Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm. If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sound, productive by turning all of life’s leisure into work, and real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth.
If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest, God does not bless our work. If we twist our lives out of shape in order to fill every corner of them with action and experience, God will silently withdraw from our hearts and leave us empty. ~Fr. Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
We must overturn so many idols, the idol of self first of all, so that we can be humble, and only from our humility can learn to be redeemers, can learn to work together in the way the world really needs. Liberation that raises a cry against others is no true liberation. Liberation that means revolutions of hate and violence and takes the lives of others or abases the dignity of others cannot be true liberty. True liberty does violence to self and, like Christ, who disregarded that he was sovereign, becomes a slave to serve others. ~Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero, The Violence of Love
“I am a kernel of wheat for Christ. I must be ground by the teeth of beasts to be found bread (of Christ) wholly pure. … From Syria to Rome I must do battle with beasts on land and sea. For day and night I am chained to ten leopards, that is, the soldiers who guard me and grow more ferocious the better they are treated. Their mistreatment is good instruction for me, yet am I still far from justified. Oh, that I may meet the wild beasts now kept in readiness for me. I shall implore them to give me death promptly and to hasten my departure. I shall invite them to devour me so that they will not leave my body unharmed as already has happened to other witnesses. If they refuse to pounce upon me, I shall impel them to eat me. My little children, forgive me these words. Surely I know what is good for me. From things visible I no longer desire anything; I want to find Jesus. Fire and cross, wild beasts, broken bones, lacerated members, a body wholly crushed, and Satan’s every torment, let them all overwhelm me, if only I reach Christ.” ~St. Ignatius of Antioch
Ingratitude is the enemy of our souls, the annihilation of our merits, the scattering of our virtues, the loss of our benefactions. Ingratitude is a burning wind, drying up the fountain of piety, the dew of mercy. Nothing so displeases God, especially in children of grace. For ingratitude obstructs the paths of grace, and where there is ingratitude, grace no longer finds access and has no place. ~St. Bernard
In the first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at a personal sacrifice.…And the pagans used to say about the Christians, “See how they love each other.” In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed, and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. And because of this the pagans say about the Christians, “See how they pass the buck.” ~Peter Maurin, Easy Essays
“Faith means resisting the brute force that would otherwise pull us under. Faith is a liberation of my ‘I’ from its preoccupation with self. Faith is a breaking out of the isolation that is the malady of my ‘I’. Faith is a new Yes that becomes possible when we are touched by God. Faith is the finding of a You who upholds me and gives me the promise of an indestructible love. Faith means fellowship with Him who has power that draws us up, holds us fast, and carries us safely over the elements of death. To become a believer means to escape our own gravity.” ~Pope Benedict XVI
“All that the friends of Christ did for him in his lifetime, we can do. Peter’s mother-in-law hastened to cook a meal for him, and if anything in the Gospels can be inferred, it surely is that she gave the very best she had, with no thought of extravagance. Matthew made a feast for him, inviting the whole town, so that the house was in an uproar of enjoyment, and the straitlaced Pharisees – the good people – were scandalized.” ~Dorothy Day