Teaching [Wisdom] of the Saints
by a Parish Priest
The Catholic Church, the Teacher of Mankind
1. FAITH; HOPE; CHARITY
We should submit ourselves to the Church so completely, that if we clearly perceived a thing to be white and she were to declare it to be black, we should, with her, declare it black. -----St. Ignatius.
O Holy Mother! O Church of Rome! We poor ignorant creatures, we knew thee not. We knew not thy zeal, nor thy goodness, nor thy labors for our salvation. Thou shewest us the way to Heaven, and the way alone taught by thee is the true way. He who follows it cannot go astray nor stumble against a stone. He, on the contrary, who seeks another way, shall only find eternal perdition. -----B. Giles of Assisi.
Faith is a great virtue; but without charity it can be of no use to us. Keep and preserve, with the utmost care, the precious gift of true faith, pure faith, faith without reproach. Let this burning, fervent, and invincible faith, which obtained an immortal crown for the Holy Confessors, be the immortal ornament of your soul. -----St. Bernard.
Only believe, and you have already found what you seek. In truth, what does Faith not find? It reaches the unapproachable, it discovers the unknown, it comprehends the unsearchable, it has the secret of arriving at the ends of things, and it has but to dilate its bosom to hold even eternity in its embrace. -----St. Bernard.
The soul is elevated to God by means of a lively faith, that secret and private staircase, of which all the steps are hidden under a mystery impenetrable to the senses or the understanding. Therefore the soul renounces their feeble help to attach itself only to faith, which penetrates the deep things of God: hence its disguise. It transforms the principle of its knowledge, hence the safety of its passage; so that it has nothing to fear from temporal things, from reason, or from the devil. -----St. John of the Cross.
Faith is a lamp which gives us spiritual light and warmth. -----St. Thomas
Faith resembles a lamp. As a lamp lights the whole house, so the light of Faith illuminates the whole soul. -----St. Chrysostom.
If we do not believe God, whom shall we believe? God ought to be believed on His Word. -----St. Ambrose.
Reason is the eye of the soul; but like the bodily eye, it needs light in order to see; and how can it see divine things clearly, if deprived of the light of divine revelation? -----St. Augustine.
Faith is an altar; nothing is pleasing to God unless it be offered to Him in a spirit of Faith. -----St. Thomas.
A tree cannot grow without roots; a building cannot be raised without a foundation; every river must flow from a source. So the Christian life and virtues can neither exist nor flourish, nor become a source of life, unless they proceed from Faith. -----St. Augustine.
Your heart is like to a ship. To have Jesus on board is to have Faith in your heart. If your faith slumbers, Jesus slumbers also, and in this case you are in danger of shipwreck. -----St. Augustine.
As a vessel that has no anchor is tossed about by the wind, so our mind, when not anchored to Faith, is continually agitated by the wind of human opinions and doctrines. -----St. Gregory the Great.
A virtuous life is to the soul what food is to the body. For as our body cannot live without food, so Faith cannot subsist without good works. -----St. Chrysostom.
Hold in your hand the lantern of Faith; and let the flame of Charity shine from it, to shew you what you must do, and what you must avoid. -----St. Augustine.
The Church that cannot err, and the Faith that cannot fail, is the Roman Church, and the faith of the Roman Church, whether believed in Rome or in other parts of the world. -----St. Antoninus.
As in the sea there are islands which are fruitful and furnish good harbors for the shelter of mariners, who fly to them and once having reached them are secured from the tossing of the tempest; so God has given to the world a holy Church, in whose safe harbor the lovers of truth seek refuge, as well as all those who desire to be saved, and to escape the dreadful wrath of God. And as there are other islands which want water, and are covered with barren rocks, uninhabitable by man and destructive to sailors, on which their ships are dashed to pieces; so likewise are there erroneous doctrines and heresies which destroy those who are seduced and drawn aside by them. -----St. Theophilus to the learned Antolychus.
Wait upon the Lord; be faithful to His commandments; He will elevate your hope, and put you in possession of His Kingdom. Wait upon Him patiently; wait upon Him by avoiding all sin. He will come, doubt it not; and in the approaching day of His visitation, which will be that of your death and His judgment, He will Himself crown your holy hope. Place all your hope in the Heart of Jesus; it is a safe asylum; for he who trusts in God is sheltered and protected by His mercy. To this firm hope, join the practice of virtue, and even in this life you will begin to taste the ineffable joys of Paradise. -----St. Bernard.
Not only think of the road through which thou art travelling, but take care never to lose sight of that blessed country in which thou art shortly to arrive. Thou meetest here with passing sufferings, but wilt soon enjoy everlasting rest. When thou lookest up to the recompense everything thou dost or sufferest will appear light, and no more than a shadow; it bears no proportion with what thou art to receive for it. Thou wilt wonder that so much is given for such trifling pains. -----St. Augustine.
We must have confidence in God, Who is what He always has been, and we must not be disheartened because things turn out contrary to us. -----St. Philip.
When anyone places his whole trust in God, hoping in and serving Him faithfully at the same time, God watches over him, to the extent of his confidence, in every danger. Infinite is the love which God bears to souls who repose in His protection. Diffidence in ourselves and confidence in God are like the scales of a balance; the elevation of the one is necessarily connected with the depression of the other. The more we have of diffidence in ourselves, the greater is our confidence in God; the less we possess of confidence in God, the more presumptuous shall we be of our own powers; but if we have no sort of confidence in our own strength, we may be assured that our hopes center completely in God. -----St. Francis de Sales.
A sinner cannot outrage the Deity more than by despairing of Divine mercy on account of the number and enormity of his crimes; for God's clemency is far greater than the iniquity and guilt of an entire world . . . Of God's mercy never despair. -----Ven. Blosius.
A servant of God should fear nothing, not even Satan, who is soon discomfited when made little account of. If the Lord be mighty, the demons are but His bond-slaves; what evil therefore can they do to the servants of so great a King? -----St. Teresa.
Confidence in God ought to be greater in proportion to the pressing nature of the necessity in which we are placed. When Jesus cried in the anguish of His Passion, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" He was at that time exhibiting a pattern of the highest perfection in the exact fulfillment of the obedience required from Him by His Eternal Father, with Whom He was wholly united. His intelligent soul enjoyed the most perfect bliss; still, as a man, capable of suffering and mortal, He complains of His abandonment, or rather He gives utterance to His perfect confidence in God, in order to teach us, His children, that the more afflicted we are the more we ought to rely on aid from above. -----St. Catherine of Bologna.
Whenever you find yourself inclined to diffidence, lift up your heart lovingly to God, and be assured that your defects are, in the sight of His infinite goodness, but as a few threads of tow cast into a sea of fire. Figure to yourself a burning surface, as vast as the hemisphere we inhabit; if a piece of tow were thrown into it, would it not be so absorbed in the fire as instantly to disappear? "Our God is a consuming fire," and our imperfections, compared with His goodness, are what a piece of tow is to the furnace. When, therefore, we have fallen, let us humble ourselves sorrowfully in His presence, and then, with an act of unbounded confidence, let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every. failing will be cancelled, and anxiety will be turned into love. -----St. Paul of the Cross.
God guards with special protection a confiding client, and such an one may be sure no evil will betide him. -----St. Vincent of Paul.
God is so good and so merciful, that to obtain Heaven it is sufficient to ask it of Him from our hearts. -----St. Benedict Joseph Labre.
God is certainly more desirous of our best welfare than we are ourselves; and He knows the ways and means of promoting it better than we, for they are in His hands as Ruler of the Universe; wherefore, in all the accidents which befall us, most certainly that happens which is the best. -----St. Augustine.
As a mother delights in taking her child on her knees, in caressing and feeding him, so does our God delight in treating with love and tenderness those souls who give themselves entirely to Him, and place all their hopes in His goodness and bounty. -----St. Liguori.
When we have once placed ourselves entirely in the hands of God, we need apprehend no evil; if adversity comes, He knows how to turn it to our advantage, by means which will in time be manifested to us. -----St. Vincent of Paul.
When we find ourselves in some danger, we must not lose courage, but confide much in the Lord; for where danger is great, great also is the assistance of Him Who is called our Helper in tribulation. -----St. Ambrose.
He who serves God with a pure heart, laying aside all human interests and seeking only the Divine honor, may hope to succeed in his affairs even when to others they seem desperate, since the operations of God are beyond the ken of mortal vision, and depend on a loftier than human policy. -----St. Charles Borromeo.
The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone. -----St. Liguori.
That fear is useful which is buoyed up by hope and is not weighed down by despair. ----- St. Isid. Hisp.
True and certain is that Hope which is accompanied by good works. But if it goes alone, it ought to be called presumption. ----- St. Laurence Justinian.
Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of our hope; He is our Mediator and Advocate; the victim and sacrifice for our sins. He is goodness and patience itself; His mercy is moved by the tears of sinners, and He never refuses pardon and grace to those who ask it with a truly contrite and humbled heart. -----St. Charles Borromeo.
God wishes us not to rest upon anything but His infinite goodness; do not let us expect anything, hope anything, or desire anything but from Him, and let us put our trust and confidence in Him alone. -----St. Charles Borromeo.
He who does not acquire the love of God will scarcely persevere in the grace of God, for it is very difficult to renounce sin, merely through fear of chastisement. -----St. Liguori.
The heart into which Divine Love enters no longer makes any account of all that the world esteems. St. Francis de Sales says that when the house is on fire, all the goods are thrown out of the window; by which he means, that when the heart is inflamed with Divine Love, man, without sermons, or exhortations from his Spiritual director, of himself seeks to divest himself of all worldly goods, honors, riches, and other earthly things, that he may have nothing but God. -----St. Liguori.
In the royal galley of Divine Love, there is no galley slave; all the rowers are volunteers. -----St. Francis de Sales.
The way which God takes with the souls that love Him, by allowing them to be tempted, and to fall into tribulations, is a true espousal between Himself and them. -----St. Philip Neri.
We must give ourselves to God altogether; God makes all His Own the soul that is wholly given to Him. -----St. Philip Neri.
Charity is a love of friendship, a friendship of choice, a choice of preference, but an incomparable, a sovereign, and supernatural preference which is like a sun in the whole soul, to embellish it with its rays; in all our spiritual faculties to perfect them; in all our powers to moderate them; but in the will, as its seat, to reside there, and to make it cherish and love its God above all things. -----St. Francis de Sales.
Try not to think of yourself when you love; love is ecstatic, it does not leave to themselves those whom it possesses, but delivers them to the One they love. -----St. Dionysius.
Under the influence of fear, we bear the Cross of Christ with patience; under the more inspiring influence of hope, we carry the Cross with a firm and valiant heart; but under the consuming power of love, we embrace the Cross with ardor. -----St. Bernard.
As beholding corporal beauty is the principal cause of sensitive love, so the contemplation of the Divine Goodness is the cause of spiritual love. -----St. Thomas.
The price of Divine Love is not to be appreciated; for it suffices to obtain the Kingdom of Heaven, and the love of Him Who has loved us so much merits the highest degree of our love. -----St. Francis of Assisi.
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