12 Quotes from the Great Saint of Pietrelcina

Today in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we celebrate the memorial of the Great Saint of Pietrelcina, otherwise known as Padre Pio. If you are not familiar with this amazing 20th century Catholic Saint and Franciscan, I would encourage you to read up on him and learn as much as you can. He is one of my favorites and a favorite of many Catholics I know.

So since it is his day in the liturgical calendar, I wanted to provide you with some pretty amazing things he said this side of Heaven. I would encourage you to read them, memorize them, and/or pray with them. Many are just one sentence, but there is so much in just a few words. Here are 12 quotes from the Great Saint of Pietrelcina –

1. “Do not undertake any course of action, not even the most lowly and insignificant, without first offering it to God.”

2. “Every Christian who is a true imitator and follower of the Nazarene can and must call himself a second Christ and show forth most clearly in his life the entire image of Christ. Oh, if only all Christians were to live up to their vocation, this very land of exile would be changed into paradise.”

3. “Our body is like a jackass that must be beaten, but just a little, otherwise it will throw us to the ground, and refuse to carry us.”

4. “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is a key that opens God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart.”

5. “Do not ever lose heart when the tempest rages; place all your trust in the Heart of the most gentle Jesus. Pray and I might add, devoutly pester the divine Heart.”

6. “As long as there remains a drop of blood in our body, there will be a struggle between right and wrong.”

7. “In all that you do, always be humble, guarding jealously the purity of  your heart and the purity of your body; these are the two wings which will raise to God and make us almost divine.”

8. “Satan fears and trembles before humble souls.”

9. “It is difficult to become a saint. Difficult, but not impossible. The road to perfection is long, as long as one’s lifetime. Along the way, consolation becomes rest; but as soon as your strength is restored, you must diligently get up and resume the trip.”

10. “Be content to obey, which is never a small thing for the soul who has chosen God as his portion, and resign yourself to be for now a small hive bee to make honey.”

11. “At all times, try to conform to the will of God in everything that you do, and have no fear. This conformity is the surest way to Heaven.”

12. “Let us become saints so that having been together on earth, we may be together in Heaven.”

Prayer of Pope Saint John Paul II to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Teach us, we pray, humility of heart, so that we may be counted among the little ones of the Gospel to whom the Father promised to reveal the mysteries of His Kingdom. Help us to pray without ceasing, certain that God knows what we need even before we ask Him. Obtain for us the eyes of faith that will help us recognize in the poor and suffering, the very face of Jesus. Sustain us in the hour of trouble and trial and, if we fall, let us experience the joy of the sacrament of forgiveness. Grant us your tender devotion to Mary, mother of Jesus and our Mother. Accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage toward the blessed Homeland, where we too, hope to arrive to contemplate forever the Glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina…Pray for Us

Sources:

Kelly-Gangi, Carol. The Essential Wisdom of the Saints. Fall River Press, 2008.

“Prayers of Padre Pio.” Padre Pio Devotions, padrepiodevotions.org/prayers-of-padre-pio/. 

12 Quotes by Saint Augustine of Hippo

Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Augustine of Hippo, one of the great Doctors of the Church and one of the most popular canonized saints of the Catholic Church. He has been influencing Catholics to study their faith for over 1600 years, as well as bringing many sinners to Jesus Christ through his amazing conversion story.

Since he has influenced many with his writings over the centuries, I wanted to provide you with some quotes of his, which focus on a wide range of theological topics. Although there are countless writings and I could give you hundreds of quotes, here are 12 solid quotes from the Doctor of Grace himself –

1. “This is what you should think, if you wish to see God: ‘God is Love,’ What has love? What form has it? What height? What feet? What hands? No one can say. Yet is had feet, for they lead to the Church; it has hands for they care for the poor; it has eyes, for through them the needy one is known.”

2. “Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved you! You were with me, but I was not with you. You cried out and pierced my deafness. You enlightened my blindness. I tasted you and I am hungry for you. You touched me, and I am afire with longing for your embrace.”

3. “Understanding is the reward given by faith. Do not try to understand in order to believe, but believe in order to understand.”

4. “If you should ask me what are the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is still humility. Not that there are not other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts are fruitless.” (Wow…this one makes you think!)

5. “God has no need of money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it.”

6. “Do not grieve or complain that you were born in a time when you can no longer see God in the flesh. He did not in fact take that privilege from you. As He says: ‘Whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you did to me.’”

7. “Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.” (How true is this in the modern age!)

8. “Out of the forward will lust had sprung; and lust pampered had become custom; and custom indulged had become necessity. These were the links of the chain; this is the bondage in which I was bound.”

9. “Christ martyrs feared neither death nor pain. He triumphed in them who lived in them; and they, who lived not for themselves but for him, found in death itself the way to life.”

10. “If they, why not I? – If these men and women could become saints, why cannot I with the help of Him who is all-powerful?”

11. “If a man wishes to take your coat, give him also whatever other articles of clothes you may have.”

12. “Imagine a man in whom the tumult of the flesh goes silent, in whom the images of earth, of water, of air, and of the skies cease to resound. His soul turns quiet and, self-reflecting no longer, it transcends itself. Dreams and visions end. So too does all speech and every gesture, everything in fact which comes to be only to pass away. All these things cry out: ‘We did not make ourselves. It is the Eternal One who made us.’”

St. Augustine of Hippo…Pray for Us 

12 Quotes from Edith Stein – Jewish convert, Carmelite Sister, Martyr and Catholic Saint.

Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Edith Stein, a Jewish woman who became a religious sister, a martyr, and Canonized Saint of the Catholic Church. If you were not familiar with the incredible conversion story and death of St. Edith Stein before reading this post today, I would encourage you to read about it here.

In her quest for truth while studying philosophy, she found the Truth, Jesus Christ, as well as the truth of philosophy in the Catholic Church. Born to Jewish parents, she converted and was baptized on January 1, 1922. Because of her love for St. Teresa of Avila, Edith Stein joined the Carmelite Order and became Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. It is quite fitting and providential that she took that name, since she would endure her own cross. She was martyred in a Nazi Concentration Camp of Auschwitz on August 9, 1942. To read more about her life, please see the aforementioned link above.

On May 1, 1987, Pope St. John Paul II beatified her and on October 11, 1998, he officially recognized her as a Saint of the Catholic Church. In his homily, which you can read here in its entirety, the Polish Pope said,

“The new saint teaches us that love for Christ undergoes suffering. Whoever truly loves does not stop at the prospect of suffering: he accepts communion in suffering with the one he loves. Aware of what her Jewish origins implied, Edith Stein spoke eloquently about them: ‘Beneath the Cross I understood the destiny of God’s People…. Indeed, today I know far better what it means to be the Lord’s bride under the sign of the Cross. But since it is a mystery, it can never be understood by reason alone.’”

Since she had such a brilliant mind, her words are often quoted, however, I am guessing that some people aren’t familiar with these words. To remedy that, I now give you 12 quotes from Saint Edith Stein for you to contemplate and pray with during this day and the rest of the week, and maybe the rest of your life –

1. “We cannot separate love for God from love for man. We acknowledge God easily, but our brother? Those with whom we do not identify his background, education, race, complexion. We could not have imagined that love for God could be so hard.”

2. “God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him. Then you will be able to rest in Him — really rest — and start the next day as a new life.”

3. “Since Mary is the prototype of pure womanhood, the imitation of Mary must be the goal of girls’ education.”

4. “All I need is a quiet corner where I can talk to God each day as if there were nothing else to do. I try to make myself a tool for God. Not for myself, but only for him.”

5. “Each woman who lives in the light of eternity can fulfill her vocation, no matter if it is in marriage, in a religious order, or in a worldly profession.”

6. “O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace.”

7. “The walls of our monasteries enclose a narrow space. To erect the structure of holiness in it, one must dig deep and build high, must descend into the depths of the dark night of one’s own nothingness in order to be raised up high into the sunlight of divine love and compassion.” (Me, after reading this – “Wow!”)

8. “In the last few months one has often heard the complaint that the many prayers for peace are still without effect. What right have we to be heard? Our desire for peace is undoubtedly genuine and sincere. But does it come from a completely purified heart?”

9. “Those who join the Carmelite Order are not lost to their near and dear ones, but have been won for them, because it is our vocation to intercede to God for everyone.”

10. “Learn from St. Thérèse to depend on God alone and serve Him with a wholly pure and detached heart. Then, like her, you will be able to say ‘I do not regret that I have given myself up to Love’.”

11. “Every true prayer is a prayer of the Church; by means of that prayer the Church prays, since it is the Holy Spirit living in the Church, Who in every single soul ‘prays in us with unspeakable groanings’.”

12. “The limitless loving devotion to God, and the gift God makes of Himself to you, are the highest elevation of which the heart is capable; it is the highest degree of prayer. The souls that have reached this point are truly the heart of the Church.”

St. Edith Stein…Pray for Us..

“Mondays with Mary” – Asking for the Intercession of Saint Joseph

Last week I said I would return to the series, Mary in the Old Testament, but again I am going to suspend that series for one more week to focus on the Intercession of Saint Joseph by providing you some prayers and litanies that ask for his intercession. I can write about Saint Joseph as part of my “Mondays with Mary” series since he is so closely connected with Mary, most especially through their marital vows. Although Saint Joseph never utters a single word in the Sacred Scriptures, his presence is never forgotten and his heroic fortitude is never shaken. He listens to the Lord and in turn is obedient to Him.

Because he was the Guardian of the Redeemer and the protector of the Redeemer’s mother, Saint Joseph stands as the Patron of the Universal Church – he protects the Church as he protected Jesus and Mary. However, with Mary, he shares in her divine motherhood by protecting and interceding for that which is most precious to all of humanity. In the Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, Pope St. John Paul II says,

“Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary’s “pilgrimage of faith.” It is a path along which – especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost – Mary will precede in a perfect way…The path that was Joseph’s – his pilgrimage of faith – ended first, that is to say, before Mary stood at the foot of the cross on Golgotha, and before the time after Christ returned to the Father… Nevertheless, Joseph’s way of faith moved in the same direction: it was totally determined by the same mystery, of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian.”

So how does one ask for intercession to St. Joseph? Although there are a variety of prayers, the three most common that I personally turn to in prayer are below. The first is pretty short and focuses on any difficult affairs we might be facing. The second is a litany and I provide you with the link to the EWTN page. The third focuses exactly on my points today – his Guardianship in union with Mary. It is my hope for you that if you don’t know St. Joseph well, these prayers will begin your time with him.

O Glorious St. Joseph, whose power can render possible even things which are impossible, come to my aid in my present trouble and distress. Take under thy protection the important and difficult affairs which I entrust to thee, that they may end happily. (Pause – Petition)

My beloved Father, all my confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that I invoked thee in vain; and since thou art able to obtain everything before Jesus and Mary, show me that thy goodness equals thy power. Amen.

Litany of St. Joseph

In our tribulation we fly to thee, O blessed Joseph; and, after imploring the help of thy most holy Spouse, we ask also with confidence for thy patronage.

By the affection which united thee to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and the paternal love with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee to look kindly upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ acquired by His Precious Blood, and by thy powerful aid to help us in our needs.

Protect, most careful Guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen people of Jesus Christ. Keep us, most loving father, from all pestilence of error and corruption.

Be merciful also to us, most powerful protector, from thy place in heaven, in this warfare with the powers of darkness; and, as thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from danger of death, so now defend the Holy Church of God from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity.

Guard each one of us by thy perpetual patronage, so that, sustained by thine example and help, we have live holiness, die a holy death, and obtain the everlasting happiness of heaven. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Patron and Guardian of the Holy Catholic Church…Pray for Us.

To read more about St. Joseph, see Saint Joseph – The Foster-Father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church

Saint Joseph – The Foster-Father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church

Although today is the Third Sunday of Lent, which trumps the Solemnity of Saint Joseph; we will celebrate the Solemnity tomorrow on March 20, I still wanted to provide you with the blog posts I have written on the past that have to do with Saint Joseph. He is patron saint to me since my middle name is Joseph, and without fail my Aunt Agnes always calls me on this day to wish me a Happy Name Day.

Although St. Jospeh never says a word in the Sacred Scriptures, he is the example of heroic fortitude, steadfastness, and protection. It was his duty to care for Jesus and Mary – a duty he fulfilled wholeheartedly and without complaint. He is the type of man that all Christian men must strive to be like – single or married. Men – he is our greatest example behind Our Lord and Savior.

Here are eight blog posts I have written in the past that show the importance and the heroic fortitude of the foster-father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church –

1. Saint Joseph – Patron of the Universal Church

2. The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

3. “Mondays with Mary” – The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph

4. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘The Marriage that Linked Joseph to Mary’ 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Fatherhood of St. Joseph 

6. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘Mary, Joseph’s Virginal Spouse’ 

7. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Joseph, and the Spousal Gift of Self

8. The Influence Saint Joseph has on Catholic Men in the 21st Century 

Saint Joseph…Pray for Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of Saint Albert the Great

Since tomorrow, November 15, is the memorial of Saint Albert the Great in the Latin Calendar of the Catholic Church, I found it fitting to share with you the Marian Prayer of St. Albert the Great. St. Albert was a Dominican scholar, who along with his student, St. Thomas Aquinas, he applied Aristotelian teachings to Catholicism. You could say that St. Albert baptized Aristotle a Catholic and St. Thomas confirmed him a Catholic. St. Albert is one of the greatest minds of the Catholic Church, and only one of a few who were given the title “The Great.” To learn more about St. Albert, I would encourage you to check out the above link.

Like so many of the saints before and after him, St. Albert the Great had a abundant love, devotion, and prayer life that was associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. As you have seen in previous posts on this blog already, many of the great saints had written their own prayers specifically directed towards the Blessed Mother. They knew how important her role was in Salvation History, which continues through the Catholic Church to this day.

Mother of Grace statue, Altotting, Germany

Mother of Grace statue, Altotting, Germany

As I often do in many of my posts, I have given links to other blog posts that will lead you to understand theological ideas in this prayer by St. Albert the Great. It’s my hope that you will not only read this post, but also read the links as well in order to give yourself a better understanding of Marian theology as a whole. This prayer is titled, Mother of Grace.

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” For note, Mary, for you have found grace, not taken it as Lucifer tried to so.You have found grace, not lost it as Adam did. You have found favor with God because you desired and sought it. You have found uncreated Grace, that is, God himself became your Son, and with the Grace you have found and obtained every uncreated good. 

As always, feel free to share with this blog with your family and friends in the hopes that they may come to have a more complete understanding of Our Lord Jesus Christ through His Virgin Mother.

Our Lady of Grace…Pray for Us.

St. Albert the Great…Pray for Us.

Mother Angelica’s Insights on the Saints

Today we celebrate one of the great days in the Catholic Church – the Solemnity of All Saints. It is also the first All Saints’ Day when Mother Angelica could be a resident of the Heavenly Kingdom. I say could be since she might be there or still making her way there, but nevertheless, for today’s blog post and the humor that lies within some of these quotes from her, we will say that she is there. And, if she isn’t there by now, God help the rest of us. Ha!

If you don’t know, Mother Angelica was pretty hard on the Saints, particularly the Apostles of Jesus. And although she had a great love for the Saints and wanted everyone she encountered to achieve sanctity as they did, she didn’t sugarcoat their lives, since many of their lives were just like ours – they suffered, they sinned, and they were just miserable at times. She would often speak her mind on the saints, so often she knew that when she did get to Heaven they might have a special place for her. She said,

“I love to pick the saints apart, but I fear there’ll have to be a solitary confinement in heaven, just for me. I’ve been telling the truth about the saints for so many years, nobody will want to talk to me when I get up there.”

I don’t know about you, but that quote made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. Come to think of it, it should have been included in my first blog post about her. With that being said, I am so glad that she told us the truth, the weaknesses, and the shortcomings of the saints for so many years, since it gives me hope that I have a chance “to get up there” someday too.

So for today’s blog post on the Solemnity of All Saints, here are 10 quotes from Mother Angelica on the Saints – some are funny, some will give us hope, and some will allow us to see that the saintly life isn’t all that far from where we are now.

I.  “A saint is one who empties himself and takes on the image of Jesus, so that person and Jesus are look-alikes. We should not aim to be a great saint for the purpose of being a great saint. A saint is the last to admit or know that he is a saint [boldness mine]. A saint’s goal is to get as close to God as he can, not for his sake, for His sake. The aim is to give honor and glory to God, and to totally forget the self.”

II. “Being a saint is being who you were meant to be: a frail human being keeping the Commandments, especially the last one. It’s loving when you are not loved in return. It’s being patient when you want to hit somebody on the head. It’s loving you family as they are, not as you want them to be. It’s not letting the disappointments in your life crush you.”

III. “Canonization is nothing more than the Church saying publicly that they know for sure that this person is in heaven. I mean, there are millions of people in heaven who are not canonized. That why we have All Saints’ Day…”

Communion of Saints Icon

Speaking on not finding saints like her since she like to eat, sleep, sit in bed, sit in comfortable chairs, Mother said,

IV. “But I came to the conclusion that the saints weren’t the problem, it was their biographers. I’ve often said that I wish every biographer of every saint, who did not depict the truth, would go to purgatory for forty years, because they have made the saints unreal. You’d swear these people were holy when they were conceived…the saints would be the first to tell you: they struggled like you do. They ate, and drank and slept, and were frustrated, and victims of injustice. They were like you!…they had their faults and eccentricities.”

V. “Our saints had faults. There’s only one Immaculate Conception and there ain’t any others.”

VI. “The saints suffered. Therese had tuberculosis. Teresa of Avila had cancer of the stomach. Padre Pio had perpetual diarrhea and asthma. Bernadette had asthma too. Mother Cabrini had high fever to malaria she contracted during her travels. Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement” [Boldness mine].

I particularly loved this quote by Mother because I can be grouchy and I’m Italian too –

VII. “Did you ever see a statue of grouchy state? I saw one once. It was the most gorgeous statue I ever saw. It was Padre Pio, who was a grouch, you know…he was a typical Italian grouch – which I can relate to!…See that’s my kind of saint. I want a saint who struggles like I do. There’s no such thing as perfection. There is only the struggle for holiness.”

VIII. [St. Peter] “was so holy that his shadow healed (Acts 5:15). Can you imagine a shadow healing? He was a big, blustery fisherman – just like you, without the fish. He was a man who always spoke before he thought. He was convinced he could do everything better than everybody else, then he forgot to do it. Peter should give us great hope.”

IX. “If you are going to be holy, for God’s sake, aim for the top. I wouldn’t aim to get in the gate. Your faults and weaknesses and sins have absolutely nothing to do with achieving holiness. Many a great sinner became holy.”

X. “I think these are times for great holiness and great saints, greater than any time in the past because there is more evil, more temptation. The fighter is greater…God is not mocked and this world is not going to pot. You can save it. You can change it by being faithful to the duties of your state of life with holiness.”

I pray that some, and even all, of these quotes have given you some hope in your striving for holiness and being saints – I know that have done so for me! One of the reasons why I like Mother Angelica is because of the plain way she speaks – straightforward, no nonsense, and she loves Jesus.

All Holy Saints of God…Pray for Us.

Source:

Angelica, M., and Raymond Arroyo. Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Print.