“My little children, reflect on these words: the Christian’s treasure is not on earth but in heaven. Our thoughts, then, ought to be directed to where our treasure is. This is the glorious duty of man: to pray and to love. If you pray and love, that is where a man’s happiness lies.
“Prayer is nothing else but union with God. When one has a heart that is pure and united with God, he is given a kind of serenity and sweetness that makes him ecstatic, a light that surrounds him with marvelous brightness. In this intimate union, God and the soul are fused together like two bits of wax that no one can ever pull apart. This union of God with a tiny creature is a lovely thing. It is a happiness beyond understanding.” — From the catechetical instructions by Saint John Mary Vianney, priest
“Instructed in this holy Catholic Church and bearing ourselves honorably, we shall gain the kingdom of heaven and inherit eternal life. For the sake of enjoying this at the Lord’s hands, we endure all things. The goal set before us is no trifling one; we are striving for eternal life. In the Creed, therefore, after professing our faith, “in the resurrection of the body,” that is, of the dead, which I have already discussed, we are taught to believe “in life everlasting,” and for this as Christians we are struggling.
“Now real and true life is none other than the Father, who is the fountain of life and who pours forth his heavenly gifts on all creatures through the Son in the Holy Spirit, and the good things of eternal life are faithfully promised to us men also, because of his love for us.” — From a catechetical instruction by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop
“Just as in the Baptism, where the mystery of the first regeneration was proclaimed, the operation of the whole Trinity was made manifest, because the Son Incarnate was there, the Holy Ghost appeared under the form of a dove, and the Father made Himself known in the voice; so also in the transfiguration, which is the mystery of the second regeneration, the whole Trinity appears—the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Ghost in the bright cloud; for just as in baptism He confers innocence, signified by the simplicity of the dove, so in the resurrection will He give His elect the clarity of glory and refreshment from all sorts of evil, which are signified by the bright cloud.” — St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica
“All holiness and perfection of soul lies in our love for Jesus Christ our God, who is our Redeemer and our supreme good. It is part of the love of God to acquire and to nurture all the virtues which make a man perfect.
“Has not God in fact won for himself a claim on all our love? From all eternity he has loved us. And it is in this vein that he speaks to us: “O man, consider carefully that I first loved you. You had not yet appeared in the light of day, nor did the world yet exist, but already I loved you. From all eternity I have loved you.”” — From a sermon by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, bishop
One day this past week at daily Mass, we read these words from Exodus: In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. On seeing it, the children of Israel asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.” Continue reading →
“Crushed by my sins and the weight of my misery, I had taken thought in my heart and contemplated flight into the desert. But you stopped me and gave me comfort with these words: Christ died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them. “Behold, Lord, I cast upon you my concern that I may live and I shall meditate on the wonders of your law. You know my ignorance and my weakness; teach me and heal me. Your only Son, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, redeemed me with his blood. Let not arrogant men speak evil of me. For I meditate on my ransom, and I eat it and drink it and try to share it with others; though poor I want to be filled with it in the company of those who eat and are filled; and they shall praise the Lord who seek him.” — From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop
“Why do you turn away your face? We think that God is turning his face away from us when we find ourselves in such distress that our senses are clouded in darkness and we cannot see the glory of him who is truth. We are convinced that if God would pay attention to our condition and be pleased to visit our souls, nothing could plunge us in gloom. If a person’s face is more enlightening than other parts of his body – so that when we look at someone we either see him as a stranger or recognize him as someone we know, whom our glance will not allow to pass unrecognized – how much more does the face of God enlighten those on whom he directs his gaze.
“In his usual way Saint Paul has something striking to say on this subject. He employs his gift for making Christ better understood to make him closer to us through the use of appropriate ideas and expressions. He tells us: God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, has caused light to shine in our hearts, so that we might receive the revelation of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. We know, then the place where Christ is shining within us. He is the eternal splendor enlightening our minds and our hearts. He was sent by the Father to shine on us in the glory of his face, and so enable us to see what is eternal and heavenly, where before we were imprisoned in the darkness of this world.” — From the Explanations of the Psalms by Saint Ambrose, bishop
“Joachim and Ann, how chaste a couple! While safeguarding the chastity prescribed by the law of nature, you achieved with God’s help something which transcends nature in giving the world the Virgin Mother of God as your daughter. While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is. Girl of utter beauty and delight, daughter of Adam and mother of God, blessed the loins and blessed the womb from which you come! Blessed the arms that carried you, and blessed your parents’ lips, which you were allowed to cover with chaste kisses, ever maintaining your virginity. Rejoice in God, all the earth. Sing, exult and sing hymns. Raise your voice, raise it and be not afraid.” — From a sermon by Saint John Damascene, bishop
“The sons of Zebedee press Christ: Promise that one may sit at your right side and the other at your left.What does he do? He wants to show them that it is not a spiritual gift for which they are asking, and that if they knew what their request involved, they would never dare make it. So he says: You do not know what you are asking, that is, what a great and splendid thing it is and how much beyond the reach even of the heavenly powers. Then he continues: Can you drink the cup which I must drink and be baptized with the baptism which I must undergo?He is saying: “You talk of sharing honors and rewards with me, but I must talk of struggle and toil. Now is not the time for rewards or the time for my glory to be revealed. Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war and danger.”
“Consider how by his manner of questioning he exhorts and draws them. He does not say: “Can you face being slaughtered? Can you shed your blood?” How does he put his question? Can you drink the cup? Then he makes it attractive by adding: which I must drink, so that the prospect of sharing it with him may make them more eager. He also calls his suffering a baptism, to show that it will effect a great cleansing of the entire world. The disciples answer him: We can! Fervor makes them answer promptly, though they really do not know what they are saying but still think they will receive what they ask for.” — From a homily on Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop