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Sunday, September 16, 2018



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Lessons from spiritual giants

Lessons from spiritual giants

We can learn a lot from the great spiritual giants of the past and the present. From time to time I’d like to pass on some quotations that might help deepen your spiritual life.

Spiritual writer and speaker, Fr. Jacques Philippe, tells us what Jesus meant by taking up our crosses. “By accepting the sufferings ‘offered’ by life and allowed by God for our progress and purification, we spare ourselves much harder ones. We need to develop this kind of realism and, once and for all, stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness.”

Louis de Montfort (1673-1716) was a French Catholic priest. He was known in his time as a great preacher/confessor. He said, “Be one of the small number who find the way to life, and enter by the narrow gate into Heaven. Take care not to follow the majority and the common herd, so many of whom are lost. Do not be deceived; there are only two roads: one that leads to life and is narrow; the other that leads to death and is wide. There is no middle way.”

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) was a priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were primarily in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. I heard him talk when I was on my sabbatical. He warns us about our speech. “When we say, ‘I love you,’ and say it from the heart, we can give another person new life, new hope, new courage. When we say, ‘I hate you,’ we can destroy another person. Let’s watch our words.”

Pope Francis always uses simple words to make his points. He is very down to earth in his homilies and avoids “churchy language.” He says, “Jesus says something remarkable to us: ‘greater love has no one than this, that people lay down their lives for their friends.’ Love always takes this path: to give one’s life. To live life as a gift, a gift to be given – not a treasure to be stored away.”

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (born in Italy 1850 and died in Chicago 1917) was a religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. She said, “I will go anywhere and do anything to communicate Jesus’ love to those who do not know him or have forgotten him.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. “Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live forever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things that would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live forever.”

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was a Bishop of Geneva. He is known for his practical advice. “If you can fast, you will do well to observe some abstinence beyond what is enjoined by the Church. For besides the ordinary benefits of fasting – namely, lifting up the mind, subduing the flesh, strengthening virtue, and earning an eternal recompense – it is a great matter to be able to command our tastes and inclinations, and to keep the body and its appetites subject to the law of the spirit. Even if we do not fast to any great extent, Satan is the more afraid of those who, he is aware, know how to fast.”

St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) was an Italian Franciscan, theologian, philosopher and was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He said, “When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth.”