I Now Know Nothing

Right now I am being washed clean and wrung out. The fact that I once thought I knew what life was about would make me laugh, if I could laugh. All my former certainties lie exposed. I remember fighting stubbornly to prove myself right about things, and believing that I was right. I recall everything I took for granted. What was that life I was leading? Behind the façade, behind the image of the person I thought myself to be, is there a truth worth knowing?

How many things were never seen, never guessed? What have I missed?

A small clarity arises. I was not the center, even though it felt that way. I was not the center. The small story of my life was not the point. It left so much unborn.

–from the book Stars at Night: When Darkness Unfolds as Light

The One Criterion for Judgment

We don’t know the mercy of God. We make rules, as we must—because to have a free-for-all makes for a way worse bondage than rules—but at the end of the day we will be judged on love.

For all the ways we’ve fallen short, aimed for pleasure divorced from joy, thought of ourselves instead of the whole world, we’ll be judged on one thing: how we treated the least of these.

–from  the book Stumble: Virtue, Vice, and the Space Between

The Joy of Living

Most people’s glorious gates of perception creak on rusty hinges. How much of the splendor of life is wasted on us because we plod along half-blind, half-deaf, with all our senses throttled, and numbed by habituation? How much joy is lost on us. How many surprises we miss. It is as if Easter eggs had been hidden under every bush and we were too lazy to look for them. But it need not be so. We are able to stop the advance of dullness like the spread of a disease. We can even reverse the process and initiate healing. We can deliberately pay attention each day to one smell, one sound which we never appreciated before, to one color or shape, one texture, one taste to which we never before paid attention. 

–from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life

Give Love, Gather Love

To love, we must be able to enact love, and we must be able to do it day in and day out in our work. It is this love that will guide us away from the carelessness that leads us to the destruction of the world and our neighbors through our everyday, middleclass existence of buying plastics, fertilizing lawns, eating cheap food, and driving to soccer practices.

It is love that will ultimately move us toward being good and therefore doing good. “In order to be good, you have to know how,” writes Wendell Berry, “and this knowing is vast, complex, humble and humbling; it is of the mind and of the hands, of neither alone.” It is knowledge that requires a spirit and a body and so brings us necessarily to the question of livelihood.

–from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life

Journaling Your Prayers

Praying through journaling can be a liberating and beautiful means of expression. Your writing can take on the feeling of a love letter or a song and can be accompanied by a heart-wrenching release of emotions.

Do not attempt to censor yourself as you write. Don’t worry about spelling or proper grammar. Do not be afraid of writing down how you truly feel—God knows your heart already. Instead, offer yourself—in all your beauty and your brokenness—freely to God and ask him to use your journal to bring you closer to him. Do not be afraid to give it all to God, who can turn our ashes to beauty, heal our deepest wounds, and set us free.

–from the book Born to Soar: Unleashing God's Word in Your Life

Mary Draws Us to Jesus

Pope Francis announced the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and asked the Blessed Mother’s help: “Guard our lives in your arms. Bless and strengthen every desire for goodness; revive and grow faith; sustain and illuminate hope; arouse and enliven charity; guide all of us on the path to holiness.”

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary reminds us that the love in Mary’s heart is a love we seek to imitate. Our generous and selfless mother shares with us many helps and graces. Her only desire is to direct us to her son, so that we might “do whatever he tells us” (see John 2:5). Consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart can only lead us more swiftly and intimately to the heart of her son. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I give myself to you through Mary!

–from the book Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart

We Offer Our Hearts to Jesus

Jesus does not wish his heart to be a mystery to us. Rather his heart is an open door; he wears it on his sleeve for us, so to speak. Jesus makes his heart completely available to us. He is meek, he is humble, and he makes himself vulnerable, as he is consumed by love for us and concern for our eternal destiny.

In turn, we are invited to offer our devotion, to have our hearts “burn within us,” to offer consolation to Jesus and make reparation for all of our offenses and those of the whole world. He wants us to unite ourselves completely with the flow of love and mercy that pours forth from his heart.

–from the book Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart

God Is in Love with You

Even if you have never felt loved or struggled to love, being loved is an ever-present reality and a never-to-be broken promise that flows directly from the heart of God.

You are loved, and as Saint Augustine said, “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.” Think about that! You are loved exclusively and completely by God. You don’t have to compete for or earn God’s love or be anybody different from who you are, because God is in love with you.

–from the book Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart

Jesus Soothes Our Weary Souls

Jesus is the answer to all our questions, no matter what our age or state of life. He offers solace to those aching for relief. He offers truth to young people who are searching for deeper meaning and security. He restores the dignity and moral center of those who are looking for life and see only death.

To each of these weary souls, Jesus says: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest…learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).

–from the book Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart

Stand against Evil

Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, please guide me closer to your Son Jesus. All of the angels and saints, please help me to be strong against the evil influences in this world by avoiding temptation, by praying constantly, and by leading a virtuous life. Amen.

–from the book Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions

Meeting God in the Upper Room