Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Sign for the Humble

"The brightness of the sun is no sign, but an eclipse is. 
He said that on the last day, His coming would be heralded 
by 'signs in the sun,' perhaps an extinction of light. 
At Bethlehem the Divine Son went into an eclipse, 
so that only the humble of spirit might recognize Him."

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Painting: Howard Russell Butler, in US public domain due to age PD-US

Saturday, December 26, 2015

In Wordless Infancy

'He was created of a mother whom He created. 
He was carried by hands that he formed. 
He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. 
He, the Word, without Whom all human eloquence is mute.'

St. Augustine

Painting: Marianne Stokes

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In This Night That Stills Everything

'In this night of reconciliation, let none be angry or gloomy.  
In this night that stills everything, let nothing threaten or disturb.  
This night belongs to the sweet One; let nothing bitter or harsh be in it...
In this day of gladness, let us not spread sadness.'

St. Ephraem the Syrian


Painting: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

To Illumine the Earth

'Today the darkness begins to grow shorter and the 
light to lengthen, as the hours of night become fewer... 
Realize that the true Light is now here and, 
through the rays of the gospel, is illumining the whole earth.'

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Monday, December 21, 2015

To Spiritual Love

'I think the chief reason why the unseen God willed
to appear in the flesh and mix with men
was that He might draw to Himself the love of those
who were not able to love except in a carnal manner.
And so: He could lead them on to spiritual love.'

St. Bernard of Clairvaux 

Painting: Cortona,Virgin and Child with Saints

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Gift of Bread

'The little town of Bethlehem is taken from two Hebrew words 
which mean 'House of Bread.'
He Who called Himself 
'the living Bread descended from Heaven' 
was born in the 'House of Bread' 
and was laid in the place of food, the manger.'

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Painting: Duccio di Buoninsegna

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our Seasonal Expectations

'Christmas is fast approaching. And now that Christ has 
aroused our seasonal expectations, He will soon fulfill them all!'

St. Augustine

Painting: Henry Mosler, Christmas Morning, 1916

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Message of the Christmas Tree

"The traditional Christmas tree is a very ancient custom which exalts the value of life, as in winter the evergreen becomes a sign of undying life. In general the tree is decorated and Christmas gifts are placed under it. The symbol is also eloquent from a typically Christian point of view: it reminds us of the 'tree of life' (Genesis 2:9), representation of Christ, God's supreme gift to humanity. The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is 'ever green' if one gives: not so much material things, but of oneself: in friendship and sincere affection, and fraternal help and forgiveness, in shared time and reciprocal listening."

Pope St. John Paul II

Illustration by unknown artist, in US public domain due to age

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Sainthood From Trifles

'The holiness of saints does not
depend on anything sensational, 
but on little things
which seem but trifles 
in the eyes of the world.'

Pope St. John XXIII

Painting: Zhuravlev

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Really Good Beginning

'Truly, matters in the world are in a bad state. 
But if you and I begin in earnest to reform ourselves, 
a really good beginning will have been made.'

St. Philip Neri

Painting: Josef Wagner-Höhenberg, in US public domain due to age

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One Could Do Worse

'When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them....

'I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, 
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, 
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.

'One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.'

Robert Frost, from 'Birches'

Painting: Winslow Homer. The Birch Swing ,1864

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting Personal

'Only in this personal relationship with Christ, 
only in this encounter with the Risen One, 
do we really become Christians.... 
Therefore, let us pray to the Lord to enlighten us, 
so that, in our world, He will grant us the encounter 
with His presence, and thus give us a lively faith, 
an open heart, and great charity for all, 
capable of renewing the world.'

Pope Benedict XVI, 2008

Painting: Barna da Siena, Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Friday, October 23, 2015

Joined By One Treasure

'Never think that geographical distance can separate souls whom God has united by the ties of His love. The children of the world are separated from one another because their hearts are in different places; but the children of God, having their hearts where their treasure is, and sharing only one treasure, which is the same God, are consequently always united and joined together.'

St. Francis de Sales

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

May People Not See Me

'Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance 
wherever I am. Fill my heart with Your Spirit 
and Your life. Penetrate my being and take 
such hold of me that my life becomes a radiation 
of Your own life. Give Your light through me and remain in me in such a way that every soul I 
come in contact with can feel Your presence in me.

'May people not see me, but see You in me.'

                     John Henry Newman

Friday, October 16, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

O Catch the Transient Hour

'Catch, then, 
O catch 
the transient
hour; improve 
each moment
as it flies!'

St. Jerome

Painting: Charles Courtney Curran

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Proceed With Caution

'All that proceeds from heretics should be 
suspected, especially books, however good they may be.'

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Painting: Rembrandt, Parable of the Rich Man

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Which Gives Life a New Horizon

'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, 2006

Painting: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Conversion on the Way to Damascus (detail)