The church is never true to itself when it is living for itself, for if it is chiefly concerned with saving its own life, it will lose it. The nature of the church is such that it must always be engaged in finding new ways by which to transcend itself. Its main responsibility is always outside its own walls in the redemption of common life. That is why we call it a redemptive society. There are many kinds of religion, but redemptive religion, from the Christian point of view, is always that in which we are spent on those areas of existence that are located beyond ourselves and our own borders. ~Elton Trueblood
Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge…and that absence doesn’t bother me because I have got, over the years, a sense of the immense sweep of creation, of the evolutionary process in everything, of how incomprehensible God must necessarily be to be the God of heaven and earth. You can’t fit the Almighty into your intellectual categories. If you want your faith, you have to work for it. It is a gift, but for very few is it a gift given without any demand for time devoted to its cultivation.…Even in the life of a Christian, faith rises and falls like the tides of an invisible sea. It’s there, even when he can’t see it or feel it, if he wants it to be there. ~Flannery O’Connor
Christianity has to be disappointing, precisely because it is not a mechanism for accomplishing all our human ambitions and aspirations; it is a mechanism for subjecting all things to the will of God. ~Fr. Simon Tugwell, O.P.
The tongue is our most powerful weapon of manipulation. A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding. If I have done some wrong thing (or even some right thing that I think you may misunderstand) and discover that you know about it, I will be very tempted to help you understand my action.
Silence is one of the deepest disciplines of the spirit simply because it puts the stopper on all self-justification. One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier. We don’t need to straighten others out. ~Richard J. Foster
Being patient is difficult. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Be patient and trust that the treasure you are looking for is hidden in the ground on which you stand. ~Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
“I see my Lord.”
Last words of St. Anthony of Padua, June 13, 1231
We do not gain much by just accepting that Christ died and rose again. Many people believe this, but nevertheless go to hell. This belief is of no help unless you and I experience Jesus as Lord. It is not the worst if some people are unable to believe that Christ rose from the dead – at least they still regard it as something tremendous, too tremendous to glibly confess. The sad thing is that so many people today claim to believe it, and yet it means so little to them. It has no effect in their lives. ~Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
I think that there is no passage of the Gospel that has made a deeper impression on me or changed my life more than this one: “Whatever you do to one of these little ones, you do it to me.” If we think of it, that these are the words of Uncreated Truth, words from the mouth that said, “This is my body… this is my blood…” then how forcefully we are impelled to seek Jesus and love him in the “little ones”. ~Bl. Charles de Foucauld
In prayer I am loved by God and empowered to allow God to love his whole creation through me; in penance I deal with those things which prevent that from happening with my whole heart, and soul, and body (because sometimes the stuff we need to work through deprives us of energy, the capacity for appropriate bodily expression, and even the ability to care adequately for ourselves physically). For me penance has nothing to do with arbitrarily creating abnormal corporal practices, punishments, etc. Instead it involves doing all that is necessary to allow for prayer and the freeing of the spirit so the body too might be as whole and free as possible in and with the grace of God. ~Sr. Laurel O’Neil, Er. Dio., Notes from Stillsong Hermitage
The Bible is not meant to be placed on a shelf, but to be in your hands, to read often – every day, both on your own and together with others… Why not read the Bible together as well – two, three, or four of you? In nature, in the woods, on the beach, at night in the glow of a few candles … you will have a great experience! … Read with attention! Do not stay on the surface as if reading a comic book! Never just skim the Word of God! ~Pope Francis