Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love. – Ephesians 4:15-16
Many people perceive Christianity as something institutional – rather than as an encounter with Christ – which explains why they don’t see it as a source of joy. – Pope Benedict XVI
However at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world, the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly. – The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1851
His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. – from the Second Letter of St. Peter
Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You…. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’…. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (as quoted in Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms by Holly Ordway, pg. 126)
For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh, and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago, and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, that, when he comes again in glory and majesty and all is at last made manifest, we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise in which now we dare to hope. – from Preface I of Advent (The Roman Missal, 2011)
To have divine love as its inner form, a woman’s life must be a Eucharistic life. – St. Edith Stein
It is essential to be conformed ever more closely to Christ. In this way one becomes really free; in this way, the Law’s deepest core is expressed within us: love for God and neighbor. Let us pray the Lord that he will teach us to share his sentiments, to learn from him true freedom and the evangelical love that embraces every human being. – Pope Benedict XVI, St. Paul
For too many of us, Christianity is not a filial relationship with the living God, but a habit and an inheritance. We’ve become tepid in our beliefs and naive about the world. We’ve lost our evangelical zeal. And we’ve failed in passing on our faith to the next generation….
The central issue is whether we ourselves really do believe. Catechesis is not a profession. It’s a dimension of discipleship…
If we’re embarrassed about Church teachings, or if we disagree with them, or if we’ve decided that they’re just too hard to live by, or too hard to explain, then we’ve already defeated ourselves…
If we really are Catholic, or at least if we want to be, then we need to act like it with obedience and zeal and a fire for Jesus Christ in our hearts. God gave us the faith in order to share it. This takes courage. It takes a deliberate dismantling of our own vanity. When we do that, the Church is strong. When we don’t, she grows weak. It’s that simple. – Archbishop Chaput
The word revealed in history is definitive, but it is inexhaustible, and it unceasingly discloses new depths. In this sense, the Holy Spirit, as the interpreter of Christ, speaks with his word to every age and shows it that this word always has something new to say. – Pope Benedict XVI, Salt of the Earth
Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. – Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est
The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. – Liturgy of the Hours
Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament… There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all yoru loves upon earth, and more than that: death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, that every man’s heart desires. – J.R.R. Tolkien
With the petition “thy Kingdom come” (not “our kingdom”), the Lord wants to show us how to pray and order our action in just this way: The first and essential thing is a listening heart, so that God, not we, may reign. The Kingdom of God comes by way of a listening heart. That is its path. And that is what we must pray for again and again.
The encounter with Christ makes this petition even deeper and more concrete. We have seen that Jesus is the Kingdom of God in person. The Kingdom of God is present wherever he is present. By the same token, the request for a listening heart becomes a request for communion with Jesus Christ, the petition that we increasingly become “one” with him (Gal 3:28). What is requested in this petition is the true following of Christ, which becomes communion with him and makes us one body with him. Reinhold Schneider has expressed this powerfully: “The life of this Kingdom is Christ’s continuing life in those who are his own. In the heart that is no longer nourished by the vital power of Christ, the Kingdom ends; in the heart that is touched and transformed by it, the Kingdom begins… The roots of the indestructible tree seek to penetrate into each heart. The Kingdom is one. It exists solely through the Lord who is its life, its strength, and its center” (Das Vaternunser, pp. 31f). To pray for the Kingdom of God is to say to Jesus: Let us be yours, Lord! Pervade us, live in us; gather scattered humanity in your body, so that in you everything may be subordinated to God and you can then hand over the universe to the Father, in order that “God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:28) – Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth
It will suffice to tell you in a word: only your personal and profound union with Christ will assure the fruitfulness of your apostolate, whatever it may be. – Pope Paul VI, October 15, 1967
The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise.
Frequency is of the highest effect.
Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! Only too easy to find opportunity for): make your Communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open-necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to Communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people.
It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come. – J.R.R. Tolkien
Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. [Mary McCarthy] said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the ‘most portable’ person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, ‘Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.’ That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable. – Flannery O’Connor (from a letter)
The active practice of fidelity consists in accomplishing the duties which devolve upon us whether imposed by the general laws of God and of the Church, or by the particular state that we may have embraced. Its passive exercise consists in the loving acceptance of all that God sends us at each moment. – Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence