Where Your Treasure Is, There your heart will Be
One treasure worth collecting is words that turn your heart into a home for God. Start watching out for words in the Bible, in sermons, in writings of the saints or from the people in your life. Remember the ones that speak to you and keep them in your heart.
From a sermon by St. Gregory Nazianzen:
Will we never learn restraint, however late? Will we not repudiate our want of feeling, not to say petty selfishness? Will we not take note of our human condition? Will we not dedicate our own resources to the misfortunes of others? Nothing in human life is naturally secure or smooth or self-sustaining or permanent. Our fortunes run in a cyclical pattern that brings changes one after another, frequently within the space of a single day and sometimes even an hour, and one may rather count on the shifting winds, or the wake of a sea-faring ship, or the illusory dreams of night with their brief respite, or the lines that children at play trace in the sand, than on human prosperity. The wise are those who because of their distrust of the present save for themselves the world to come, and because of the uncertain and fickle nature of human success embrace the kindness that does not fail.
From a sermon by St. Andrew of Crete:
Let us say to Christ: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. Let us hold before him like palm branches those final words inscribed above the cross. Let us show him honor, not with olive branches but with the splendor of merciful deeds to one another. Let us spread the thoughts and desires of our hearts under his feet like garments, so that entering us with the whole of his being, he may draw the whole of our being into himself and place the whole of his in us. Let us say to Zion in the words of the prophet: Have courage, daughter of Zion, do not be afraid. Behold, your king comes to you, humble and mounted on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.
He is coming who is everywhere present and pervades all things; he is coming to achieve in you his work of universal salvation. He is coming who came to call to repentance not the righteous but sinners, coming to recall those who have strayed into sin. Do not be afraid, then: God is in the midst of you, and you shall not be shaken.
Receive him with open, outstretched hands, for it was on his own hands that he sketched you. Receive him who laid your foundations on the palms of his hands. Receive him, for he took upon himself all that belongs to us except sin, to consume what is ours in what is his. Be glad, city of Zion, our mother, and fear not. Celebrate your feasts. Glorify him for his mercy, who has come to us in you. Rejoice exceedingly, daughter of Jerusalem, sing and leap for joy. Be enlightened, be enlightened, we cry to you, as holy Isaiah trumpeted, for the light has come to you and the glory of the Lord has risen over you.
From a sermon by St. Anastasius of Antioch for All Souls’ Day:
To this end, Christ died and rose to life that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But God is not God of the dead, but of the living. That is why the dead, now under the dominion of one who has risen to life, are no longer dead but alive. Therefore life has dominion over them and, just as Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again, so too they will live and never fear death again. When they have been thus raised from the dead and freed from decay, they shall never again see death, for they will share in Christ’s resurrection just as he himself shared in their death.
This is why Christ descended into the underworld, with its imperishable prison-bars: to shatter the doors of bronze and break the bars of iron and, from decay, to raise our life to himself by giving us freedom in place of servitude.
But if this plan does not yet appear to be perfectly realized—for men still die and bodies still decay in death—this should not occasion any loss of faith. For, in receiving the first-fruits, we have already received the pledge of all the blessings we have mentioned; with them we have reached the heights of heaven, and we have taken our place beside him who has raised us up with himself, as Paul says: In Christ, God has raised us up with him and has made us sit with him in the heavenly places.
From the writings of St. Thomas of Villanova:
Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother, and, as he is in the way of salvation, God can make him into a saint, in spite of his present weakness.
From The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius on his feast day:
So it is that to the wise men there is absolutely no place for hatred. Who except the most stupid would hate good men? And it is most unreasonable to hate evil men. If wickedness is a sort of disease of the soul, just as weakness is a disease of the body, when we consider those sick in body as not at all worthy of hatred but rather pity, we should all the more pity and not attack those whose minds are oppressed by a wickedness more cruel than any physical weakness.
From the writings of St. John of Avila:
Beg the Lord that he open your eyes to see the flaming fire of love that burned in his heart when he mounted the cross for the good of all: little and great; good and bad; past, present, and to come, including even those who crucified him. Consider that his love has not grown cold. On the contrary, if the first death had not been sufficient as a remedy for us, with what love would he die now as he died then! In his body he offered himself once to the Father on the cross for our healing; by his will he continually offers himself with the same love.
Tell me, then, how can anyone be cruel with those with whom Christ was so merciful? How can anyone find a way to wish evil for those for whom God desires every blessing and salvation? It is not possible to speak or write of the profound love engendered in the heart of the Christian who looks at the neighbor, not according to exterior things like wealth or descent or the like, but as beloved members of Christ’s body, intimately united with him by every kind of relationship and friendship.
From the letters of Padre Pio:
Be consoled and cast off your doubts, for I tell you in the Lord that your will is united with the will of God. A person who does not love God does not pay any attention to God, does not feel afraid of not loving him, and never troubles to think of God with the sincere desire to love him. Console yourself, I repeat, that as long as you are afraid that you do not love God and as long as you fear to offend him, you already love him and no longer offend him.
From Five Loaves and Two Fish by Ven. Francis Xavier Nguyen van Thuan (who spent 13 years in prison in Vietnam):
One night I heard a voice encouraging me from the depth of my heart: “Why do you torment yourself so? You must learn to distinguish between God and the works of God.”
I had always tried to do God’s will, but this light brought me a new strength that completely changed my way of thinking and helped me to overcome moments that were almost physically impossible to overcome.
From that moment on, a new peace flooded my heart that remained with me for thirteen years. I felt my human weakness, but I renewed my choice in the face of difficult situations and I never lacked peace.
From The Letters of St. Therese:
I am not always faithful, but I never get discouraged. I abandon myself into the arms of Jesus, and there I find again all that I have lost and much more besides.
From the book The Divine Pity by Rev. Gerald Vann, O.P.:
Yours is the kingdom of heaven: even in this life it can be true. The desire to have lies deep in us—we are indeed compact of desire—but it is a desire for infinity, which the gaining of the whole world will not fulfill. The desire to have is deep in us: but it is really a misunderstanding if we think of it thus instead of as a desire to be. The heart is an infinite capacity and thirst for being: and we are never at rest until it is filled. And so we try to fill it by drawing many things towards us and making them ours, till the house is cluttered with furniture, and we cannot move, and still we are tormented. Blessed are the poor in spirit because they have seen that this is not the way, and have known that an infinity, not of having but of being, is the kingdom.
Some counsels from St. Vincent de Paul for your heart:
Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also loves those who love the poor. For when one person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to be understanding where they are concerned. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: I have become all things to all men. Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. We must beg God to pour into our hearts sentiments of pity and compassion and to fill them again and again with these dispositions.
From the book Fire of Mercy Heart of the World by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis:
Salvation begins by our being seen by Jesus, by his turning toward us his compassionate eyes. Just as in the previous episode he first perceived the paralytic “lying on a stretcher”, he now catches sight of the man “sitting at the customs bench”: the divine glance plummets from above to find us deep in our misery and worldly concerns. All our hope resides in the fact that he sees us before we see him; his gaze penetrates our being before we have even formulated an imploration.
For the memorial of the Seven Sorrows of Mary:
The more thoroughly we allow ourselves to mingle with the figure of the Mother of God in the New Testament, the more substance there is to our real Christian life. She was the one who encompassed the Lord with all her being through His whole life, and in death as well. She was the one who had to experience Him, who came from God, growing ever further away from her. Time and again He raised Himself above her, and time and again, feeling the edge of the sword, she increased her faith to match His new stature, and encompassed Him anew—until at the end, He was no longer her Son. The other one, who stood beside her was to be her son now. But Jesus remained alone up there, on the sharpest pinnacle of Creation, in the presence of God. She received this separation in a final act of sharing His suffering, and once again, in this very act, she stood by Him in faith.—From The Meditation on The Christ by Romano Guardini
On the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, a few of his beautiful words:
[Jesus] was not satisfied only to endure death on a cross; he chose to become poor and homeless, a beggar and naked, to be thrown into prison and suffer sickness, so that in this way too he might invite you to join him.—From a homily on the Letter to the Romans by St. John Chrysostom
“If you will make me no return for having suffered for you, at least have pity on my poverty. If not that, be moved at least by my sickness and imprisonment. If none of these elicit your compassion, at least grant me this, because it is so small a request. I want nothing expensive, just a little bread, shelter, a few kind words. If all this leaves you unmoved, at least improve your conduct for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, for all the rewards I have promised. Or is this too of no account in your eyes? Well, at least out of natural pity you might feel upset when you see me naked; and remember how I was naked on the cross, which I suffered for your sake; or, if not this, then recall the poverty and nakedness I endure today in the poor. Once I was in fetters for you; I am still in fetters for you, so that whether by those earlier bonds or by these present ones, you might be moved to show some feeling for me. I fasted for you and I go hungry again, still for your sake; I thirsted as I hung upon the cross, and I am still thirsty again in the poor of today. In one way or another, I would draw you to myself; for your soul’s sake, I would have you compassionate.”
From the book Fire of Mercy Heart of the World by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis:
Indeed our best words are far more than units of information; they are epiphanies of the truth and gifts through which we can communicate to others our own deepest being and the life of God that has been deposited into our “treasury of goodness”. Like the divine Word, our own words have the vocation and the mission to do the work that God has purposed. Our words, springing out of the divine Word planted deep within us by baptism and the Eucharist, are called to be further incarnations in the world and in history of the one Word spoken by God in his heavenly dwelling before the beginning of all ages.
Today on the feast of St. Augustine, I’d like to share a few of his words from this morning’s Office of Readings.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, that is, here on earth. They shall be satisfied, that is, in heaven. Christ says: I give each what he loves, I give each the object of his hope; he will see what he believed in, though without seeing it. What he now hungers for, he will eat; what he now thirst for, he will drink to the full. When? At the resurrection of the dead, for I will raise him up on the last day.—August 28th, Feast of St. Augustine
From a homily by St. John Chrysostom:
Thus I have shown you five ways of repentance: condemnation of your own sins, forgiveness of our neighbor’s sins against us, prayer, almsgiving and humility.
Do not be idle then, but walk daily in all these paths; they are easy, and you cannot plead your poverty. For, though you live out your life in great need, you can always set aside your wrath, be humble, pray diligently and condemn your own sins; poverty is no hindrance. Poverty is not an obstacle to our carrying out the Lord’s bidding, even when it comes to that path of repentance which involves giving money (almsgiving, I mean). The widow proved that when she put her two mites into the box!
From a sermon by St. Peter Chrysologus:
When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery. Let this be the pattern for all men when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you.
From the book The Living God by Romano Guardini:
“God sees the chaos that man has created, but he does not lose his patience. What does a master do if his apprentice is always ruining his tools and materials? He berates him and punishes him, and one day he turns him out altogether. He cannot afford to have inexhaustible patience, since he is weak and his means are limited. But God is almighty and infinitely rich. His riches and his omnipotence are his patience. How good it is that God’s patience is as great as God’s omnipotence! That is why he is always able to forgive again, always able to give man a fresh chance, always able to begin his work again from the chaos of human freedom.”
Today on the feast of St. John Vianney, I’d like to share a few of his words from this morning’s Office of Readings.
How often we come to church with no idea of what to do or what to ask for. And yet, whenever we go to any human being, we know well enough why we go. And still worse, there are some who seem to speak to the good God like this: “I will only say a couple of things to you, and then I will be rid of you.” I often think that when we come to adore the Lord, we would receive everything we ask for, if we would ask with living faith and with a pure heart.—August 4th, Feast of St. John Vianney