We must stand up for the rights of our neighbour who is suffering from injustice. We must defend them all the more vigorously because we see Jesus present in them. This undoubtedly is our duty because of our love for others for Christ’s sake. We have no right to be ‘sleeping watchmen’ or dumb watchdogs [cf. Is 56:10]. Whenever we see evil we must sound the alarm.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858–1916)
We should notice here the difference which exists between the contemplation of Christians and that of pagan [Greek] philosophers. The latter sought only their own perfection, and hence their contemplation affected their intellect only; they desired only to enrich their minds with knowledge. But the contemplation of the saints, which is that of Christians, seeks as its end the love of the God whom they contemplate. Hence it is not content to find fruit for the intelligence, but penetrates beyond to the will that it may there enkindle love.
The saints desired above all in their contemplation the increase of charity.
Saint Albert the Great
Since every individual and every type of civilization is in fact limited, men need to complete each other through their differences, so that all civilizations taken together and all human knowledge, may vastly extend and correspond with the indefinite and never satisfied aspirations of the human mind… Every man must… try, with the help of Christianity, to acquire the human and religious values which he cannot yet find in his [original] cultural patrimony.
René Voillaume LBJ (1905–2003)
When we are broken and the reasons for this state of affairs do not even appear to us, we must take our heart, in each of its poor, little pieces, to the God of Love. It is not necessary to say anything when we cannot say anything. We just can go. And when we begin to be able to speak a few words again, it is the Pater [Our Father]; this will illumine all our nights.
Charles Cardinal Journet (1891–1975)
Just like last year, I’m going to dedicate July to quotes. Usually I try to alternate between various types of material (book reviews, poems, quotes, longer writings of mine, videos, and so on). For one month I’ll cut this down to just quotes. It means I’m quiet, and other voices are speaking. This is a blog about contemplation. Silence is a part of that. It sure won’t hurt for me to be quiet for a while. ~_^
If we love God absolutely, why should we be picky and attached to anything else, except his manifest will for us? And how does God manifest his will? Is it not in our state of life, our duties, the exercise of virtue, and the various things that befall us according to his providence?
This is the background to a wonderful, exacting quote of Saint Francis de Sales, given in a sermon on the Assumption:
You will often see a man who has a great love for preaching. Forbid him to preach and you will see him troubled. Another who would like to visit and console the sick will not do so without anxiety and is even upset if he is prevented. Another has a great love for mental prayer, and although it seems that this regards only the spirit, nevertheless he fails not to be anxious and troubled if he is called away from it to do something else.
Let us think for a moment. Is this the way God wants us to be? No, of course not.God does not delight in such behaviour.
It’s not that God asks us to be “flexible” or to have no desires. That’s the wrong way to put it. For a while in life, I thought that was the meaning, and I made some bad decisions and obeyed some wrong spiritual direction; it caused me no small trouble.
We need to phrase the situation a bit differently. Insofar as we have any desire to do something because of ourselves and our attachments, rather than God’s will (our state in life, our duties, virtue, and providence), then we are doing it for ourselves. That’s the issue. And God wants better than that. He wants us to do it for him, not for ourselves and our delight and enjoyment. Of course, in dying to ourselves we will gain more. The cost is worth it. But God does ask for the cost. If we are attached even to our apostolate or our choice of good works and devotions, such that for no reason whatsoever we would be glad to give them up, then we are attached to ourselves and not to God.