Saints

“Anything that you ask of Me, I promise you to do”

‘I was once earnestly importuning the Lord to restore the sight of a person who was almost blind, and to whom I had a certain obligation; I was very sorry for him, and feared that the Lord would not hear me on account of my sins. But He appeared to me as on previous occasions, and began to show me the wound in His left hand. Then with His right He drew out a long nail that had been driven through it, and as He pulled at it, He seemed to tear His flesh. It was clear how painful this must be, and it distressed me greatly. “Seeing that I have done this for you,” He said, “you need have no doubt that I will even more readily do what you have asked Me. Anything that you ask of Me, I promise you to do, for I know that you will never ask for anything that will not redound to My glory. Therefore I will do what you ask of Me now. Even when you did not serve Me, you never asked for anything that I did not grant you in a better form than ever you were able to imagine. Do not doubt, therefore, that I shall do so now, when I know that you love Me.”`
-from The Life of St. Teresa of Avila by Herself, chapter 39

God bless you!

Quotes…

‘This paradigm leads people to believe that they are free as long as they have the supposed freedom to consume. But those really free are the minority who wield economic and financial power.’
Pope Francis (Laudato Si n. 203)

‘It seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all.’
St. Augustine of Hippo

‘Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.’
St. Augustine of Hippo

‘By faithfulness we are collected and wound up into unity within ourselves, whereas we had been scattered abroad in multiplicity.’
St. Augustine of Hippo

‘God is best known in not knowing him.’
St. Augustine of Hippo

‘We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread. Furthermore, such actions can restore our sense of self-esteem; they can enable us to live more fully and to feel that life on earth is worthwhile.’
Pope Francis (Laudato Si n. 212)

‘Let us behave like the drunkard who doesn’t think of himself but only of the wine he has drunk and of the wine that remains to be drunk.’
St. Catherine of Siena (with regard to how we should enjoy God)

‘The soul is in some way all things.’
Aristotle

‘This is a subtle truth. Whatever you love, you are.’
Rumi

‘Never am I less alone than when alone.’
St. Bernard

‘To be attracted by power, by grandeur, by appearances, is tragically human. It is a great temptation that tries to insinuate itself everywhere. But to give oneself to others, eliminating distances, dwelling in littleness and living the reality of one’s everyday life: this is exquisitely divine.’
Pope Francis


‘To claim the right to abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others.’
St. John Paul II (Evangelium Vitae n. 20)

‘When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a Communist.’
Dom Hélder Camara

‘Many people are talking about the poor, but very few people talk to the poor.’
Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

‘The deepest essence of love is self-giving.’
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese is my favourite Saint (except of course Mary, my mother), or more accurately, my best friend in heaven. I love her deeply, and thought I would give her a brief introduction, so you might discover or rediscover her.

The funny thing about St. Therese, is it’s difficult to say if she’s very ordinary or extraordinary. She clearly thought of herself as completely ordinary. But this ordinary young nun has made a truly extraordinary impact on the world, and on those she personally knew. Of all the unlikely people to change the world, few are as out of the blue as her. Perhaps the carpenter’s son…

And it’s just this paradox of the extraordinary ordinary that characterises her. Her greatness doesn’t lie in any special talents or abilities or genius. She performed no great feats or miracles. To all human eyes, she was not made for greatness. But God doesn’t judge by our standards, and like the little King David, she had a heart after the Lord’s own heart.

She is extraordinary only because of her extraordinary love and trust in Jesus. That is all she had, but that’s all we need, and all that counts.

So please, get to know St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. Her autobiography, ‘The Story of a Soul’, is available for free online, although you’ll want a copy once you read it. There’s a very good reason she’s been called the greatest Saint of modern times, and a favourite of Bl. Mother Teresa and Pope Francis, among many others.

For some time I had been accustomed to offer myself as a plaything to the Child Jesus. I told Him not to treat me like an expensive toy which children look at but dare not touch. I was a cheap little ball which He could fling on the ground or kick or pierce or leave neglected in a corner or even press to His Heart if it gave Him pleasure. To put it in a nutshell, I longed to amuse the little Jesus and offer myself to His childish whims.

He answered my prayer. In Rome, Jesus pierced His little toy. He wantedto see what was inside and then, having found out, He let His little ball drop and went to sleep. What did He dream about and what happened to the abandoned ball? Jesus dreamt that He was still playing with it, picking it up and dropping it, letting it roll away from Him, but in the end pressing it close to His Heart and never letting it slip again from His little Hand. You can understand, Mother, how sad the little ball was to see itself lying on the ground, but she went on hoping against all hope.

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God bless you

 

“Who can describe the constraining power of a love for God?”

‘If there is true Christian love in a man, let him carry out the precepts of Christ. Who can describe the constraining power of a love for God? Its majesty and its beauty who can adequately express? No tongue can tell the heights to which love can uplift us. Love binds us fast to God. Love casts a veil over sins innumerable. There are no limits to love’s endurance, no end to its patience. Love is without servility, as it is without arrogance. Love knows of no divisions, promotes no discord; all the works of love are done in perfect fellowship. It was in love that all God’s chosen saints were made perfect; for without love nothing is pleasing to Him. It was in love that the Lord drew us to Himself; because of the love He bore us, our Lord Jesus Christ, at the will of God, gave His blood for us – His flesh for our flesh, His life for our lives.’
-The First Epistle of St. Clement (1st century bishop of Rome) to the Corinthians n.49

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I just really loved this passage, and thought to share it. The whole epistle is brilliant, and a great insight into how the early Church looked and what it believed.

If you want more, here are some translations of the whole thing.
God bless you!

God is a camera and the Saints are models

In every photo, there is an invisible presence. You cannot point to it within the photo, yet every portion of the photo bears witness to it. The picture does not contain the camera, but without the camera, there is no photo. It is always there and never seen.

To make a good photo, the whole scene must be arranged with the camera in mind. Every position, every arrangement, every pose, must be chosen with regard to the camera, so that the camera can bring out the best of everything before it.

Sometimes, the models look straight at the camera, entirely there to be captured. Sometimes, they don’t look directly at the camera, so they can be photographed as doing something else; but still, to make a good photo, the camera must still be in mind, with every aspect directed to the camera’s service.

Likewise in our lives, we must live with regard to God, who gives us being and is ever present, if we are to live well. Sometimes, we must look directly towards Him, offering direct worship, and being there entirely for Him. And sometimes, we must keep our eyes on whatever we are currently doing, but remain mindful of God, and orient our every action to His service and His pleasure. Whatever we are doing, we must do for the glory of God. That is the rule of the Saints.

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St Therese of Liseux, posing for a photo

God bless you

St Edith Stein quote

‘Prayer is the communication of the soul with God. God is love, and love is goodness giving itself away. It is a fulness of being that does not want to remain enclosed in itself, but rather to share itself with others, to give itself to them, and to make them happy. All of creation exists thanks to this divine love spending itself. However, the highest of all God’s creatures are those endowed with spirit, able to receive God’s love with understanding and to return it freely: angels and human souls. Prayer is the highest achievement of which the human soul is capable. But it is not merely a human achievement. Prayer is a Jacob’s ladder on which the human spirit ascends to God and God’s grace descends to people. The stages of prayer are distinguished according to the measure in which the natural efforts of the soul and God’s grace participate. When the soul is no longer active by virtue of its own efforts, but is simply a receptacle for grace, one speaks of a mystical life of prayer.’
– St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Edith Stein is fast becoming one of my favourite saints. She was born in a German Jewish family, lost faith by her teenage years, earned a doctorate in philosophy, converted to Catholicism, was important in the German Catholic women’s movement, became a Discalced Carmelite nun, and was martyred by the Nazis in Auschwitz. She was distinguished by a great mind and a great heart.

The quote is taken from Edith Stein: Essential Writings, in which it is part of a larger selection taken from a “bio-historical sketch” of St. Teresa of Avila, her namesake in the religious life.

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St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us!

Yet more quotes

‘The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant.’
G.K. Chesterton

‘And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.’
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King)

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‘To God’s servants, brother, money is nothing but a devil and a poisonous snake.’
St. Francis of Assisi

‘You know, brothers, that poverty is the special way to salvation, as the stimulus of humility and the root of perfection, whose fruit is many, but hidden. For this is the hidden treasure of the Gospel field; to buy it, everything must be sold, and, in comparison, everything that cannot be sold must be spurned.’
St. Francis of Assisi

‘If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don’t bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man.’
Fyodor Dostoevsky

‘One can know a man from his laugh, and if you like a man’s laugh before you know anything of him, you may confidently say that he is a good man.’
Fyodor Dostoevsky

All these and many more are on the “Quotes” page, if you want more.

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Here’s a link to the letters of St Ignatius of Antioch. Today (just about) is his feast day. St Ignatius is my confirmation saint, and was bishop of Antioch until he was martyred in 107AD. Some say he was one of the little children Jesus blessed. He wrote his seven letters on his way to martyrdom in Rome, and I strongly recommend them.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us!
God bless you