Job, I came to see, is the model of what an Italian biblical scholar has called “the believer who loves the true God in himself and for himself, without ulterior motives”—and does so precisely along the dark path of suffering. It is Job, sitting amidst misery, who rejects his friends’ calculating, facile suggestions about why bad things happen to good people. It is Job who, in the end, refuses to cram the divine will and purpose onto the procrustean bed of human wisdom. It is Job who, finally, lets God be God—and who, by admitting that he is not the artisan of his own existence, makes a deeper act of faith in the God whose divine “logic” in beyond anything human minds can grasp.
St. Francis, on the other hand, because of the various labels applied to him, risks being the most difficult saint to know. He loved animals, but he wasn’t an environmentalist. He served Christ in the sick and leprous, but he wasn’t a philanthropist or humanitarian. He wrote songs, and sang of the Lord whenever he could, and slept on the side of the road when he had to, but he wasn’t a flower child. If we try to mold St. Francis in this way, we run the risk of exchanging the determined yet suffering poverello from Assisi for an inoffensive, but pious, garden gnome.
~ Br. Leo Camurati, O.P., The Most Difficult Saint to Know? via Dominicana Blog
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.
~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory via Strange Herring.
The holiest man is not he who is in the holiest state of life, it is he who fulfils most perfectly the duties of the state in which Divine Providence has placed him.
~ St. Lidwina
Christ roams through our streets in the person of so many of the suffering poor, sick and dispossessed, and people thrown out of their miserable slums; Christ huddled under bridges, in the person of so many children who lack someone to call father, who have been deprived for many years without a mother’s kiss on their foreheads … Christ is without a home! Shouldn’t we want to give him one, those of us who have the joy of a comfortable home, plenty of good food, the means to educate and assure the future of our children? “What you do to the least of me, you do to me,” Jesus said.
Imagine for a moment what you could learn about God’s revelation if you would set aside for just one day, even just one hour, your need to be right, your need to be safe, your need to be in charge. Imagine if you set these aside and fully, truly accepted that the Lord would never leave you to destruction, never forsake you to an eternal death. What could you learn? How would you grow? Think for a moment about the locks you put on your trust, on your love, on your hope. How many are there? Can you count them? Do you believe that hoarding the gifts God has given you will earn you compound interest in heaven? Or that a cautious, meager charity will benefit you in the long run? Gifts left unused for the good of your neighbors will eventually atrophy and die, leaving behind a bitter waste, an angry, soured soul. There is nothing child-like about living your life in resentment and disappointment. Our Father will never abandon us. What is there for us to fear? Nothing. Nothing at all.
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, Ph.D., Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!, “Only the child-like”.
The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience, and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others.
~St. Anthony (via Beauty for Ashes)
Never was any man so little afraid of his promises. His life was one riot of rash vows; of rash vows that turned out right.
~G.K. Chesterton, Saint Francis of Assisi
Many thousand things that I now partly comprehend I should have thought utterly incomprehensible, many things I now hold sacred I should have scouted as utterly superstitious, many things that seem to me lucid and enlightened now they are seen from the inside I should honestly have called dark and barbarous seen from the outside, when long ago in those days of boyhood my fancy first caught fire with the glory of Francis of Assisi.
~G.K. Chesterton, Saint Francis of Assisi
A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.