Thank you Jesus, for bringing me this far. In your light, I see the light of my life. Your teaching is brief and to the point. You persuade us to trust in our Heavenly Father. You command us to love one another. What is easier than to believe in God? What is sweeter than to love him? Your yoke is pleasant, your burden is light. You promise everything to those who obey your teaching. You ask nothing that is too hard for a believer, nothing a lover can refuse. Your promises to your disciples are true; nothing but the truth. Thank you Jesus, now and always. Amen
– St. Nicholas of Cusa
What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods” – could set up on their own as if they had created themselves – be their own masters – invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God to make him happy. The reason why it can never succeed is this: God made us, invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
The first degree of humility tells us that the world is not a mirror in which we see ourselves, nor is it a treasure chest filled with gifts for ourselves. Rather, the world is a temporary home where there unfolds hour by hour the truth that God loves us and that we are to live constantly with the awareness that he lives with us and sees us always.
– Father Simon O’Donnell, O.S.B.
If we knew how to listen to God, we would hear him speaking to us. For God does speak. He speaks in his Gospels. He also speaks through life – that new gospel to which we ourselves add a page each day. But we are rarely open to God’s message, because our faith is too weak and our life too earthbound . . . To have faith is not only to raise one’s eyes to God to contemplate him; it is also to look at this world, with Christ’s eyes. If we had allowed Christ to penetrate our whole being, if we had purified ourselves, the world would no longer be an obstacle. It would be a perpetual incentive to work for the Father in order that, in Christ, his kingdom might come on earth as it is in heaven. We must pray to have sufficient faith to know how to look at life . . . Grant that I may be big enough to reach the world, strong enough to carry it, pure enough to embrace it without wanting to keep it. Grant that I may be a meeting-place, but a temporary one, a road that does not end in itself, because everything to be gathered there, everything human, leads toward You.
– Father Michel Quoist
We must believe in God and not in ourselves; we must hope in God and not in ourselves; we must love God and not ourselves. As Saint Augustine told us, there is one man who reaches to the extremities of the universe and unto the end of time. We have to enter into this one man – this one Christ – by faith, hope, and charity. We have to find our all in Him. He is our full complement and our perfect supplement. No matter how weak we are, He is our strength; No matter how empty we are, He is our fullness; no matter how sinful we are, He is our holiness. All we have to do is to accept God’s plan – to say as Christ said coming into the world: “A body thou hast fitted to me; behold I come to do thy will, O God.”
– Father Eugene Boylan, O.C.S.O.
If we do not wait patiently in expectation for God’s coming in glory, we start wandering around, going from one little sensation to another. Our lives get stuffed with newspaper items, television stories, and gossip. Then our minds lose the discipline of discerning between what leads us closer to God and what doesn’t, and our hearts lose their spiritual sensitivity. . .When Paul asks us to wake from sleep, he says, Let us live decently as in the light of day. . .Let your armor be the Lord Jesus Christ and stop worrying about how your disordered natural inclinations may be fulfilled (Roman 13:13-14). When we have the Lord to look forward to, we can already experience him in the waiting.
– Henri Nouwen
By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, you prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it, but by your ineffable grace . . . You loved us, O Lord, and gave up your only begotten Son for our redemption . . . In this way you have humbled yourself, Christ my God, so that you might carry me, your stray sheep, on your shoulders. You let me graze in green pastures, refreshing me . . . Lord, lighten the heavy burden of the sins through which I have seriously transgressed. Purify my mind and heart. Like a shining lamp, lead me along the straight path. When I open my mouth, tell me what I should say. By the fiery tongue of your Spirit, make my own tongue ready. Stay with me always and keep me in your sight. Lead me to pastures, Lord, and graze there with me. Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left, but let your good Spirit guide me along the straight path. Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with your will, now until the end.
– St. John Damascene
Let us make mercy our patroness now, and she will free us in the world to come. Yes, there is mercy in heaven but the road to it is paved by our merciful acts on earth. There is therefore, an earthly as well as a heavenly mercy. Human mercy has compassion on the miseries of the poor. Divine mercy grants forgiveness of sins. Whatever human mercy bestows here on earth, divine mercy will return to us in our Homeland . . . Yes, God who sees fit to give his mercy in heaven, wishes it to be a reality here on earth. What do you wish for, what do you pray for, my dear brothers and sisters, when you come to church? Is it mercy? How can it be anything else? . . . It baffles me that you have the impudence to ask for what you do not want to give. Give when you come to church. Give to the poor. Give them whatever your resources will allow.
– St. Caesarius of Arles
Lord, Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, I thank you, for even though I am a sinner . . . not because of my worth but in the kindness of your mercy, you have fed me with the precious Body and Blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring me condemnation . . . but forgiveness and salvation. May it be a helmet of faith and a shield of goodwill. May it purify me from evil ways and put an end to my evil passions. May it bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience, and growth in the power to do good. May it be my strong defense against all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses, bodily and spiritual. May it unite me more closely to you, the one true God, and lead me safely through death to everlasting happiness with you. And I pray that you will lead me, a sinner, to the banquet where you with your Son and Holy Spirit are true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, gladness without end, and perfect happiness to your saints. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen
– St. Thomas Aquinas
When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected), he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along – illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation – he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days, but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level, putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary, but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.
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