“Dear brethren, God’s love is calling us to the joys of eternal happiness for the salvation of our souls. You have just listened to the reading from the Apostle in which he says: Rejoice in the Lord always. The joys of this world lead to eternal misery, but the joys that are according to the Lord’s will, bring those who persevere in them to joys that are enduring and everlasting. The Apostle therefore says: Again I say: rejoice. He urges us to find ever increasing joy in God and in keeping his commandments. The more we try in this world to give ourselves completely to God our Lord by obeying his commands, the greater will be our happiness in the life to come, and the greater the glory that will be ours in the presence of God.” — From a treatise on the letter to the Philippians by Saint Ambrose, bishop
“May God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and in truth and in great gentleness. May you never know anger, but be patient, long-suffering, persevering and chaste. May he grant you a place among his saints; and may he give the same to us along with you, as well as to all on earth who put their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and in his Father who has raised him from the dead. Keep all the saints in your prayers. Pray, too, for our rulers, for our leaders, and for all those in power, even for those who persecute and hate you, and for those who are enemies of the cross. In this way, your good works will be seen by all men, and you will be perfected in him.” — From a letter to the Philippians by Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr
“O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.
“Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.” — From a letter written to all the faithful by Saint Francis of Assisi
” So let us persevere in the pledge of our righteousness and in our hope, that is, in Christ Jesus. In his mouth no hint of guilt was discovered; he committed no sin and yet bore our sins in his own body on the tree. Rather, he endured everything for our sake so that we might live in him. Let us then imitate his constancy; if we should suffer because of his name, let us give him that glory. For this is the personal example he has given us, this is the object of our faith.” — From a letter to the Philippians by Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr
“He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instill confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need.
“So let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honor them as much as we can and should. Yet all our love and honor must go to him, for it is from him that they receive all that makes them worthy of our love and respect.” -From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot-
This week I stumbled across this story: A member of a [12 step] program, who previously had been attending meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, his sponsor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening and the sponsor found the sponsee at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.Continue reading →
“You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.
“And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.” — From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope
“I shall lead them forth from the Gentiles, and I shall gather them from foreign lands; I shall bring them into their own land, and I shall feed them on the mountains of Israel. It was God who brought forth the mountains of Israel, that is to say, the authors of the divine Scriptures. Feed there that you may feed in safety. Whatever you hear from that source, you should savor. Whatever is foreign to it, reject. Hear the voice of the shepherd, lest you wander about in the mist. Gather at the mountains of holy Scripture. There, are the things that will delight your hearts; there, you will find nothing poisonous, nothing hostile; there the pastures are most plentiful. There, you will be healthy sheep; you will feed safely on the mountain of Israel.” — From a sermon On Pastors by Saint Augustine, bishop
“Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor. Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor: He sent me to preach the good news to the poor. We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause.” — From a writing by Saint Vincent de Paul, priest