God is waiting to love man and to work with him. And the success of man’s life depends on his finding God. Can God be found? He calls to man in the world; but the world itself is noisy, distracting and seductive. Many men in the world are concerned only with amusing themselves while waiting for death, while others, unknowing but proud, are convinced that they will somehow be able to eternalize their earthly happiness . . . If we are faithful in our meetings with Christ in daily events, little by little he will enlighten us and we will see more clearly. For Christ is less hidden than we think. Our eyes are simply not accustomed to looking at him through the darkness of our senses. Jesus Christ calls us . . . We have only to respond freely to the Savior’s daily invitation.
– Father Michel Quoist
The Holy Spirit has been sent into our hearts, awakening us to the Father’s call for us to be one with him in Christ. The very love that unites the Father and the Son stirs within us, and with unutterable groanings inflames the will to seek no other gratification than perfect communion with God . . . Because I am blind, I do not see this touch of love that has claimed my heart. Because my faith is weak, I doubt the power that has been awakened within me. Because I am confused by all my compromises and attachments, I continue to delay in embracing the wisdom of surrendering completely to this touch. But God never gives up on me. He continues to renew in unexpected ways, my awareness of his presence within and around me, calling me to union.
– James Finley
Only in God is man capable of living fully. Without God he is permanently sick. His sickness affects both his happiness and his capacity for happiness. . .In order to be capable of leading a full life, man must stand in a certain relationship to God and obey certain rules. And the capacity for true happiness and joyful living is also dependent on certain conditions of human life, on a serious attitude toward God. When life does not unfold in communion with God, it becomes grey and sordid, calculating and joyless. How must we live in order to be, or to become capable of happiness? The question is one which ought to occupy us now more than ever before. Man should take his happiness as seriously as he takes himself. And he ought to believe God and his own heart when, even in distress and trouble, he has an intuitive feeling that he was created for happiness.
– Father Alfred Delp, S.J.
The Word of God is sacramental. That means it is sacred, and as a sacred word, it makes present what it indicates . . . When we say that God’s Word is sacred, we mean that God’s Word is full of God’s presence. The questions therefore are: How does God come to me as I listen to the Word? Where do I discern the healing hand of God touching me through the Word? How is my sadness, my grief and my mourning being transformed at this very moment? Do I sense the fire of God’s love purifying my heart and giving me new life? These questions lead me to the sacrament of the Word, the sacred place of God’s real presence . . . When Jesus joins us on the road and explains the scriptures to us, we must listen with our whole being, trusting that the Word that created us will also heal us. God wants to become present to us and thus radically transform our fearful hearts.
– Henri J.M. Nouwen
I am the vine and you are the branches . . . and everyone that beareth fruit, he will purge it that it may bring forth much fruit (John 15:1-2). This purging or pruning action of the Father is what disconcerts us. We see an orchard in full bloom, and what has a more delicate charm? And yet those flowers must disappear if the branches are to bring forth fruit. There are many flowers in our life that seem of great value to us. In God’s sight they are only flowers, and in his mercy, he removes them that we may yield him fruit . . . The whole trouble is that, literally, we do not know what is good for us; and what makes the trouble still worse is that we think we do. We have our own plans for our happiness and too often we merely regard God as somebody who will help us to accomplish them. The true state of affairs is just the opposite. God has his plans for our happiness, and he is waiting for us to help him to accomplish them. And let us be quite clear about it, we cannot improve on God’s plans. Once a man has realized that God wills his happiness and that all that happens to him is ruled and regulated by God with infinite wisdom and power toward that end, and that all God asks of him is to cooperate with that loving will of his, then that man has found the beginning of peace.
– Father Eugene Boylan, O.C.S.O.
To be enlightened is to know that heaven is not “coming to me.” Heaven is here. We have simply not been able to realize that yet because, like King Arthur and his search for the Holy Grail, we look in all the wrong places, worship all the wrong idols, get fixated on all the wrong notions of God. We are always on our way to somewhere else when this place, the place in which I stand, wherever it is, is the place of my procession into God, the site of my union with the Life that gives Life.
One doesn’t need to be unhappy when life takes this or that joy away that one thought was indispensable. One doesn’t have to despair when this or that success fails to occur or when our plans are not realized. We become rich through giving, fulfilled through renunciation, joyous through sacrifice, loved through loving. When we become selfless, we become free.
– Karl Rahner
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They Walked with God: St. Bernadette Soubirous, St. John Vianney, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Andre Bessette, Bl. Solanus Casey
God is hidden in difficulties. If we can find him there, we will never lose him. Without difficulties, we do not know the power of God’s mercy and the incredible destiny he has for each of us. We must be patient with our failures. There’s always another opportunity unless we go ashore and stay there. A no-risk situation is the biggest danger there is. To encounter the winds and the waves is not a sign of defeat. It is a training in the art of living, which is the art of yielding to God’s action and believing in his love no matter what happens.
-Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O.
St. Augustine. . . describes very beautifully the intimate relationship between prayer and hope. He defines prayer as an exercise of desire. Man was created for greatness, for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. He then uses a very beautiful image to describe this process of enlargement and preparation of the human heart. “Suppose that God wishes to fill you with honey (a symbol of God’s tenderness and goodness); but if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey?” The vessel, that is your heart, must first be enlarged and then cleansed. . .This requires hard work and is painful, but in this way alone do we become suited to that for which we are destined.
– Pope Benedict XVI
If you consider the poor in the light of faith, you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor . . . Christ made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also loves those who love the poor. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor . . . Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. We must beg God to pour into our hearts sentiments of pity and compassion and to fill them again and again with these dispositions . . . Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars.
– St. Vincent de Paul