The preaching of a holy priest will move hearts; an enlightened director will make souls recognize what God wills; a generous priest will know how to bear fatigue in administering the sacraments. People are won when Christian doctrine is presented as attractively and clearly as it deserves. Thus, Saint Teresa says, we must pray that priests be holy.
— Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene

"Life is marked by suffering. The poor suffer. The great suffer. Everything that is painful to the flesh and displeasing to the senses is a cross. Embrace all these little opportunities of suffering and you will be bearing the cross of Christ. Relieve the afflicted and he will accept it as given to himself. Frankly, I hate suffering. But I am learning to thank God for everything that makes me die to self. In fact, I'm trying to make my whole life a conscious dying to self."

St. Katherine Drexel

"Once the coldness of little infidelities to the Lord penetrates the soul, it reaches into the soul's interior. Then we have the predictable: vigor slackens, energies grow languid, repugnance for austerity increases, fear of poverty unsettles us, the soul itself shrivels, grace is withdrawn, reason is lulled to sleep, the spirit is quenched, brotherly love grows cold, pleasure attracts, security is a trap, and old habits return. Shall I go on?"

St. Bernard of Clarvaux

"There is nothing so good for building character as having trials to bear. It brings out all the best in us. If I have all I desire and no real cares and anxieties, what is there to try my temper? What is there to admire in me? We admire those who, in spite of difficulties, bear their burden cheerfully and unselfishly, thinking of others' sorrows rather than their own. We must have a harder ideal and profit from the difficulties in life. Why let yourself be so easily disturbed? What are you worrying about? You are not living with saints and angels, and you are not one yourself."

Father Daniel Considine S.J.

"Christian asceticism never aims at annihilating life in us; on the contrary its purpose is to liberate us. It does not imply any kind of condemnation of the things which it give up, but simply a preference for the one and only thing necessary. The Christian mortifies always to gain more life. All asceticism aims at the destruction of the obsessive concentration on self caused by sin. It aims at us being able to be seized, invaded and carried away the generosity of God's life, a life which is love itself."

Father Louis Bouyer (+2004), French convert, author and theologian

"The nature of mental prayer isn't determined by whether or not your mouth is closed. If you understand you are speaking to God then mental and vocal prayer is joined. Remember it is an obligation that we strive to pray with attention. We all know that speaking with God while thinking of a thousand other vanities would amount to nothing less than turning our backs on Him. So the secret is to think of Him as near, not as far away. We can do this even in the midst of our daily tasks."

St. Teresa of Avila

"Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed, you might say in disguise, and is calling all of us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage!"

C. S. Lewis

"The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he names my name (Is 49:1)" Today we can make our own these words. God knew and loved us even before our eyes could contemplate the marvels of creation. At birth all men and women receive a human name. But even before that, each one of us has a divine name: the name by which God knows and loves us from eternity and for eternity."

Saint John Paul II

"Brothers and sisters, here is a question for you: Which to you If seems the greater, the word of God or the body of Christ? If you want to give the right answer you will reply that God's word is not less than Christ's body. Therefore, just as we take care when we receive the body of Christ so that no part of it falls to the ground so, likewise, should we ensure that the word of God which is given to us is not lost to our souls because we are speaking or thinking about something different. One who listens negligently to God's word is just as guilty as one who, through carelessness, allows Christ's body to fall to the ground."
- Saint Caesarius of Arles (d.542)

"Those who have more considerable capacity and strength for suffering, God purges more intensely and quickly. But those who are very weak ... their purgation is less intense and the temptations abated, and he frequently refreshes their sense to keep them from backsliding."

St. John of the Cross

"It is ourselves who are often the cause of our own sterile arid state. God holds back consolations from us when we have a foolish complacence in them and are subject to the worms of presumption. When we neglect to gather the dear delights of God's love at the proper season, he takes them from us in punishment for our sloth."

St. Francis de Sales

Another novena for America, this one in thanks for the election, and for peace in the days ahead. Please pray the rosary daily, and the following prayer:

Father of all nations and ages, we recall the day when our country claimed its place among the family of nations; for what has been achieved we give you thanks, for the work that still remains we ask your help, and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation, grant that, under your providence, our country may share your blessings with all the peoples of the earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

"Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for a moment, that God thinks that people with modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not in and of themselves blessed. All this must fall from them in the end. And that if they have not learned to know him they will be wretched. And therefore he troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover and rectify."

C.S. Lewis

"The Church is the last rampart against the suicidal new world ethic. She must enlighten the consciences of everyone. When the sun of the Church is hidden, men grow cold. It is necessary to rediscover the courage of a St. John Paul II who paved the way in our time."

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Next Novena for America starts tomorrow. Please pray the rosary daily, and the following prayer:

God, Almighty Father, when Mary surrendered herself to your Word, she conceived Christ first in her mind through faith, in her heart through hope and love, and finally in her body through the marvelous operation of your Holy Spirit. By her eagerness to be the mother of your Son, she opened the floodgates of your merciful love for all men and women.

May she help all people to live by faith, hope, love, and obedience to your will. May she remind us always that you want to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters through our faith and good works.

Help us to accept fully our responsibility to combat the culture of death and foster the culture of life in our American society.

We ask this through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen.

"I think we have arrived at a turning point in the history of the Church. Either we pretend to save the Church by our restructuring efforts, or we decide to let ourselves be saved by the Church - by God acting in her. Historians analyze these moments as structural change, things that move history forward. But I think it is only the saints who really change things and make history advance. The structures follow, and they only perpetuate the action of the saints."

Cardinal Robert Sarah

I wish for no prayer that does not make me grow in virtue. If it were accompanied by violent temptations, aridities, and trouble, and left me more humble, I should consider it a good prayer. For the more it pleases God, the better the prayer.
— St. Teresa of Avila

"I spent 14 years not being able to practice meditation without reading. There will be many who are like me in this. Others will only be able to pray vocally, and in this prayer they will spend most of their time. We have to remember this restlessness is either caused by the soul's nature or permitted by God. And we have to remember that without grace, man's heart is incapable of even thinking good thoughts. The good thought is God's inspiration, not the heart's offspring."

St. Theresa of Avila

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