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Some Inspirational Thoughts
Throughout the year, the Catholic Church celebrates the lives of saints on their feast days, which are usually the days that they died. In honor of the saints whose feast days are in August, here are some whom we celebrate this month, along with some of their thoughts. The magazine shares their wisdom as a way to inspire you in your faith lives.
St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney is often referred to as the Curé d’Ars (a French phrase that stands for “the priest of Ars). Ars is a small town in France, which, because of the saint’s holiness, became spiritually transformed by his ministry. He is the patron saint of parish priests and was known for his devotion to the Blessed Mother and for inviting people to go to the sacrament of reconciliation.
“My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.”
“On the Way of the Cross, you see, my children, only the first step is painful. Our greatest cross is the fear of crosses… We have not the courage to carry our cross, and we are very much mistaken; for, whatever we do, the cross holds us tight – we cannot escape from it. What, then, have we to lose? Why not love our crosses, and make use of them to take us to heaven?”
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, was a German-Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She died as a martyr in an Auschwitz death camp, where she had been placed after being arrested by the Gestapo in 1942. She is one of six co-patron saints of Europe.
“Do not accept anything as love which lacks truth.”
“The deeper a soul is bound to God, the more completely surrendered to grace, the stronger will be its influence on the form of the Church. Conversely, the more an era is engulfed in the night of sin and estrangement from God the more it needs souls united to God. And God does not permit a deficiency. The greatest figures of prophecy and sanctity step forth out of the darkest night.
“But for the most part the formative stream of the mystical life remains invisible. Certainly the decisive turning points in world history are substantially co-determined by souls whom no history book ever mentions. And we will only find out about those souls to whom we owe the decisive turning points in our personal lives on the day when all that is hidden is revealed.”
St. Clare of Assisi
St. Clare of Assisi was one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi. She founded a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition known today as the Poor Clares.
“We become what we love, and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God’s compassionate love for others.”
“Never forget that the way which leads to heaven is narrow; that the gate leading to life is narrow and low; that there are but few who find it and enter by it; and if there be some who go in and tread the narrow path for some time, there are but very few who persevere therein.”
St. Jane Frances de Chantal
St. Jane Frances de Chantal was the founder of a religious order known as the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. After her husband was killed in a hunting accident, she devoted herself to her family and to helping others. She became great friends with her spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales.
“We must be as satisfied to be powerless, idle and still before God, and dried up and barren when He permits it, as to be full of life, enjoying His presence with ease and devotion. The whole matter of our union with God consists in being content either way.”
“Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.”
“We should throw ourselves into God as a little drop of water into the sea, and lose ourselves, indeed, in the ocean of the Divine Goodness.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe
St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish-Catholic priest and Conventual Franciscan friar who is known for volunteering to die in place of a stranger in the Auschwitz death camp. He had a devotion to the Immaculate Virgin Mary and was known for evangelizing through several Catholic media apostolates.
“Be a Catholic: When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before Whom you kneel.”
“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.”
“The essence of the love of God does not lie in affections or in sweet words, but solely in the will. If the soul perseveres decisively with its will fixed on holiness and love of God, although it does not experience the least feeling in its heart, let it be wholly convinced that it continually tends with rapid pace forward and ever pushes upward.”
“We need to love our neighbor, not just because he is pleasant or helpful or rich and influential or even because he shows us gratitude. These motives are too self-serving, unworthy of our Lady’s Knights. Genuine love rises above creatures and soars up to God. In Him, by Him, and through Him it loves all men, both good and wicked, friends and enemies. To all it stretches out a hand filled with love; it prays for all, suffers for all, wishes what is best for all, desires happiness for all — because that is what God wants.”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
St. Bernard of Clairvaux was a contemplative Cistercian monk and abbot of the Abbey of Clairvaux and is a Doctor of the Church.
“Action and contemplation are very close companions; they live together in one house on equal terms. Martha and Mary are sisters.”
“There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.”
St. Augustine was a theologian, philosopher and Doctor of the Church whose autobiography, Confessions, is considered a masterpiece of literature:
“Here is my heart, O God; here it is with all its secrets. Look into my thoughts, O my hope, and take away all my wrong feelings. Let my eyes be ever on you and release my feet from the snare. I ask you to live with me, to reign in me, to make this heart of mine a holy temple, a fit dwelling for your divine majesty. Amen.”
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”