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 homily by St. John Chrysostom:
Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart. I speak of prayer, not words. It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by man but by God’s grace. The apostle Paul says: We do not know how we are to pray but the Spirit himself pleads for us with inexpressible longings.
When the Lord gives this kind of prayer to a man, he gives him riches that cannot be taken away, heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. One who tastes this food is set on fire with an eternal longing for the Lord: his spirit burns as in a fire of utmost intensity.
Practice prayer from the beginning. Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility. Make it radiant with the light of justice. Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds. Adorn it with the walls and stones of faith and generosity. Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer. In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord. You will be able to receive him as in a splendid palace, and through his grace you will already possess him, his image enthroned in the temple of your spirit.
From a sermon by St. Augustine:
What man knows all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ, concealed in the poverty of his flesh? Scripture says: Although he was rich he became poor for our sake to enrich us by his poverty. He showed himself poor when he assumed our mortal nature and destroyed death, yet he promised us riches, for he had not been robbed of his wealth but was keeping it in reserve.
How great are the blessings of his goodness which he reserves for those who fear him and shows to those who hope in him! Until he gives them to us in their plenitude, we can have only the faintest conception of them; but to enable us to receive these blessings, he who in his divine nature is the equal of the Father assumed the condition of a slave and became like us, and so restored to us our likeness to God. The only Son of God became a son of man to make many men sons of God. He instructed slaves by showing himself in the form of a slave, and now he enables free men to see him in the form of God.
For we are the sons of God, and although what we shall be has not yet been revealed, we know that when he appears we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. For what are those treasures of wisdom and knowledge, what those divine riches, if not the one thing that can fulfill our longing? What are the great blessings of his goodness, if not the one thing that will content us? Therefore: Show us the Father, and all our desires will be satisfied.
The beginning of the first letter of St. John:
What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.
A quote by Wilfrid Stinissen, OCD:
In the Eucharist, we become liberated from our deepest loneliness. When I receive the Eucharist, Jesus’ suffering and death become a suffering and death for me. God’s love becomes a love for me. I become a part of the Body of Christ. I can say “you are mine” to him. And by the fact that everyone who receives the Eucharist can say the same thing, we all become members. We enter into a new world where we share everything with each other.
There can never be a reason for rivalry or envy any longer, since we have become communicating vessels in the Body of Christ. If I am envious of another because he or she has received more than I have, it proves that I have not understood anything of the new physics that reigns in the Eucharistic world. The name of this new physics is communio: no one receives anything only for himself; everyone has everything in common. What you have is also mine; what I have is also yours. Envy is replaced by joy and gratitude.
A quote by Romano Guardini:
None of the great things in human life spring from the intellect; every one of them issues from the heart and its love. If even human love has its own reasoning, comprehensible only to the heart that is open to it, how much truer must this be of God’s love! When it is the depth and power of God that stirs, is there anything of which love is incapable? The glory of it is so overwhelming that to all who do not accept love as an absolute point of departure, its manifestations must seem the most senseless folly.
A quote by St. Paul of the Cross:
Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be canceled and anxiety turned into love.
A quote by Servant of God Luis Maria Martinez:
Faith teaches that God loves us and that he loves us not as a group, but personally, individually: He loved me! Each of us can make these words of the Apostle Paul his own without fear of error. He knows my name; he has engraved my image in his heart. Still more, I can be assured that his heart is all mine, because our Lord cannot love as we do, by halves; when he loves, he loves with his whole heart, infinitely.
From The Eight Doors of the Kingdom by Father Jacques Philippe:
Asking God to do justice for us should not be understood as calling upon him to punish those who harm us but rather to speed our personal conversion. Lord, it’s not just for me to love you so little while you deserve to be loved so much, or to love my neighbor so little when he has such a need for love. Do me justice! Convert me and transform my heart, filling it with love for you and others.
From a treatise on the Incarnation of the Lord by Theodoret of Cyr:
When a shepherd sees that his sheep have scattered, he keeps one of them under his control and leads it to the pastures he chooses, and thus he draws the other sheep back to him by means of this one. And so it was when God the Word saw that the human race had gone astray: he took the form of a slave and united it to himself, and by means of it won over the whole race of men to him, enticing the sheep that were grazing in bad pastures and exposed to wolves, and leading them to the pastures of God.
From Eternity in the Midst of Time by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen:
My own experience, and that of others with whom I have been able to share, have taught me that life becomes different, that a person is filled with a new security, peace and, joy when he finally dares to believe that he is grasped by God. Even prayer, and perhaps especially prayer, goes through a metamorphosis. While you earlier sought God with much effort, often without finding him, you now rest in a certainty that you have long ago been “found” by him. Prayer is now mainly his doing. The burden is no longer yours. All your striving to meet God and be united with him is now superfluous. You do not strive toward the goal when you know you have reached it. Instead of striving to move forward, you can now move forward by resting.
A quote from a sermon by Fr. Sergio Vallejo Martinez:
Do I have peace? Do I have true peace in my life? What is true peace? Peace is feeling that you are accompanied by Jesus in the midst of the situations that each of us faces. Let us ask the Lord for this peace:
O Lord, grant me the grace to feel you near to me, to rejoice in your presence knowing that I have so many things on my mind, so many things to do, so many worries, so much weakness. Grant me that peace which you gave to your friends because only you can give me peace and only near you can I feel that peace which I need so much.
From I Believe in Love, by Fr. Jean C. J. D’Elbée:
The first commandment you know: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with your whole mind.” This commandment contains all the others, and it is for everyone. When Jesus founded His Church on Peter, He asked him the same question three times: “Peter, do you love me?” He could have said, “Peter, will you be a man of character, capable of leading your brothers to follow in your path? Will you be a wise man, capable of instructing them and explaining things to them—a model of virtue, as an example to them?” He did not ask a single one of those questions, but only “Peter, do you love me?” That is all. If Peter loved Jesus, the Holy Spirit would be in him, and he would lack nothing he needed to feed the lambs and the sheep.
A quote by St. Vincent Ferrer:
If you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire.
From a sermon by St. Gregory Nazianzen:
Brethren and friends, let us never allow ourselves to misuse what has been given us by God’s gift. If we do, we shall hear Saint Peter say: Be ashamed of yourselves for holding on to what belongs to someone else. Resolve to imitate God’s justice, and no one will be poor. Let us not labor to heap up and hoard riches while others remain in need. If we do, the prophet Amos will speak out against us with sharp and threatening words: Come now, you that say: When will the new moon be over, so that we may start selling? When will the sabbath be over, so that we may start opening our treasures?
Let us put into practice the supreme and primary law of God. He sends down rain on just and sinful alike, and causes the sun to rise on all without distinction. To all earth’s creatures he has given the broad earth, the springs, the rivers and the forests. He has given the air to the birds, and the waters to those who live in the water. He has given abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries, but as common to all, amply and in rich measure. His gifts are not deficient in any way, because he wanted to give equality of blessing to equality of worth, and to show the abundance of his generosity.
From The Gift of Faith by Father Tadeusz Dajczer:
Living in the present moment can be imagined through a certain fictional scene, which is like a parable: Imagine that you are standing on a platform, with a long train passing by with many empty cars which you have to load with packages which are lying beside you. When you start looking at the cars that have passed, you may notice with fright the multitude of cars that have not been loaded (you are thinking about the past). Then you may look at the ones that are approaching you and again are frightened that there are still so many cars left to be loaded (you are thinking about the future). In the meantime however, another car has passed by unloaded. (You are letting the present moment and the grace connected with it slip by.)
From Fire of Mercy: The Parable of the Two Sons by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis:
This parable, then, is about the central Christian concern of how the human will, made rebellious by sin and turned in on itself, can gradually open up, turn outward, and finally converge with the life-giving will of God. And the exact will of God for us, in the light of this parable, is that we join him in the work of cultivating his “vineyard”, that is, in toiling to produce fine fruit from our human hearts, our Church, our world, so that the bursting grapes of the vineyard of creation will eventually yield the abundant wine of universal happiness and joy.
From a sermon by St. Bernard:
Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.
Keep God’s word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.
If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we will bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.
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