“You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.”

― Stewart O’Nan

All of Life

“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”

― Pope John Paul II

Faith

As we celebrate the solemnity of All Saints (November 1st), I have listed quotes from various Saints for reflection.

• St. Justin Martyr: “The greatest grace God can give someone is to send him a trial he cannot bear with his own powers-and then sustain him with his grace so he may endure to the end and be saved.”

• Saint Benedict: “What is more delightful than this voice of the Lord calling to us? See how the Lord in his love shows us the way of life.”

• Saint Augustine: “We have been promised something we do not yet possess. It is good for us to persevere in longing until we receive what was promised, and yearning is over.”

• Saint Francis of Assisi: “May I feel in my heart, as far as possible, that abundance of love with which you, Son of God, were inflamed.”

• Saint Thomas Aquinas: “The life of man consists in the love that principally sustains him and in which he finds his greatest satisfaction.”

• Saint Catherine of Siena: “When we love something we don’t care of abuse or injury or pain we might have to endure to get it; we are concerned only with satisfying our desire for the things we love.”

• Saint Catherine of Genoa: “God lets the soul share his goodness so that it becomes one with him. The nearer the soul comes to him, the more it partakes of what is his.”

• Saint Paul of the Cross: “The soul whom God wants to draw the deepest union with him by means of holy prayer must pass through the way of suffering during prayer.”

• Saint Alphonsus Liguori: “We must love God in the way that pleases him, and not just in a way that suits ourselves. God wishes people to empty themselves of everything and to be filled with his divine love.”

• Saint Maximilian Kolbe: “Shall the urge for complete and total happiness, inherent to human nature, be the only need to remain unfilled and unsatisfied? No, even this longing can be fulfilled by the infinite and eternal God.”

• Saint Katharine Drexel: “May your faith be increased so as to realize the fact that you are never alone, wheresoever you may be, that the great God is with you, in you.”

• Saint Faustina: “Jesus, I trust in you.”

• Saint Pio of Pietrelcina: “If the soul longs for nothing else than to love its God, then don’t worry and be quite sure that this soul possesses everything, that it possesses God himself.”

• Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka”i: “In the face of the too real dangers that surround me I repeat: ‘Lord, I have placed all my hope in you. I will never be confounded.’”

All Saints Day_November 1st

“As I have loved you, so you should also love one another.”

_John 13:34

Love

As one reads the bible and reflects on its passages, some more than others have huge impacts on our lives. Some speak to our heart and reflect the needed changes we need to make in our thinking and behavior. Others offer peace and direction, and the needed insight for our lives and beliefs. The above passage from John, speaks to what God has said about love, its importance in our lives, and the call to sharing it.

I have just finished reading “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, M.D. He acquired bacterial meningitis in his brain, a bacteria known as E. coli, which has a 99+% fatality rate. Within 3 days, his brain shut down and he slipped into a coma, which lasted for 7 days. After a miraculous recovery, he faced a difficult road to full recovery and rehabilitation. During this time, he had the overwhelming drive to speak and write of the many things he had experienced. This is what he referred too as “Unpacking.”

Eben, highly educated and a neurosurgeon surgeon himself, found he could not explain what he saw and experienced. Words from this world could not begin to adequately explain the world of Heaven. One experience, more than all the others, was experiencing the Love from God and being in His presence. This is the most common and similar experience of all NDE experiences (Near Death Experience). For everyone who has returned, they talk of their encounters in heaven, their journey and what they saw, and the miraculous aspects of their tragedies; but the Love of God is indescribable. (Not only beyond words, but too wonderful for words.)

When we think of love today in our life, what comes to your mind? The love of God, family and children? Seeing the joy of good happening to others? Finding a lost friend or receiving a letter from one so important to you, or experiencing God’s overwhelming presence and love? Has it brought tears of joy and the feeling of love over you?

Today’s bible quote is all encompassing. It sums up all we have been asked to do, and what should guide our actions. It speaks loudly of God’s unconditional love for us, and the action we need to take. God is all understanding and all forgiving. We need to keep listening to God and remaning close Him.

“What lies before us and what lies behind us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Think of the gifts of love you have in your life and pass it on. A gift is not a gift until it is given to others.

“Find a way.”

_Conor

Love

“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 aggression. 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 the 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.”

_ St. John Chrysostom

The Measure to Measure With

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

― John Lennon

Happiness is a wonderful state of life. What more could you want or ask for? But, there are some questions that need to be addressed along with happiness. Some happiness is for a moment, or an event in our life, while others are for some period of time. But how do we sustain happiness for ourselves?

Happiness is needed in all dimensions of our existence; that is physical, mental and spiritual. However, it begs the question, are they mutually exclusive of one another, or are they parallel or are they sequential?

There is another way of saying what John Lennon said so simply. That is striving for the quiet or “peace of the heart.” God has promised that to all that pursue Him in prayer. And if one does not have prayer in their life, or is just beginning a prayerful life, one doesn’t have to fear it. One can also speak from the heart; everyday to God, in your own words. Just the two of you. Many times that is the only way we should speak to God. “God is merciful and will hear your prayer…..it is the key to God’s heart.” And when we have a peaceful heart, all else finds it home.

Reflect to the answer, but we all need to “Find a Way.”

_Conor

“Happy”