Saintly Quotes to Help Advance in the Spiritual Life
These quotes may be read and meditated on for six weeks. They were originally used by the Confraternity of Penitents during the Fast of Saint Martin, 2008 (that is, from November 12 through December 24).
1. Reflection from Blessed Henry Suso: "Abandon yourself utterly for the love of God, and in this way you will become truly happy."
Lord, I want to abandon myself for love of You, for I know that this is where happiness lies. But I am weak, Lord. Give me the strength to do what You ask of me. I need Your grace, my God. Amen.
2. Reflection from Saint Antony the Great: "I tell you truly, my beloved, that our carelessness and our humiliation and our turning aside from the way are not a lost to us only ,but they are a weariness for the angels and for the saints in Jesus Christ. Our humiliation gives grief to them all, and our salvation gives joy and refreshment to them all."
Angel of God, my Guardian Dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard to rule and guide. From sinful stain, oh keep me free, and in death's hour, my helper be. Amen.
3. Reflection from Saint Lawrence O'Toole, bishop: "I thank God that I have not a penny in the world to dispose of." Said on his deathbed when someone asked him if he had a will.
Saint Lawrence O'Toole, your feast day is November 15. You, as a holy and poor bishop, gave all you had to the poor and the needy, putting your trust in God alone. Pray that I may have the same trust in God, despite my financial woes and lacks, that you had. Amen.
4. Reflection from Saint Albert the Great: "It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man, and man to God. But where charity is not found, God cannot dwell. If, then, we possess charity, we possess God, for "God is Charity" (1 John 4:8)
Saint Albert the Great, your feast day is November 15. Pray that we may learn well the lesson of Love, for it is the path to God Who is best described by that noun. Amen.
5. Reflection from Saint Peter of Alcantara: I have made a contract with my body on earth. It has promised to accept harsh treatment from me on earth, and I have promised that it shall receive eternal rest in heaven.
Lord, grant me the grace to do with a little less here so as to prepare for eternal glory. If I glory in this life, Lord, then I am wasting my efforts to come to You. Help me in my weakness, my God. Amen.
6. Reflection from John Henry Cardinal Newman: "A thousand difficulties do not make a single doubt."
My Lord, I am encountering many difficulties. Keep my faith strong so that I never doubt Your wisdom, care, guidance, or love. Amen.
7.Reflection from Saint Bonaventure: "When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than proceedings from the mouth."
Help me to pray well, Lord, with my heart whether or not my lips are moving. Be, Lord, the Spirit of my prayer. Amen.
8. Reflection from Saint Augustine: "The bodies of the saints will therefore rise again free from every defect, from every deformity, and from every corruption, encumbrance, or hindrance. In this way their freedom of action will be as complete as their happiness."
Lord, I do not often think of the perfection of my body. How wonderful to be perfectly free from every hindrance to movement and life! When life grows weary and my bodily pains increase, help me to remember these words of Saint Augustine and give me hope. Amen.
9. Reflection from Saint Teresa of Avila: "God dwells within you, and there you should dwell with Him."
My God, I never think of You dwelling within me. Are You this close, my God, closer to me even than I am to myself? You made me and You know me. You break through my masks and know exactly who I am even though I try to hide the truth from myself. Grant me the courage to go to You, my God, my Love. Help me to dwell with you. Amen.
10. Reflection from Saint John of the Cross: "He who loses an opportunity is like the man who lets a bird fly from his hand, for he will never recover it."
O, Lord, I have missed so many opportunities in my life because I was too fearful, too cautious, too worried about what someone might think. Give me courage, my God, to move forward in doing what You prompt me to do. My Lord, be My All. Amen.
11. Reflection from Saint Therese of Lisieux: "This daring ambition of aspiring to great sanctity has never left me. I don't rely on my own merits, because I haven't any; I put all my confidence in Him who is virtue, who is Holiness itself."
My Jesus, You are Holiness and Virtue. St. Therese aspired to great sanctity. I would be happy if I aspired only to mediocre sanctity. Lord, my faith and my resolve, my love and my courage are so paltry. Grant me the grace of desiring holiness, my Lord, and of being brave enough and firm enough to pursue it. Amen.
12. Reflection from Saint John Cafasso: "Heaven is filled with converted sinners of all kinds, and there is room for more."
My Lord, my God, my King, I am glad that Your Kingdom is made up of former sinners because that means I qualify. Grant me the grace of total conversion, so that I may be sure of my eternal home. You are King and Your Feast is today. Help me to desire to be at Your eternal banquet, my Lord, my King, my God. Amen.
13. Reflection from Saint Cyrian of Carthage: "These days no one thinks of the fears the future holds; no one takes to heart the day of judgment, and the wrath of God; the punishments to come upon unbelievers, and the eternal torments decreed for the faithless. Whatever a conscience would fear if it believed, our conscience, because it no longer believes, doesn't fear at all. If only it believed, it would take heed; and if it took heed, it would escape."
My Lord, I read these words from Saint Cyprian of Carthage, and they seem as if they could have been written today for our society instead of two hundred and fifty years after the birth of Christ. My God, has the world changed so little in all these centuries? Why do people always turn from You? Why is unbelief rampant? Are the times we are living in not that different from times past? And is there always need for conversion? Open my mind, my heart, and my Will to You, my God, so that I may be a light in the moral darkness of our times. Amen.
14. Reflection from Saint Basil the Great: "We should even go beyond doing what is required in order to avoid scandal."
Lord, am I a cause of scandal to others? Could it be that my impatience, rudeness, self centeredness, neglect are a cause of scandal to those who don't know Christ? What kind of Christian am I, Lord? Help me to be a good Christian follower of Yours. Amen.
15. Reflection from Saint Thomas Aquinas: "The purpose of temporal tranquility, which well-ordered policies establish and maintain, is to give opportunities for contemplating truth."
How amazing, my Lord! I am so short sighted that I see tranquility in a nation as an indication that there is no war. But Saint Thomas sees it as an incentive to contemplate the truth. How I fritter away my time on trivialities when I could be meditating on much bigger issues! Lord, help me to view life through eyes of faith. I need a spiritual cataract operation. Be my surgeon, my God. Amen.
16. Reflection from Saint Antony the Great: "When you lie down on your bed, remember with thanksgiving the blessings and the providence of God."
Thank You, my God, for the gift of my life, for the many blessings of my life, and for the pain that has helped me to grow. Thank You, my Lord, for what You have given and for what You have taken away. Thank You for saving me, my God, from utter destruction, and for letting me know about You. Grant me a heart that only increases in thankfulness for Your mercy and your love. Amen.
17. Reflection from Saint Jane Frances de Chantal: "Suffering borne in the will quietly and patiently is a continual, very powerful prayer before God."
My Lord, I may suffer but I rarely do it quietly and patiently. Help me to bear my sufferings with patience and certainty that You are with me in them, perfecting me through them. May I offer them to You as a prayer of my flesh. Amen.
18. Reflection from Saint John Chrysostom: "So good a think is virtue that even its enemies applaud and admire it."
Dear Holy Spirit, You are the Source of all virtues. Overshadow me so that I might desire to be virtuous. Grant me the grace to correspond with Your guidance and to be docile to Your molding as You seek to grow the virtues in my soul. Amen.
19. Reflection from Saint Cyril of Jerusalem: "Seal the cross openly on your forehead, so that the demons, seeing the royal sign, will tremble and flee away."
My Lord, I do not think of the Sign of the Cross as a weapon against spiritual attack. Maybe I should. I make this Sign so quickly and automatically that I scarcely think of its meaning. Help me to slow down, to think, to realize what I am saying and doing, my Lord. The saints used the Sign of the Cross to repel demons. Help me to see its power. Amen.
20. Reflection from Lawrence of Brindisi: "God's word is so rich that it is a treasury of every good. From it flow faith, hope, love, and all the virtues, the many gifts of the Spirit."
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Yet the Word of God in Scripture is another way to meet You, the Word made flesh. Grant me the fortitude to read Your Word daily, My Lord, and speak to me through my reading, please. Amen.
21. Reflection from Saint Mary Mazzarello: "Make up your mind to become a saint."
Lord, I did not know that I could make up my mind to become a saint. Yet why not? It is not that I can become a saint by my own power, because it is only through Your grace that sanctity comes. But if I make up my mind to become a saint, then I must have made up my mind to always do YOUR WILL. You will that everyone become a saint. So Your Will would be sanctity for me. You know the way to bring me to holiness in my life. Help me to walk with You, wherever You go, to bring me to that holiness. Amen.
22. Reflection from Saint Boniface of Mainz: "The Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life's different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship, but to keep her on her course."
Lord, I am not a bishop or a priest whose job it is to teach people doctrine. But maybe my job is to teach, by my example and my words. In these troubled times, may I be a light in the world for You so that my actions do nothing to draw people away from You or the Church You founded. Amen.
23. Reflection from Saint Catherine Laboure: "Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him, "Lord, I am here. Tell me what you would have me do." If he gives me some task, I am content and I thank him. If he gives me nothing, I still thank him since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that. And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart. I tell him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen. If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen. God always speaks to you when you approach him plainly and simply."
What a beautiful meditation on prayer, my Lord! Help me as I meditate on this. Help me to make St. Catherine's attitude my own. Amen.
24. Reflection from Saint John Vianney: "If a parish priest doesn't want to be damned, and if there is any loose living in his parish, he must spurn the very thought of public opinion and the fear of being despised or hated by his parishioners. Even if he were certain of being lynched when he came down from the pulpit, that must not stop him from speaking out against it."
Whew! Wow, Lord, what a pointed quote! And it's pointing at me because I often fear public opinion or being despised or hated and so I keep quiet about what is morally right. Saint John Vianney, pray for me so that I may be given a small measure of your courage to stand up for what is right. Amen.
25. Reflection from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: "The little daily lesson: to keep soberly and quietly in His Presence, trying to turn every little action on His Will; and to praise and love through cloud and sunshine is all my care and study."
Dear Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for me to have the attitude that you had. Ask that God may grant me the grace to live soberly and quietly in His Presence and to turn every little action to His Will. Pray that the Holy Spirit may grant me the joy you had so that I might praise and love God always, no matter what is going on in my life. Measured against your humble holiness, I fall far short. Pray that I may see how to become a saint just where I am today. Thanks, Mother, for your prayers. Amen.
26. Reflection from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux: "The goodness of God knows how to use our disordered wishes and actions, often lovingly turning them to our advantage while always preserving the beauty of His order."
Lord God, how humbling it is to know that you can use even my weaknesses and sins to benefit me. Only a good God could do this, to make beauty out of ugliness. Help me to be grateful for this, my God, and help me not to overuse this ability of Yours. Help me to be a better person, my God. Amen.
27. Reflection from Saint Francis of Assisi: "We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen away, and to bring home those who have lost their way. Many who seem to us to be children of the Devil will still become Christ's disciples."
Lord God, what a humble response from a humble man. Help me to be a wound healer and to understand the hurting. Give me the love and understanding that St. Francis had. Amen.
28. Reflection from Saint Amma Syncletice: "Our body is like armor, our soul like the warrior. Take care of both, and you will be ready for what comes."
My Lord, help me to take care of both soul and body, for they belong to You and I must give You an account of both. Amen.
29. Reflection from Saint Francis of Assisi: "It is good to read the testimonies of Scripture; it is good to seek the Lord our God in them. As for me, however, I have already made so much of Scripture my own that I have more than enough to meditate on and turn over in my mind. I need no more. . . I know Christ, the poor crucified One."
Dear Lord, if only I had Scripture so much a part of who I am that I could say as Francis did that I have made Scripture my own. Teach me, my God, to have You as the center of my life, so that You may truly be my God and my All as You were to Francis. Amen.
30. Reflection from Saint John Climacus: "Men can heal the lustful. Angels can heal the malicious. Only God can heal the proud."
Lord, grant me the grace of humility. Were I humble, I would be open to receiving every grace. How I need Your help, My God. Humble me so that I may be Yours. Amen.
31. Reflection from Saint John Vianney: "I do not lend. I give. Hasn't the good God been the first to give to me?"
Lord, grant me the grace to give freely of my surplus and to not expect return. Let me give of myself and of my goods. Give me a generous heart, my God. Amen.
32. Reflection from Saint Ignatius of Antioch: "Shun schism as the beginning of evil."
Lord, help me to remain true to You through Your Church. Amen.
33. Reflection from Saint Francis de Sales: "Mount Calvary is the academy of love."
My Father, help me to reflect on the great love You showed in Your Passion. Help me to remain at the foot of the cross where all I need to know is written before me in Your flesh. Amen.
34. Reflection from Saint Ambrose of Milan: "My own talents are small. But I still have the duty of investing the divine word in the minds of the people. I fear the day when I shall be asked to show the interest accruing."
My Lord, we all have a job to do in Your Kingdom. Help us to do our jobs well. And prompt us to pray for those who bring the word of God to us. Lord, we need Your help and guidance. Amen.
34. Reflection from Saint Francis of Assisi: "Peace is better than a fortune."
My Lord and my God, grant us Your peace. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake, watch over as we sleep, so that, awake, we may watch with Christ and, asleep, rest in His peace. Amen.
35. Reflection from Saint John of Avila: "Those who imagine they can attain to holiness by any wisdom or strength of their own will find themselves after many labors, and struggles, and weary efforts, only the farther from possessing it, and this in proportion to their certainty that they of themselves have gained it."
You, Holy Spirit of God, are the only source of wisdom and holiness. Prevent me from trying to become holy or wise by my own efforts. The more I try, the less holy and the more stupid I become. All is grace. Help me to know. Amen.
35. Reflection from Saint Francis de Sales: "If a person shows a firm and persevering determination to serve God in the manner and place to which His divine majesty calls her, she gives the best proof we can have that she has a true vocation."
Ah, Lord, isn't this the key to following You? True, complete, and total surrender to Your Will. Your Will, not mine, be done. Help me to surrender all to You, my God. Amen.
36. Reflection from Saint John Chrysostom: "What is impossible to God? Not that which is difficult to His power, but that which is contrary to His nature."
My Lord, You cannot do what is contrary to Who You are. Therefore You cannot hate or manipulate, can You? You Who are Love must always act in love. And oh, my God, how grateful I am! Amen.
37. Reflection from Saint Jerome: "It is our part to seek, His to grant what we ask; ours to make a beginning, His to bring it to completion; ours to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot."
My Lord, You ask only that I be faithful, that I do what You wish, and that I try my best. The rest is in Your Hands, and all success belongs to You. I am but an instrument in Your divine plan and You may use me as long as You see fit. I am Yours, My God. Amen.
38. Reflection from Saint Ignatius of Antioch: "Where there is schism and anger, there is no place for God."
You, my God, are Truth. And Truth is one, not many. Help me to be charitable toward those who do not know the Truth Who is You, yet be confident in sharing Your Truth with them. Amen.
39. Reflection from Saint Augustine of Hippo: "Every sin is more harmful to the sinner than to the one sinned against."
My Lord, help me to avoid every sin, even what I would consider to be little sins. Every sin takes me farther from You and harms myself and others. Grant me the grace of goodness, my God. Amen.
40. Reflection from Saint John Chrysostom: We take care of our possessions for our children, but the children themselves we take no care of at all. What an absurdity this is! Form the soul of the son aright, and all the rest will be added afterward."
My Father in Heaven, You take care of me. You strive to teach me to live rightly, to love purely, and to act justly. Grant me the desire to spend time with my children, teaching them what is right and loving and just. May the Holy Family be an example to me in this endeavor. Amen.
41. Reflection from Saint Ephraem the Syrian on Christmas Eve: "In this night of reconciliation, let none be angry or gloomy. In this night that stills everything, let nothing threaten or disturb. This night belongs to the sweet One; let nothing bitter or harsh be in it. In this night that belongs to the meek One, let there be nothing high or haughty. In this day of pardoning, let us not spread sadness . . . In this day when God came to sinners, let not the righteous man be in his own mind uplifted over the sinner."
Lord, this is the day and this the night which preceded the birth of My Lord and My God. Grant me the wonder of this day, My Lord, and may I act and pray and love with that wonder in mind. Amen.