We have a God who is infinitely gracious and knows all our wants. I always thought that he would reduce you to extremity. He will come in his own time, and when you least expect it. Hope in him more than ever; thank him with me for the favors he does you . . . I do not advise you to use a multiplicity of words in prayer; many words and long discourses being often the occasions of wandering. Hold yourself in prayer before God like a poor, paralytic beggar at a rich man’s gate. Let it be your business to keep your mind in the presence of the Lord . . .One way to recall the mind easily in the time of prayer, and preserve it more in tranquility, is not to let it wander too far at other times. You should keep it strictly in the presence of God.
– Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Grant me the grace today, Jesus, to accept your word and to place my trust in you as your Blessed Mother did. Let her be a model for me as a person who was willing to devote her whole life to serving your Father. She accepted your word and became your Mother. I am not faced with such an awesome responsibility, yet I often fail, and fail miserably, even in small things. I am weak; I am afraid. I often find it hard to believe . . . Lord, help me today to remember the example of your Mother, to know amid the confusion of everyday life that you are truly with me, that your kingdom is at hand.
– Robert Meehan
Christmas has a very particular meaning in the interior structure of Christian faith. We do not celebrate it as we otherwise do the birthdays of great men, because our relationship to Christ is very different from the honor we show great men. What is of interest in them is their work: the thoughts they thought and wrote, the works of art they created, and the mechanisms they left behind. . .But Christ counts for us not only through his work, through what he did, but also through what he was and what he is in the entirety of his person. He counts for us differently from any other man because he is not merely man. He counts because in him, earth and heaven touch, and thus in him, God for us is tangible as man.
– Pope Benedict XVI
We become transfigured by becoming little, humble, poor, dependent, powerless. How do we empty ourselves? How do we become little? By accepting all the sufferings that God permits to come into our lives. By seeking to serve others rather than to be served. By taking the last place. By never seeking recognition or applause. By making charity the foundation of our lives. By forgiving and loving our enemies.
– Father Frederick Miller
To make possible true inner silence, practice silence of the eyes – by seeking always the beauty and goodness of God everywhere, closing them to the faults of others and to all that is sinful and disturbing to the soul; silence of the ears – by listening always to the voice of God and to the cry of the poor and the needy, closing them to all other voices that come from fallen human nature, such as gossip, tale-bearing and uncharitable words; silence of the tongue – by praising God . . . and by refraining from self-defense and every word that causes darkness, turmoil, pain, and death; silence of the mind – by opening it to the truth and knowledge of God in prayer and contemplation . . . and by closing it to all untruths, distractions, destructive thoughts, rash judgments, false suspicions of others, vengeful thoughts, and desires; silence of the heart – by loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and one another as God loves, and avoiding all selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, and greed. I shall keep the silence of my heart with greater care, so that in the silence of my heart I hear His words of comfort . . . For in the silence and purity of the heart, God speaks.
– Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Christ comes to us full of perfect knowledge and unlimited love. He knows exactly what we are, and he knows exactly what our life will be . . . He knows all our mistakes and all our sins; he knows all our misfortunes and all our miseries. He knows all these things in advance, but being the perfect Lover, he comes with the power of God to heal all these ills. He is perfectly prepared to repair our life completely if we do not prevent him. And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that you always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. Our sufficiency is from God.
– Father Eugene Boylan, O.C.S.O.
Jesus is the man who is the incarnation of the Truth. For this reason, before identifying himself as the Truth, Jesus calls himself the Way. Jesus is the Way to the Truth . . . We do not seek solutions to the problems of life derived from religious sentiments, spiritual approaches, or philosophical convictions . . . In each circumstance of life, whatever it is, we seek not an answer but a Presence . . .We do not come together as Church to find intellectual answers to our questions about the meaning and purpose of life. This is to reduce the Church to an ideology. We come together not to find answers but to learn how to recognize and affirm a Presence . . . We come together as the Church to learn how to recognize the fact of this Presence, and to witness to it in any circumstance of life, especially when there are no answers . . . Jesus Christ is the way to the answer.
– Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete
Our present life is given to us only to gain the eternal one and if we don’t think about it, we build our affections on what belongs to this world, where our life is transitory. When we have to leave it, we are afraid and become agitated. Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage, we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally. Meanwhile, we have to believe firmly that God calls us to himself and follows us along the path toward him. He will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. He knows who we are and he will hold out his paternal hand to us during difficulties, so that nothing will prevent us from running to him swiftly. But to enjoy this grace we must have complete trust in him.
– St. Pio of Pietrelcina
“Today’s Reflection” is in paperback:
A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heroes, but simply live each day with new hope, like children, in wonderment as the sun rises and in thanksgiving as it sets. Community is only being created when they have recognized that the greatness of man is to accept his insignificance, his human condition and his earth, and to thank God for having put in a finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness. The beauty of man is in this fidelity to the wonder of each day.
– Jean Vanier
The kingdom of God is where man is in a state of grace and all things move in divine order. Human needs are met by God’s abundance, human limitations are dissolved by God’s power, human rashness is tamed by God’s discipline – all this is part of the kingdom of God….Contact with God is the one thing that gives sense and satisfaction to our lives and God is always ready and waiting….The kingdom of God is grace, which is why we pray for it; but the grace of God so often stands at the door and knocks without finding anyone to open.
– Father Alfred Delp, S.J.
“Today’s Reflection” is now in paperback: