Weekend of September 1st, 2nd, 2018
During this time of turmoil in the Church we should heed the advice of the saints.
St Paul the Apostle:
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7
Saint Catherine of Siena:
Saint Catherine influenced Popes and Kings. She persuaded Pope Gregory XI to leave France and return to Rome. She advises confidence: “All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, “I am the way.” She also tells us to speak out: “We’ve had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues – I see the world is rotten because of silence.”
Saint John Vianney:
There’s a saying that “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Prayer is indeed the key to overcoming or coping with anxiety, for it reassures us of God’s presence and reminds us of our need to rely on His strength, not on our own. As St. John Vianney said, “God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry.”
Saint Teresa of Avila:
Saint Teresa said that every time evil spirits fail to terrify us or dissuade us from doing good, “they lose strength, and the soul masters them more easily. If the Lord is powerful and they are His slaves, what harm can they do to those who are servants of so great a King and Lord?”
Saint Thomas More
He wrote to his daughter from prison: “I will not mistrust Him, Meg, although I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how St. Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to Him for help. And then I trust He shall place His holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.”
St. Francis de Sales:
“Except for sin, anxiety is the greatest evil that can befall the soul.” . . . . When our heart is troubled and disturbed within itself, it loses the strength necessary to maintain the virtues that it had acquired. At the same time, it loses the means to resist the temptations of the enemy, who then uses his utmost efforts to fish, as they say, in troubled waters.”
“A really patient servant of God is as ready to bear inglorious troubles as those which are honourable. A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander and false accusation from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience.
I have a greater respect for the gentleness with which the great Saint Charles Borromeo long endured the public reproaches which a celebrated preacher of a reformed Order used to pour out upon him, than for all the other attacks he bore with. For, just as the sting of a bee hurts far more than that of a fly, so the injuries or contradictions we endure from good people are much harder to bear than any others. But it is a thing which very often happens, and sometimes two worthy men, who are both highly well-intentioned after their own fashion, annoy and even persecute one another grievously.
If any trouble comes upon you, use the remedies with which God supplies you. Not to do this is to tempt Him; but having done so, wait whatever result He wills with perfect resignation. If He pleases to let the evil be remedied, thank Him humbly; but if it be His will that the evil grow greater than the remedies, patiently bless His Holy Name.
Follow Saint Gregory’s advice: When you are justly blamed for some fault you have committed, humble yourself deeply, and confess that you deserve the blame.
If the accusation be false, defend yourself quietly, denying the fact; this is but due respect for truth and your neighbour’s edification. But if after you have made your true and legitimate defence you are still accused, do not be troubled, and do not try to press your defence–you have had due respect for truth, have the same now for humility. By acting thus you will not infringe either a due care for your good name, or the affection you are bound to entertain for peace, humility and gentleness of heart.
Gaze often inwardly upon Jesus Christ crucified, naked, blasphemed, falsely accused, forsaken, overwhelmed with every possible grief and sorrow, and remember that none of your sufferings can ever be compared to His, either in kind or degree, and that you can never suffer anything for Him worthy to be weighed against what He has borne for you.
Consider the pains which martyrs have endured, and think how even now many people are bearing afflictions beyond all measure greater than yours, and say, “Of a truth my trouble is comfort, my torments are but roses as compared to those whose life is a continual death, without solace, or aid or consolation, borne down with a weight of grief tenfold greater than mine.”
Saint Teresa of Avila:
“Let nothing disturb you, nothing cause you fear. All things pass; God is unchanging. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God needs nothing else; God alone suffices.”
Saint Paul of the Cross:
“Stop listening to your fears. God is your guide and your Father, Teacher, and Spouse. Abandon yourself into the divine bosom of His most holy good pleasure. Keep up your spiritual exercises and be faithful in prayer.”
“When you notice that your heart is moving away even the tiniest bit from that inner peace that comes from the living faith-experience of the divine presence in the soul, stop and examine what the cause of this anxiety might be. Maybe it is some worry concerning your house or children, or some situation you cannot change at present. Bury it in God’s loving will.”