively sustaining our existence, even for one second . . . God is more responsible for our lives than we are. Our job is to listen, humble ourselves, work hard and not get in his way.
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God wants our trust, and only then can he help us. To see persons open to trust is a sign of the Holy Spirit, and if our “yes” to him is true, even when we find ourselves in situations of suffering, this will not be a suffering that damages, but one that strengthens us and transforms our tired faith into living faith. Obedience doesn’t take away suffering, but gives us strength to leave all that disturbs us on the altar. Your problems remain in good hands, in the hands of God……Sometimes we carry heavy weights in our hearts. We have to deposit them in the heart of God.
– Sister Elvira Petrozzi
It is not new to fall; what is wrong is to lie down after you have fallen. Remember where you stood before you fell. The devil once mocked you, but now he will know that you can rise stronger than ever before . . . Do not draw back from the mercy of God.
– St. Abraham Kidunaia
God knows best what is needful for us, and all that he does is for our good. If we knew how much he loves us, we should always be ready to receive equally and with indifference from his hand, the sweet as well as the bitter. All would please that came from him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable except when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them dispensed by the hand of God, when we know that it is our loving Father who abases and distresses us, our sufferings lose all their bitterness and our mourning becomes all joy.
– Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
The sea symbolizes this life and the instability of the visible world; the storm points to every kind of trial or difficulty that oppresses human beings. The boat, instead, represents the Church, built by Christ and steered by the Apostles. Jesus wanted to teach the disciples to bear life’s adversities courageously, trusting in God, in the One who revealed himself to the Prophet Elijah on Mount Horeb “in a still small voice” the whispering of a gentle breeze (I Kings 19:12). The passage then continues with the action of the Apostle Peter. . .“But when he saw the wind was strong, Peter was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord save me!” (Mt 14:30) . . . The great thinker Roman Guardini wrote that the Lord “is always close, being at the root of our being. Yet we must experience our relationship with God between the poles of distance and closeness. By closeness we are strengthened, by distance we are put to the test.” Dear friends, the experience of the Prophet Elijah who heard God passing and the troubled faith of the Apostle Peter enable us to understand that even before we seek the Lord or invoke him, it is he himself who comes to meet us, who lowers heaven to stretch out his hand to us and raise us to his heights; all he expects of us is that we trust totally in him, that we really take hold of his hand.
– Pope Benedict XVI