Slackness snaps the soul

Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus

Quotes of the Day

From Saint Ignatius’ letter on Perfection
to the fathers and brothers studying at Coimbra, May 7, 1547 

The Advantages of Fervor

Therefore, give serious thought to your vocation so that you can give much thanks to God for so great a favor and ask Him for the special help needed to correspond to it with courage and diligence. Both of these you must have in large measure if you are to attain the end you have in view. Sloth, tepidity, weariness in study and in the other exercises which you have undertaken for the love of our Lord you must recognize as the sworn enemies of your vocation.

For his encouragement each one should keep before his eyes, not those who he thinks will accomplish less, but rather those who are active and energetic. Never permit the children of this world to show greater care and interest in the things of time than you show for those of eternity. It should bring a blush to your cheek to see them run to death more enthusiastically than you to life. Hold yourselves as worth little if a courtier serves with greater dedication to gain the favor of an earthly prince than you do for the favor of the King of Heaven, or if a soldier battles with greater courage for the glory of victory and hope of spoils, than you fight for victory and triumph over the world, the devil, and yourselves, all for a heavenly kingdom and eternal glory.

For the love of God, therefore, be neither careless nor tepid. For if tautness snaps the bow, slackness snaps the soul; while on the contrary, according to Solomon, the soul of them that work shall be richly supplied [Prov. 13:4]. Try to maintain a holy and discreet fervor in your work and in the pursuit of learning as well as virtue. With both alike, one energetic act is worth a thousand that are listless, and what a lazy man cannot accomplish in many years an energetic man can usually achieve quickly.

In the matter of learning, the difference between the earnest and the careless student stands out clearly. The same holds true in the mastering of passion and the weaknesses to which our nature is subject, as in the acquiring of virtue. It is certain that, because the negligent do not struggle against self, they never achieve peace of soul or do so tardily, and never possess any virtue in its fullness, while the energetic and industrious make notable advances on both fronts.

Experience proves that in this life peace and satisfaction are had, not by the listless but by those who are fervent in God’s service. And rightly so. For in their effort to overcome themselves and to rid themselves of self-love, they rid themselves of the roots of all passion and unrest. And by acquiring habits of virtue, they naturally succeed in acting with ease and cheerfulness in accordance with these same virtues.

By this means they dispose themselves to receive the holy consolation of God our faithful consoler, for to him who conquers I will give the hidden manna [Rev. 2:17]. On the other hand, tepidity is the cause of a lifetime of uneasiness, for we never uproot its cause, self-love, nor do we ever deserve God’s help. Therefore you should rouse yourselves to work earnestly at your praiseworthy tasks, since even in this life you will perceive the advantages of holy fervor, not only in the growth of perfection in your souls but even in the peace of mind it grants you in this present life.

But if you look to the eternal reward, as you often should, Saint Paul will easily convince you that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us [Rom. 8:18], because this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal measure of glory beyond all comparison [2 Cor. 4:17].

From Saint Ignatius’ letter on maturing spiritually
to the scholastics at Alcala, 1543 

  1. We should be careful to preserve great purity of heart in the love of God, loving nothing but Him, and desiring to converse with Him alone, and with the neighbor for love of Him and not for our own pleasure and delight.
  2. We should speak only with necessity, and for the edification of ourselves or others, and leave aside those things which do not profit the soul, such as the desire for news and worldly affairs. We should try always to treat of matters connected with humility and mortification of the will, and not of things that give occasion for laughter or murmuring.
  3. Let no one seek to be considered a wit, or to affect elegance or prudence or eloquence, but look upon Christ, who made nothing at all of these things and chose to be humbled and despised by men for our sake rather than to be honored and respected.
  4. We should not wish to see or do anything which could not be done in the presence of God and His creatures, and we shall thus imagine that we are always in His presence.
  5. We should not dispute stubbornly with anyone; rather we should patiently give our reasons with the purpose of declaring the truth lest our neighbor remain in error, and not that we should have the upper hand.
  6. One of the things which we must be very firm about, if we are to please our Lord, is to cast far from us everything that could remove us from the love of our brethren. We should make every effort to love them with a tender charity, for Supreme Truth has said: This is how all will know you are my disciples, etc. [John 13:35].
  7. Should anyone do anything that is disedifying, and it seems that as a result he should be held in less esteem than he was held before, let him not be so discouraged as to wish to give up, but let him humble himself and ask forgiveness of those who might have been scandalized by his bad example and a penance from his superior. He should thank God, who has permitted him to be humbled, so that he can be known by all for what he is. He should not wish to appear better in the eyes of men than he is in the eyes of God. The brethren who behold him should think that they could fall into even greater weakness, and should ask God to strengthen them.
  8. In our superiors we should always behold the person of Christ, whom they represent, and have recourse to them in our doubts and hold it as certain that our Lord will direct us through them.
  9. We should not conceal our temptations, nor even our good thoughts, but make them known to our confessor or superior, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light [2 Cor. 11:14]. We should always act according to the judgment and counsel of our spiritual father rather than our own, which we should always regard rather with suspicion.
  10. In dealing with others we should bear ourselves modestly, and try not to appear sad or too serious, nor, on the other hand, overcheerful and gay, but as the Apostle says: Everyone should see how modest you are [Phil. 4:5].
  11. We should never postpone a good work, no matter how small it may be, with the thought of later doing something greater. It is a very common temptation of the enemy to be always placing before us the perfection of things to come and bring us to make little of the present.
  12. Let us all persevere in the vocation to which God calls us, and not make our first loyalty an empty word. For the enemy is wont to tempt those in the desert with thoughts of dealing with the neighbor and improving him, and to those who are helping the neighbor he will propose the great perfection of the desert and solitary life. Thus he lays hold of what is far off to prevent us from taking advantage of what is at hand.
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Your light must shine before others

Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony is invoked most frequently for lost items, but he ought to be invoked for lost people.

Scriptures of the Day

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 1:18–2

Brothers and sisters:
As God is faithful, our word to you is not “yes” and “no.”
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us,
Silvanus and Timothy and me,
was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him.
For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him;
therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory.
But the one who gives us security with you in Christ
and who anointed us is God;
he has also put his seal upon us
and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

Psalm: 119:129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135

Wonderful are your decrees;
therefore I observe them.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
gives understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Turn to me in pity
as you turn to those who love your name.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Steady my footsteps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity rule over me.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.

Gospel: Matthew 5:13–16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Saint Anthony’s Teaching on the Four Lamps
from the first clause of his sermon for the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

First lamp:  God’s word

The word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my paths. — Psalm 119:105
Note that it speaks of “feet” first, and then “paths,” because when we hear the Word of God, we are first made to shine in heart, and then we walk with straight steps.

Second lamp:  Good works

Let your loins be girt and lamps burning in your hands. — Luke 12:35
We hold lamps burning in our hands when we show good works to our neighbors.

Third lamp: intention, which gives light to the whole collection of good works

The light of your body [your work] is your eye [your intention]. If your eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. — Matthew 6:22

Fourth lamp: the humanity of Jesus Christ

What woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?  — Luke 15:8

Let the Lord say “in the time of judgment I will search Jerusalem,” that is, each and every Christian. I will search with lamps:

  • Does he hear the word of preaching and amend his life?
  • Does he show the light of good example to others?
  • Does he do his works with a right intention?
  • Does he shape his life by the example of the poverty and humility of Jesus Christ?

Then he will visit upon people (those who trust in their own strength) who are settled in their filth, their iniquities.

Quote of the Day

In Jesus there is no ‘no’: always ‘yes,’ for the glory of the Father. But we too share this ‘Yes’ of Jesus, because He has given us the anointing, he has imprinted on us the Seal, has given us the ‘security deposit’ of the Spirit. We participate because we are united, sealed, and have in our hand that security – the security deposit of the Spirit – the Spirit that will bring us to the definitive ‘Yes,’ and also to our own fullness. Also, that same Spirit that will help us to become light and salt, that is to say, it is the Spirit that leads us to give Christian witness. — Pope Francis homily for June 13, 2017

She will live the life of God

Feast of Saint John of the Cross
Poem of the Day

From the Romance on the Incarnation 

3. On creation

“My Son, I wish to give you
a bride who will love you.
Because of you she will deserve
to share our company,
and eat at our table,
the same bread I eat,
that she may know the good
I have in such a Son;
and rejoice with me
in your grace and fullness.”

“I am very grateful,”
the Son answered;
“I will show my brightness
to the bride you give me,
so that by it she may see
how great my Father is,
and how I have received
my being from your being.

I will hold her in my arms
and she will burn with your love,
and with eternal delight
she will exalt your goodness”.

4. Continues

“Let it be done, then,” said the Father,
for your love has deserved it.

And by these words
the world was created,
a palace for the bride
made with great wisdom
and divided into rooms,
one above, the other below.

The lower was furnished
with infinite variety,
while the higher was made
beautiful
with marvelous jewels,
that the bride might know
the Bridegroom she had.

The orders of angels
were placed in the higher,
but humanity was given
the lower place,
for it was, in its being,
a lesser thing.

And though beings and places
were divided in this way,
yet all form one,
who is called the bride;
for love of the same Bridegroom
made one bride of them.

Those higher ones possessed
the Bridegroom in gladness;
the lower in hope, founded
on the faith that he infused in them,
telling them that one day
he would exalt them,
and that he would lift them
up from their lowness
so that no one
could mock it any more;
for he would make himself
wholly like them,
and he would come to them
and dwell with them;
and God would be man
and man would be God,
and he would walk with them
and eat and drink with them;
and he himself would be
with them continually
until the consummation
of this world,
when, joined, they would rejoice
in eternal song;
for he was the Head
of this bride of his
to whom all the members
of the just would be joined,
who form the body of the bride.

He would take her
tenderly in his arms
and there give her his love;
and when they were thus one,
he would lift her to the Father
where God’s very joy
would be her joy.

For as the Father and the Son
and he who proceeds from them
live in one another,
so it would be with the bride;
for, taken wholly into God,
she will live the life of God.

To be praises of glory

The very first
Feast of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

41. “We have been predestined by the decree of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we may be the praise of His glory.

It is Saint Paul who tells us this, Saint Paul who was instructed by God Himself. How do we realize this great dream of the Heart of our God, this immutable will for our souls? In a word, how do we correspond to our vocation and become perfect Praises of Glory of the Most Holy Trinity?

42. “In Heaven” each soul is a praise of glory of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, for each soul is established in pure love and “lives no longer its own life, but the life of God.” Then it knows Him, Saint Paul says, as it is known by Him. In other words “its intellect is the intellect of God, its will the will of God, its love the very love of God. In reality it is the Spirit of love and of strength who transforms the soul, for to Him it has been given to supply what is lacking to the soul,” as Saint Paul says again. “He works in it this glorious transformation.” Saint John of the Cross affirms that “the soul surrendered to love, through the strength of the Holy Spirit, is not far from being raised to the degree of which we have just spoken,” even here below! This is what I call a perfect praise of glory!

43. A praise of glory is a soul that lives in God, that loves Him with a pure and disinterested love, without seeking itself in the sweetness of this love; that loves Him beyond all His gifts and even though it would not have received anything from Him, it desires the good of the Object thus loved. Now how do we effectively desire and will good to God if not in accomplishing His will since this will orders everything for His greater glory? Thus the soul must surrender itself to this will completely, passionately, so as to will nothing else but what God wills.

A praise of glory is a soul of silence that remains like a lyre under the mysterious touch of the Holy Spirit so that He may draw from it divine harmonies; it knows that suffering is a string that produces still more beautiful sounds; so it loves to see this string on its instrument that it may more delightfully move the Heart of its God.

A praise of glory is a soul that gazes on God in faith and simplicity; it is a reflector of all that He is; it is like a bottomless abyss into which He can flow and expand; it is also like a crystal through which He can radiate and contemplate all His perfections and His own splendor. A soul which thus permits the divine Being to satisfy in itself His need to communicate “all that He is and all that He has,” is in reality the praise of glory of all His gifts.

Finally, a praise of glory is one who is always giving thanks. Each of her acts, her movements, her thoughts, her aspirations, at the same time that they are rooting her more deeply in love, are like an echo of the eternal Sanctus.

44. In the Heaven of glory the blessed have no rest “day or night, saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty….They fall down and worship Him who lives forever and ever….”

In the heaven of her soul, the praise of glory has already begun her work of eternity. Her song is uninterrupted, for she is under the action of the Holy Spirit who effects everything in her; and although she is not always aware of it, for the weakness of nature does not allow her to be established in God without distractions, she always sings, she always adores, for she has, so to speak, wholly passed into praise and love in her passion for the glory of her God. In the heave of our soul let us be praises of glory of the Holy Trinity, praises of love of our Immaculate Mother. One day the veil will fall, we will be introduced into the eternal courts, and there we will sing in the bosom of infinite Love. And God will give us “the new name promised to the Victor.” What will it be?

— Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, Heaven in Faith, Tenth Day, Second Prayer

 

To stand directly before God

All Souls Day

Scripture of the Day: Wisdom 3:1–9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Quote of the Day

I would go so far as to say that if there was no purgatory, then we would have to invent it, for who would dare say of himself that he was able to stand directly before God.  And yet we don’t want to be, to use an image from Scripture, “a pot that turned out wrong,” that has to be thrown away; we want to be able to be put right.

Purgatory basically means that God can put the pieces back together again.  That he can cleanse us in such a way that we are able to be with him and can stand there in the fullness of life.  Purgatory strips off from one person what is unbearable and from another the inability to bear certain things, so that in each of them a pure heart is revealed, and we can see that we all belong together in one enormous symphony of being.

— Pope Benedict XVI, “The Role of Purgatory,” God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time (Ignatius Press, 2002)

Prayer of the Day

Heavenly Father,
I believe that in Your wisdom and justice
You willed to purify all persons who die
without having attained the state that they need
for all eternity,
all who have still to expiate completely
the sins committed on earth.
I also believe that You have mercifully arranged
that this process of purification can be aided
by the prayers of the living,
and especially by the Eucharist.

Help me to pray for my brothers and sisters
who have departed from this world.
May their time of purification be short
and they be quickly guided into that holy light
promised by our Lord to Abraham and his descendants.
I offer You sacrifices and prayers of praise.
Accept them for all the souls of the faithful departed
and admit them all to the eternal joy of heaven.

— New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book, #1348 (Catholic Book Publishing)

To become saints

Quotes for All Saints Day

To become saints means to fulfill completely what we already are, raised to the dignity of God’s adopted children in Christ Jesus.

The saints bring to light in a creative fashion quite new human potentialities.

The saints are themselves the living spaces into which one can turn.

There is no isolation in heaven. It is the open society of the saints and, consequently, also the fulfillment of all human togetherness.

One might say that the saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light.

Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.

— Pope Benedict XVI

Sources:

  • Let God’s Light Shine Forth: The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI (edited by Robert Moynihan)
  • Spirit of the Liturgy by Jospeh Cardinal Ratzinger (2000)
  • Eschatology — Death and Eternal Life by Joseph Ratzinger (1988)