Faith is not a thing of the mind…

Faith is not a thing of the mind; it is not an intellectual certainty or a felt conviction of the heart. It is a sustained decision to take God with utter seriousness as the God of my life. It is to live out each hour in a practical, concrete affirmation that God is Father and he is “in heaven.” It is a decision to shift the center of our lives from ourselves to him, to forego self-interest and make his interests, his will, our sole concern. This is what it means to hallow his name as Father in heaven.

~Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D. in Magnificat via Shirt of Flame

To choose violence…

To choose violence is not to cut off the possibility of suffering, in other words, but rather to cut off the possibility of good. It’s to forestall the transformation that always comes about when we refrain from violence, for Christ’s sake, when violence would be expedient. Christianity has never, ever claimed to be expedient. Christianity has never remotely claimed to be about results, efficiency, numbers, worldly success. Hitler was efficient. The death camps got results. Christianity is about the one lost sheep.

~Heather King, Shirt of Flame

But few who bear His cross.

Jesus has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection.Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus—love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!

~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Book II, Chapter XI.

Let us remember that the devil labors hard to disturb us…

Let us remember that the devil labors hard to disturb us at the time of meditation, in order to make us abandon it. Let him, then, who omits mental prayer on account of distractions be persuaded that he gives delight to the devil… let us, then, never give up meditation however great our distractions may be. St. Francis de Sales says that if, in mental prayer, we should do nothing else than continually banish distractions and temptations, the meditation would be very well made. Before him, St. Thomas taught that involuntary distractions do not take away the fruit of mental prayer.

~St. Alphonsus, The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection via Catholic Spiritual Direction