I desire to love you, O my God, with a love that is patient, with a love that abandons itself wholly to you, with a love that acts, and most important of all, with a love that perseveres. Just as one who loves a creature thinks of him often, so let the lover of God have him often in his thoughts. The mirror into which we must look in order to attain divine love is Jesus Christ. If the actions of our neighbors had a hundred sides, we ought to look at them on the best side. When an action is blameworthy, we should strive to see the good intentions behind it. Let us do everything for love and, remembering that love longs for love alone, nothing can appear hard to us.
– St. Theresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart
Once I have confronted and accepted – as far as possible – that I am a needy person, the act of turning toward God is relatively easy. It is not faith in God that is hard, but the renunciation of illusory faith in myself. To turn toward God means, first, turning away from whatever is untrue or delusory. . .Our life is a journey that makes sense only on the supposition that we are going somewhere. When it is difficult to keep moving ahead, we need to reanimate our desire. . .Prayer operates as a function of our journey toward God. It is successful when it makes us want to continue the journey with greater urgency than before. If it makes us want to stop by the roadside for a picnic and a sleep in the sun, it is not prayer but delusion. Prayer is intended to keep us moving, which means constantly saying goodbye to the past. It involves the difficult task of allowing ourselves to be liberated from our burdens. The odd thing is that most of us keep clutching our useless bundles, as if we would cease to exist without them.
– Father Michael Casey, O.C.S.O.
Jesus, in whom the fullness of God dwells, has become our home. By making his home in us, he allows us to make our home in him. By entering into the intimacy of our innermost self, he offers us the opportunity to enter into his own intimacy with God. By choosing us as his preferred dwelling place, he invites us to choose him as our preferred dwelling place. . . To those who are tortured by inner or outer fear, and who desperately look for the house of love where they can find the intimacy their hearts’ desire, Jesus says, “You have a home . . . I am your home . . . claim me as your home . . . it is right where you are . . . in your innermost being . . . in your heart.” The more attentive we are to such words, the more we realize that we do not have to go far to find what we are searching for. The tragedy is that we are so possessed by fear that we do not trust our innermost self as an intimate place but anxiously wander around hoping to find it where we are not. We try to find that intimate place in knowledge, competence, notoriety, success, friends, sensations, pleasure, dreams, or artificially induced states of consciousness. Thus we become strangers to ourselves, people who have an address but are never home and hence can never be addressed by the true voice of love.
– Henri Nouwen
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.
– Msgr. Ronald Knox
We must do what we can to get to know our Lord, and if we do so with humble love, the Holy Spirit will light up the data from within and reveal to our hearts the inner meaning and the true face of God. . . Man is an emptiness only God can fill. All through his life Jesus accepted being this emptiness. . . He lived only from and for his Father and saw himself only in this relationship. The Father’s will was the motive force of his life. He had nothing of his own, everything was received. . . What is true of him must become true of us. Holiness means that a human being has so affirmed, stood by, embraced his essential meaning of being a capacity for God, an emptiness for him to fill, that God can indeed fill him with the fullness of himself.
– Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.
“Today’s Reflection” is now in paperback:
Let us be especially grateful to God for the gift of faith, a gift which is mainly instilled in us at Baptism. . . We must remember that faith is the greatest gift that God has made to man on this earth, because from earthly man he becomes a citizen of Heaven. But let us guard this great gift jealously. Woe to him who forgets himself, who forgets Heaven, whose faith grows weak, and worse still, may God preserve us all, who denies his faith. This is the greatest affront that man can make to God. Attention, then. Let us pray to God to preserve this gift in us as the most precious thing he has granted us.
– St. Pio of Pietrelcina
When for one reason or another, we contemplate the reality of death, it is not uncommon that we begin to think about the sin and failure in our past. And, for many, this thought can be a cause of great unhappiness and even despair. After all, the past is past, we are told; it can never be recovered; the chance of grace is gone. But when we pray the Hail Mary, there is contained in one small word an entirely different message, and one which can, in itself, completely transform our thinking and transform our lives. It is the word “now.” “Pray for us now.” What Mary discovered, deep in her being at the Annunciation, was that nothing was impossible to God. In a single moment, in an instant of grace, everything can be changed. And this, of course, is true, or can be true, for each one of us. . . In our lives, we can say that there are only two moments that are of supreme importance: the moment of our death, and this moment now, the present moment. Part of the greatness of the Hail Mary is that it contains, and contains together in one breath, as it were, both of these moments: Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
– Father Paul Murray, O.P.
Dear Lord, free me from my dark past, into which I often find myself falling as if into a deep cistern. . .Keep showing me your light, and give me the strength to rise and follow you without ever looking back.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen
It is in time that I am able to do good to my neighbor, that I am able to love and help him…It is only along the path of my passing days that I am able to meet the suffering soul and to give a word of comfort and hope. Time is valuable, because it offers me the possibility to do good. Certainly upright Christian sentiment, knowledge, love and praise of God will continue in eternity, but they will be proportional to our knowledge, love and praise in time…Time is valuable because it offers me the possibility to prepare myself for eternity.
– Father Gerardo di Flumeri
In Scripture, death is called the “day of calamity” (Dt. 32:35). This is because, on the day we die, we shall lose all our earthly possessions – honors, riches, pleasures. Saint Ambrose says that we cannot take them into eternity. But our acts of virtue, the good things which we have done during life, will accompany us into eternity. Jesus asked what will it profit us if we gain the whole world only at death to lose all this and heaven too. How many people have remembered these words and have made them the primary guideline of their lives, and the reason for giving themselves entirely to God?…How really valuable, then, are the goods of this world? Or how deserving are they that we should put our faith and our trust in them? The prophet Hosea spoke of a trader “in whose hands are false balances” and who “loves to oppress” (Hosea 12:7). The world is such a merchant, and the goods of this world are fraudulent; they cannot satisfy our hearts. They are over too soon.
St. Alphonsus Liguori