BEFORE THE BEGINNING
“I have graven you on the palms of my hands.” (Is 49:16)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:5)
“The LORD called me from the womb,
from the body of my mother he named my name.” (Is 49:1)
“No one has been born by chance
and no one was consulted before being brought into the world.
The essence and existence of each person
is something of extraordinary value,
something very important.
Every birth is always the result
of a very long, minute and patient planning.
A great number of circumstances
arising century after century,
converge in the precise moment
in which a new being,
singular and unique,
makes his entrance into the world.
And if no one exists by chance,
there is no chance involved
in his particular physical and psychological make-up.
There is also a reason for the fact
that everyone has his own individual temperament, qualities,
a particular degree of intelligence, sensitivity
and even particular features.
Underlying the circumstances
which are the immediate explanation of a person’s character
at any given moment in life—
education, environment, friends, influences, reading—
deep down [exists] that orderliness which ... gives unity to the cosmos,
linking the immense variety of different creatures.
God neither maintains nor renews anything useless on earth.”
(F Suarez, Mary of Nazareth, 13-14)
“When I know that I am chosen,
I know that I have been seen as a special person.
When I write to you that, as the Beloved, we are God's chosen ones,
I mean that we have been seen by God from all eternity
and seen as unique, special, precious beings.
From all eternity,
long before you were born and became a part of history,
you existed in God's heart.
Long before your parents admired you
or your friends acknowledged your gifts
or your teachers, colleagues, and employers encouraged you,
you were already "chosen"...by the One ...
with an everlasting love,
a love that existed from all eternity
and will last through all eternity.”
(H Nouwen, Life of the Beloved)
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission life;
everyone must carry out a concrete assignment
that demands fulfillment.
Therein he cannot be replaced,
nor can his life be repeated.
Thus, everyone’s task is as unique
as his specific opportunity to implement it.”
(V Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, 131)
“And he went up into the hills,
and called to him those whom he desired
and they came to him.
And he appointed twelve
to be with him,
and to be sent out to preach.”
CELEBRATING OUR ELECTION
“The servant can only be obliged to work.
The friend rejoices that he has been chosen by the One
who has entrusted himself to him
and to whom he too entrusts himself—entrusts himself totally.”
(John Paul II, Letter to Priests, 1990, 2)
“You have to celebrate your chosenness constantly.
This means saying ‘thank you’ to God for having chosen you...
It is important to realize how often we have had chances to be grateful
and have not used them. ...
What fascinates me so much is that every time we decide to be grateful
it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for.
Gratitude begets gratitude,
just as love begets love.”
(H Nouwen, Life of the Beloved)
AIMING FOR SAINTHOOD
“Saints generate saints.” (John Paul II)
“Some souls win peace and sanctity
from the same trials which make others rebels and nervous wrecks.
[And] the phrase [the formula] which sanctifies any moment is ‘Fiat!’
To say and mean ‘Thy will be done’
is to put an end to all complaining;
for whatever the moment brings to us now
bears the imprint of the Divine Will.”
(F Sheen, Light Up Your Heart)
SANCTITY IN TINY BITS
“...it is in doing perfectly the little chores [God] gives that saints find holiness.
The big, world-shattering things
many of us imagine we would like to do for God might, in the end,
feed only our egotism.
On the other hand, to accept the crosses of our state of life
because they come from an all-loving God
is to have taken the most important step in the reformation of the world,
namely the reformation of self.”
(F Sheen, Light Up Your Heart)
QUALIFYING FOR THE RACE
“Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
for I am only a youth.’
But the Lord said to me,
‘Do not say ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Be not afraid of them...” (Jer 1:6-8)
SOURCES OF STRENGTH
“Draw your strength from the Lord,
from that mastery which his power supplies.
You must wear all the weapons in God’s armory,
if you would find strength to resist the cunning of the devil.
...Take up all God’s armor then;
so you will be able to stand your ground
when the evil time comes,
and be found still on your feet....
Stand fast, ...
take up the shield of faith,
with which you will be able to quench
all the fire-tipped arrows of your wicked enemy;
make the helmet of salvation your own,
and the sword of the spirit, God’s word.” (Eph 6:10-17)
“In order to bring peace, genuine peace, to souls;
in order to transform the earth
and to seek God our Lord in the world
and through the things of the world,
personal holiness is indispensable.” (St Josemaría, Friends of God, 294)
“Works, works, works,
are nothing without sanctity, sanctity, sanctity.” (A del Portillo)
“The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross.
There is no holiness without renunciation or spiritual battle (cf II Tim 4)”
LESSONS OF GENEROSITY FROM THE HOLY FAMILY
“There no one talks
of my honor,
of my time,
of my work,
of my ideas,
of my likes,
of my money.
There everything is placed at the service
of God’s great game with humanity,
which is Redemption.” (St Josemaría, Letter March 1974)
“A LIFE THAT IS ‘GIVEN’”
…for us the words of institution
must be more than a formula of consecration,
they must be a ‘formula of life’. …
‘Accipite et manducate. Accipite et bibite.’
which has its origin in the Trinitarian life of the God who is Love,
reaches its culmination in the sacrifice of the Cross,
sacramentally anticipated in the Last Supper.
It is impossible to repeat the words of consecration
without feeling oneself caught up in this spiritual movement.
In a certain sense, when he says the words: ‘take and eat,’
the priest must learn to apply them also to himself,
and to speak them with truth and generosity.
If he is able to offer himself as a gift, …
his life takes on its true meaning.”
(John Paul II, Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 2005, 1, 3)
YEARNING FOR HEAVEN
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
As a hart longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for thee, O God…” (Ps 42:1-2)
“My soul thirsts for thee [sitivit in te ánima mea]
my flesh faints for thee [te desideravit caro mea].” (Ps 63:1)
“When shall I come and behold the face of God?
[Quando véniam et apparebo ante faciem Domini?]” (Ps 42:2)
“Seek his face always with burning desire.” (St Augustine)
“Finding leads to further seeking.” (RL Wilken)
“When a man is finished, then it is that he is beginning.” (Sir 18:3)
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Revised 24 March 2005