For those times when you say to yourself, “I did it again!” From St. Faustina’s Diary:
It so happened that I fell again into a certain error, in spite of a sincere resolution not to do so even though the lapse was a minor imperfection and rather involuntary and at this I felt such acute pain in my soul that I interrupted my work and went to the chapel for a while. Falling at the feet of Jesus, with love and a great deal of pain, I apologized to the Lord, all the more ashamed because of the fact that in my conversation with Him after Holy Communion this very morning I had promised to be faithful to Him. Then I heard these words: If it hadn’t been for this small imperfection, you wouldn’t have come to Me (Diary, 1293).
Very apt advice always:
“When your enemy falls into your hands, do not consider how you can pay him back and let him feel the sharp edge of your tongue before sending him packing; consider rather how you can heal him and restore him to a better frame of mind. Continue to make every effort both by word and deed until your gentleness has overcome his aggressiveness. Nothing has more power than gentleness. As someone has said: A soft word will break bones. And what is harder than bone? Well then, even if someone is as hard and inflexible as that, he will be conquered if you treat him gently. There is another saying: A soft answer turns away wrath. It is obvious, therefore, that whether your enemy continues to rage or whether he is reconciled depends much more on you than on him. For it rests with us, not with those who are angry, either to destroy their anger or enflame it.” (John Chrysostom)
One of the symbols for Witnesses to Hope is a lighthouse. Our hope is to be a light in the darkness and the storms, speaking hope to the world. Love these photos:
You can see 26 more photos here.
(Make your screen full screen.)
A quick method of discerning what to do with those agitating, discouraging thoughts:
“As a general rule, you ought to regard as coming from the enemy any thought which agitates you, throws you into perplexity, which diminishes your confidence and narrows up your heart. The best thing in such cases is just to put the matter that perplexes you out of your mind, saying to yourself, ‘When I have the opportunity I shall ask the solution of this difficult from some priest,’ and then go on in peace as you were before.” (Dom Marmion)
I’m sure Dom Marmion would allow the substitution of “a wise person” for “some priest,” someone who is spiritually mature and whose discernment you trust.
Remember Amy Carmichael’s wonderful advice as well:
“The reason why singing is such a splendid shield against the fiery darts of the devil is that it greatly helps us to forget him, and he cannot endure being forgotten. He likes us to be occupied with him, what he is doing (our temptations), with his victories (our falls), with anything but our glorious Lord. So sing. Never be afraid of singing too much. We are much more likely to sing too little.”
For those of us who are self-assured, this from André Louf will hit home–hard, but in a hopeful way.
God’s purpose is to crush our idols. There is in us a self-assurance to which we cling to the point of despair but with which God cannot do anything. He wants to take that assurance from us. This causes us so much pain, and our disappointment with God is so intense that we are strongly inclined to curse him, that we even begin to doubt his existence, or that in some way we want to get even with him. None of this is too serious. For even int he most embittered curse we still voice something of our faith and in every blasphemy the true image of God is still present, if only in a hidden and perverse fashion. It is God himself who takes us into his hands, God who–we think–attacks us because he wants to remove that which is dearest to us and to which we are unknowingly attached, heart and soul–the little idol which we have carried with us for years and which we adore as the true God.
We cannot escape this. . . . In quiet confidence and humble self-surrender we try to accept this reality. And as we wait for it with an almost indiscernible but nevertheless a deep joy, God gradually opens our eyes. His look makes us free to look back. Till now we had known him only from hearsay; soon, very soon, we will have seen him with our eyes.
“There is a space formed by the particular shape of our life. It is meant for God himself to indwell. This must be felt as a lack . . . and it comes about through daily circumstances. It may be caused by the cavern of a lonely heart, the ache of a lost one, the yearning that comes from ‘not yet being home.’ In truth we are to glory in this emptiness–for it is the price we pay for such an immense dignity. To wait in courage for God to fill our particular emptiness is one of the most profound of love’s acts.” (Ed Conlin)