A Love That Mirrors God

Love is not divisible. Genuine love of God implies love of neighbor and self. Genuine love of neighbor and self can come only out of a love of God. Even in the most vindictive, inconsiderate, domineering person, we are called to see God. Beneath the sin and ugliness, everyone mirrors at least some of the attributes of God: free, intelligent, capable of the highest love. Even if that freedom has been enslaved or that intelligence is clouded by physical, emotional, or moral obstacles, that person is still full of potential.

Christ brought new dignity to human nature by the union of the divine and the human. In the one person of Christ, human nature is inseparably and forever united to God. Christ did not add anything to human nature. Rather he made visible the love that had never changed.

—from the book Live Like Francis: Reflections on Franciscan Life in the World


Live Like Francis by Jovian Weigel and Leonard Foley, OFM

Mary, Our Mother

In the Psalm we said: “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things” (Psalm 98:1). Today we consider one of the marvelous things which the Lord has done: Mary! A lowly and weak creature like ourselves, she was chosen to be the Mother of God, the Mother of her Creator.

At the message of the angel, she does not hide her surprise. It is the astonishment of realizing that God, to become man, had chosen her, a simple maid of Nazareth; not someone who lived in a palace amid power and riches, or one who had done extraordinary things, but simply someone who was open to God and put her trust in him, even without understanding everything: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). That was her answer.

—from Pope Francis, as quoted in the book Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis


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Saint Francis: An Instrument of Joy

To Francis everything in him and around him was a gift from his Father in Heaven. He expected nothing, so he was grateful for everything. Even a piece of earth was cause for rejoicing, and he thanked God always for everything that was. He held everything to his heart with the enthusiasm of a child surprised by some unexpected toy. The air he breathed, the sounds he heard, the sights and smells of all the world entered his grateful soul through senses perfected by gratitude and purity of heart.

Nothing was evil, for everything came from God, and evil came only from a heart that chose not to love. 

—from the book Francis: The Journey and the Dream by Murray Bodo, OFM


Francis the Journey and the Dream Franciscan Media

Saint Teresa of Avila and the Light of Christ

Teresa of Avila had no desire to be set apart as “the holy one,” because she believed she was far from perfect. She told a priest, “During my lifetime, I have been told that I was handsome and I believed it; that I was clever and I thought it was true; and that I was a Saint, but I always knew that people were mistaken on that score.”

Teresa’s reputation for sanctity spread, in spite of her protests, among those who weren’t blinded by jealousy. Try as she might to bring her flaws to light, the Light of Christ shone more brightly within her. This holy radiance shone around her and all the saints because they carried Jesus within them. Saint Teresa’s life of prayer made this divine presence possible.

—from the book The Four Teresas by Gina Loehr


Saint of the Day Franciscan Media

 

A Return to Formal Prayer

I come back once more to formal prayer, to the doxology that traditionally concludes the prayers we begin “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In the concluding doxology, too, we usually connect Father, Son, and Spirit by the word and. But I prefer a more ancient version. This more dynamic version suggests our entering into God’s life as we pray to the Father (Mother and Source of all), through the Son (through whom we have communion with God), in the Holy Spirit (that Force which comes from God, is God, and leads all things back to the Source in a great dance).

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life, by Brother David Steindl-Rast

Don't Panic by Maureen Pratt

Give God the Glory

We have no right to glory in ourselves because of any extraordinary gifts, since these do not belong to us but to God. But we may glory in crosses, afflictions, and tribulations, because these are our own.

—Saint Francis of Assisi, as quoted in the book The Franciscan Saints, by Robert Ellsberg


The Franciscan Saints, by Robert Ellsberg

God Is Not Fair

That God is not fair is actually one among many reasons for gratitude, albeit in a way counterintuitive to our usual thinking. The simple premise here is that God’s way is not our way, God’s love is not conditioned like our love, God’s mercy is not bound as ours is, and God does not discriminate or reward a person according to the standards of a given society, no matter how widespread such criteria may be. (Thank God!)

—from the book God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude, by Daniel P. Horan, OFM


God is Not Fair by Dan Horan, OFM

Thank God, No Matter What

God knows best, and, while we’ll still hope for a favorable surprise, we can hardly do better than not only being resigned to whatever God permits but even beforehand to thank him for his mercifully loving designs.

—Solanus Casey, as quoted in God's Doorkeepers: Padre Pio, Solanus Casey and Andre Bessette by Joel Schorn

 


Books and audios on prayer from Franciscan Media

 

Love Is Never Abstract

Love can never be general or abstract—it is only concrete and particular. What we know of other loves we know by analogy because as a creature I must live in the limits of my love. I cannot love forests in general any more than I can love people in general. As the essayist Charles D’Ambrosio has put it, “If you can love abstractly, you’re only a bad day away from hating abstractly.” For love to work, it must be anchored in the particular or else it is likely to simply float along with the changing currents of emotion.

The deeper my love the more particular it becomes and the more limited in scope. It is only through such particulars that we can come to save the creation. God may love the world, but we live into God’s image by reflecting such love on a proper scale—among particular places and people. We live into our love when we love our neighbors and, thus necessarily, our neighborhood.

—from Ragan Sutterfield, author of the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life


Wendell Berry and the Given Life - Book

Peter's Denial Is Twofold

In John’s Gospel, before Jesus predicts Peter’s denial, Peter says to him, “I will lay down my life for you” (John 13:37). Peter has not yet come face-to-face with his own weakness, his own limitations. He is so sure that his faith will not fail that it never occurs to him to ask the Lord for strength. How often do we do the same?

—from the book Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life, by Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi


Meeting God in the Upper Room

Meeting God in the Upper Room