Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God, and that all besides is but folly and vanity. You and I have lived in monastic life more than forty years. Have we employed those years in loving and serving God, who by his mercy has called us to this state, and for that very end? . . . Since by his mercy he gives us still a little time, let us begin in earnest; let us repair the lost time; let us return with a wholehearted trust to that Father of mercies, who is always ready to receive us into his loving arms. Let us renounce and renounce generously, with single heart, for the love of him, all that is not he; he deserves infinitely more. Let us think of him perpetually. Let us put all our trust in him.
– Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
We believe that doing little things for God is as much a way of loving him as doing great deeds. Besides, we are not very well informed about the greatness of our acts. There are nevertheless two things we know for sure: first, whatever we do can’t help but be small; and second, whatever God does is great. And so we go about our activities with a sense of great peace. We know that all our work consists in not shifting about under grace; in not choosing what we would do; and that it is God who acts through us. There is nothing difficult for God; the one who grows anxious at difficulties is the one who counts on his own capacity for action . . . Our feet march upon a street, but our heartbeat reverberates through the whole world. That is why our small acts . . . perfectly join together the love of God and the love of our neighbor . . . And thus life becomes a celebration.
– Madeleine Delbrel
Lord, you know that you alone are the life of my soul, my highest love, my light, my God, my all. Without you life is so dead, so empty. Without you, Lord, life is not worth living.
– Blessed Pauline von Mallinekrodt
Whatever be my age, whatever the number of my years, I am ever narrowing the interval between time and eternity. I am ever changing in myself . . . I know O my God, I must change, if I am to see thy face. I must undergo the change of death. Body and soul must die to this world. My real self, my soul, must change by a true regeneration. Let me day by day be molded upon thee, and be changed from glory to glory, by ever looking toward thee, and ever leaning on thy arm . . . I know not what lies before me but I know as much as this. I know, too, that if thou art not with me, my change will be for the worse, not for the better. All will turn to good if I have Jesus with me, yesterday and today the same, and forever.
– Blessed John Henry Newman
The evening before Jacob (of the Old Testament) was to meet his brother and attempt a reconciliation, he fell asleep beside a river. Such perfect virtue makes a soul quiet, peaceful, unchanging. This is what our Lord meant by his words, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you.” . . Men who are striving for perfection do not allow themselves to be moved easily by events of the world. They are not afraid whatever trouble comes their way. They are not constantly paralyzed with worry; they meet pain with courage. With their feet firmly planted on the shore, they watch without fear as the waves of human storms arise. It is Christ who gives this steadfastness to Christian souls. . .It was in this way that Jacob, who had cleansed his heart of resentment and so was a man of peace, went ahead of his family to be alone; it was then that he wrestled with God. And the truth is that everyone who frees themselves from worldly things draws near to the likeness and image of God. And this struggle with God means nothing less than to strive for perfection; to encounter Him who is so much greater than ourselves is to gain a unique likeness to the Lord.
– St. Ambrose
When we lose touch with the eternal truths, we get submerged in the weeds that sprout all over the garden of our life. They are senseless trivialities that assume an air of real importance. Though they pretend to have a purpose, they are quite futile, and merely add obscurity and confusion to a life which is gradually engulfed in a sort of eternal twilight without light or direction . . . It is hard enough to meet the ordinary hazards incidental to every existence; but the Godless person has no defenses and is delivered up, bound and disarmed . . . There is only one remedy for such a state; each person must return to God, listen to his inner voice, and consciously make contact with him.
– Father Alfred Delp, S.J.
Knowing that God loves us is happiness . . . They, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will come to us, and they will make their home with us. They will keep us company. This is Christ’s own definition of happiness – the awareness of God being at home in our souls. Yes, there are two homes in which the Trinity dwells, one in heaven with the angels and saints and the other on earth in the hearts of those who are doing God’s will . . . What then, does it mean to be truly happy? It means to experience the presence of God, whether by faith and imperfectly in this life, or by vision and without end in the life to come.
– Father John Hardon
“Today’s Reflection” is in paperback:
In all his dealings with us, the Lord teaches us how to live on this earth. There is not a person in this world who is not a voyager, even if not all are anxious to return to the Homeland. In the course of this voyage, the waves and the storms make us seasick. At least we are in the ship. Outside the ship, death would be inevitable. When one is swimming among the breakers, however energetic one’s arms are, sooner or later one is defeated by the size of the ocean and allows oneself to drown. To complete the crossing, therefore, it is essential to remain in the ship, to be supported by its planks. The plank that supports our weakness in the cross of Our Lord. He keeps us safe from the world that threatens to drown us. We suffer because we are tossed about by the waves, but the Lord himself supports us.
– St. Augustine
In the degrees of humility, there is always a question of the inner person, the heart. We progress to the interior, where I know myself and know that I am known by God . . . This knowledge is always an awareness of my “creatureliness” – that is, I have not brought myself into being, that another has caused me to be and that other is God himself . . . My purpose is to become a person who worships God through and through . . . It supposes the essence of humility – a constant contact with my nature, a constant mindfulness of the fact that I cannot be at the center of my universe, but it must be God who is the center.
– Father Simon O’Donnell, O.S.B.
Life without God is nothing but death, many times over.
– St. Teresa of Avila