…if the citizens themselves devote their life to matters of trade, the way will be opened to many vices. Since the foremost tendency of tradesmen is to make money, greed is awakened in the hearts of the citizens through the pursuit of trade. The result is that everything in the city will become venal; good faith will be destroyed and the way opened to all kinds of trickery; each one will work only for his own profit, despising the public good; the cultivation of virtue will fail since honour, virtue’s reward, will be bestowed upon the rich. Thus, in such a city, civic life will necessarily be corrupted.
Humility, the guardian and embellishment of all the virtues, had filled the man of God, Francis, with abundance. In his own opinion he was nothing but a sinner, though in truth he was a mirror and the splendor of every kind of holiness. As he had learned from Christ, he strove to build himself upon this like a wise architect laying a foundation. He used to say that it was for this reason that the Son of God came down from the height of his Father’s bosom to our lowly estate so that our Lord and Teacher might teach humility in both example and word.
~ St. Bonaventure, The Major Legend of St. Francis
I cannot help but wonder what remains behind when Christianity’s power over culture recedes? How long can our gentler ethical prejudices [toward the vulnerable—the diseased, disabled, or derelict among us], many of which seem to be melting away with fair rapidity, persist once the faith that gave them their rationale and meaning has withered away? Love endures all things perhaps, as the apostle says, and is eternal; but as a cultural reality, even love requires a reason for its preeminence among virtues. And the mere habit of solicitude for others will not necessarily long survive when that reason is no longer found. If . . . the human as we understand it is the positive intervention of Christianity, might it not be the case that a culture that has become truly post-Christian will also, ultimately, become posthuman?
~David Bentley Hart via Maureen Mullarkey | A First Things Blog
Because he lived in such a perfect state of humble existence among his sisters and brothers, Jesus was able to meet those he encountered as they were and treat them with the inherent dignity rightly deserved by virtue of their humanity. For Francis, this became a major component of his way of life and remains a characteristic of Franciscan ministry today.
~Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith by Daniel Horan OFM
[His] grandfather believed—or sometimes believed, and always maintained—that every object on Earth was created by God with the capacity to impart to the attentive student some virtue or grace.
~Nick Harkaway, Angelmaker
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)
Know then, that God no sooner finds us resolved to attain solid virtue than He sends us trials of the severest kind. Convinced of His immense love for us and His fatherly solicitude for our spiritual advancement, we ought with gratitude to drink to the dregs of the chalice that He is pleased to offer us, confident that its beneficial character will be in proportion to its bitterness.
~Lorenzo Scupoli, The Spiritual Combat