“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
Blessed Mother Teresa
What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.
–St John of the Cross, OCD
No man is safe in speaking unless he loves to be silent. No man rules safely unless he is willing to be ruled.
In silence and quiet the devout soul advances in virtue and learns the hidden truths of Scripture.
Imitation of Christ
Blessed Mother Teresa
By our little acts of charity practiced in the shade we convert souls far away, we help missionaries, we win for them abundant alms; and by that means build actual dwellings spiritual and material for our Eucharistic Lord.”
A talkative soul lacks both the essential virtues and intimacy with God. A deeper interior life, one of gentle peace and of that silence where the Lord dwells, is quite out of the question. A soul that has never tasted
the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others.
St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul
It is best to learn to silence the faculties and to cause them to be still, so that God may speak.
St John of the Cross
♥ Follow one master only:What a sad life does he lead who wants both to please the world and to serve God! It is a great mistake to make, my friends. Apart from the fact that you are going to be unhappy all the time, you can never attain the stage at which you will be able to please the world and please God. It is as impossible a feat as trying to put an end to eternity. Take the advice that I am going to give you now and you will be less unhappy: give yourselves wholly to God or else wholly to the world. Do not look for and do not serve more than one master, and once you have chosen the one you are going to follow, do not leave him.
You surely remember what Jesus Christ said to you in the Gospel: you cannot serve God and Mammon; that is to say, you cannot follow the world and the pleasures of the world and Jesus Christ with His Cross. Of course you would be quite willing to follow God just so far and the world just so far! Let me put it even more clearly: you would like it if your conscience, if your heart, would allow you to go to the altar in the morning and the dance in the evening; to spend part of the day in church and the remainder in the cabarets or other places of amusement; to talk of God at one moment and the next to tell obscene stories or utter calumnies about your neighbour; to do a good turn for your next-door neighbour on one occasion and on some other to do him harm; in other words, to do good and speak well when you are with good people and to do wrong when you are in bad company. St John Vianney.
♥ St. John Vianney, the Patron Saint of all Priests, would spend long hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Below are some of his quotes about the importance of Eucharistic Adoration in our lives: Our Lord is hidden there in the Blessed Sacrament, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our requests to Him If we really love the good God, we should make it our joy and happiness to come a few minutes to adore Him, and ask Him for the grace of forgiveness. We should regard those moments as the happiest in our lives.When we speak to Jesus during our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with simplicity and with all our heart, He does like a mother who holds her child’s head with her hands and covers it with kisses and caresses.
What happiness do we not feel in the Presence of God, when we are alone at His feet . . . Re-double your fervor; you are alone to adore your God; His eyes rest upon you alone.When Our Lord sees pure souls coming to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament He smiles on them. They come with the simplicity that pleases Him so much.Have a Holy Hour every week. Start praying. Pray for guidance and trust in God. What happiness do we not feel in the presence of God, when we find ourselves alone at his feet (in Adoration)!
We should want to stay always at his feet; it would be a foretaste of heaven; everything else would become insipid to us.When we are before the Blessed Sacrament, instead of looking about us, let us shut our eyes and open our hearts; and the good God will open his. We will go to him, and he will come to us, the one to give, and the other to receive. It will be like a breath passing from one to the other.
What delight we find in forgetting ourselves that we may seek God. When you awake in the night, transport yourself quickly in spirit before the Tabernacle, saying: ‘Behold, my God, I come to adore You, to praise, thank, and love you, and to keep you company with all the Angels,’. . .How sweet and full of comfort are the moments spent before the Blessed Sacrament! Are you in trouble? Come and throw yourself at his feet.You will always find a friend in Jesus in the Holy Eucharist to console you in your moment of need. He will never fail to help you. St John Vianney
And in this way our Lord is ever present among those who believe in him, according to what He said: “Behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.” (Mt. 28, 20)
– St. Francis of Assisi
We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation that we may be able to bear it. Let us humble our souls under the hand of God in every trial and temptation for He will save and exalt the humble in spirit.
In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and virtue is made more manifest.
When a man is not troubled it is not hard for him to be fervent and devout, but if he bears up patiently in time of adversity, there is hope for great progress.
Some, guarded against great temptations, are frequently overcome by small ones in order that, humbled by their weakness in small trials, they may not presume on their own strength in great ones.
–St. Francis De Sales
Once when I was being crushed by these dreadful sufferings, I went into the chapel and said from the bottom of my soul, “Do what You will with me, O Jesus; I will adore You in everything. May Your will be done in me, O my Lord and my God, and I will praise Your infinite mercy.” Through this act of submission, these terrible torments left me. Suddenly I saw Jesus, who said to me, I am always in your heart.
An inconceivable joy entered my soul, and a great love of God set my heart aflame. I see that God never tries us beyond what we are able to suffer. …one act of trust at such moments gives greater glory to God than whole hours passed in prayer filled with consolations. Now I see that if God wants to keep a soul in darkness, no book, no confessor can bring it light. (78)
–St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul
♥ “And just as He appeared before the holy Apostles in true flesh, so now He has us see Him in the Sacred Bread. Looking at Him with the eyes of their flesh, they saw only His Flesh, but regarding Him with the eyes of the spirit, they believed that He was God. In like manner, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, let us see and believe firmly that it is His Most Holy Body and Blood, True and Living.
♥ “Lord Jesus, Who in the Eucharist make your dwelling among us and become our traveling companion, sustain our Christian communities so that they may be ever more open to listening and accepting your Word. May they draw from the Eucharist a renewed commitment to spreading in society, by the proclamation of your Gospel, the signs and deeds of an attentive and active charity,”
– Pope John Paul II
‘The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds. A soul filled with thoughts of sensual desire and hatred is unpurified. If we detect any trace of hatred in our hearts against any man whatsoever for committing any fault, we are utterly estranged from love for God, since love for God absolutely precludes us from hating any man.’
–St. Maximos the Confessor
“Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders.”
–St. Anthony Mary Claret (from his autobiography).
♥ “It is invaluable to converse with Christ, and leaning against Jesus’ breast like his beloved disciple, we can feel the infinite love of his Heart. We learn to know more deeply the One who gave Himself totally, in the different mysteries of his divine and human life, so that we may become disciples and in turn enter into this great act of giving, for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. Through adoration, the Christian mysteriously contributes to the radical transformation of the world and to the sowing of the Gospel.
Anyone who prays to the Savior draws the whole world with him and raises it to God. Those who stand before the Lord are therefore fulfilling an eminent service. They are presenting to Christ all those who do not know him or are far from him; they keep watch in his presence on their behalf,”
– from Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II’s 1996 letter to the Bishop of Liege, written on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the first celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi
♥ WHERE ARE YOU GOING?Ah, who would not be touched? …. A God who weeps with so many tears at the loss of one soul and Who cries unceasingly: My friend, my friend, why proceedest thou thus to lose thy soul and thy God? Stop! Stop! Ah! Look at my tears, my Blood which flows yet. Must I die a second time to save thee? Look at me. Ah! Angels from Heaven descend upon earth, come and weep with me for the loss of this soul! Oh, that a Christian should be so unfortunate as to persevere still in running towards the abyss despite the voice which his God causes him to hear continually! But, you may say to me, no one says these things to us.
Oh my friends, unless you want to stop up your ears, you will hear the voice of God, which follows you unceasingly. Tell me, my friends, then, what is this remorse of conscience which overwhelms you in the midst of sin? Why do these anxieties and storms agitate you? Why this fear, this dread that you are in, when you seem to be forever expecting to be crushed by the thunders of Heaven?
How many times, even when you were sinning, have you not experienced the touch of an invisible hand which seemed to push you away, as if someone were saying: Unhappy man, what are you doing? Unhappy man, where are you going? Ah my son, why do you wish to damn yourself? ….Would you not agree with me that a Christian who despises so many graces deserves to be abandoned and rejected because he has not listened to the voice of God or profited by His graces?
On the contrary, my dear brethren, it is God Himself Who is scorned by this ungrateful soul who would seem to wish to put Him to death again. All creation demands vengeance, and it is, in fact, God alone Who wishes to save this soul and Who is opposed to all that could be prejudicial to it.He watches over its salvation as if it were the only soul in the world. St John Vianney“
God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.”
– St. Maximilian Kolbe
The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are.
Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.
–St. Francis De Sales
Dear brothers and sisters, I pray God may open your eyes and let you see what hidden treasures he bestows on us in the trials from which the world thinks only to flee. Shame turns into honor when we seek God’s glory. Present affliction become the source of heavenly glory. To those who suffer wounds in fighting his battles God opens his arms in loving, tender friendship. That is why he (Christ) tells us that if we want to join him, we shall travel the way he took. It is surely not right that the Son of God should go his way on the path of shame while the sons of men walk the way of worldly honor: “The disciple is not above his teacher, nor the servant greater than his master.”
–from a letter by Saint John of Avila
♥My dear brethren, not only is prayer very efficacious, but, even more, it is of the utmost necessity for overcoming the enemies of our salvation. Look at all the saints: they were not content with watching and fighting to overcome the enemies of their salvation and with keeping well away from all that could offer temptation to them. They passed their whole lives in prayer, not only the day, but very often the whole night.
Yes, my dear children, we will watch over ourselves and all the motions of our hearts in vain, in vain we will avoid temptation if we do not pray; if we do not have continual recourse to prayer, all our other ways will be of no use at all to us and we shall be overcome. We can see plainly that in the world there are a great many occasions when we cannot run away; for example, a child cannot run away from the society of his parents because of their bad example. But he can pray, and his prayer will sustain him.
Even supposing that we could run away from people who give us bad example, we cannot run away from ourselves, who are our biggest enemy. If our Lord does not watch over our preservation, all of our efforts will come to nothing. No, my children, we shall not find any sinner who may be converted who has not recourse to prayer, not one who will persevere without having very great recourse to prayer, and we shall never find a Christian damned whose downfall did not commence with a lack of prayer. We can see too how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there is no moment of the day when he tempts us more than at prayer.
He does everything he possibly can to prevent us from praying. When the Devil wants to make someone lose his soul, he starts out by inspiring in him a profound distaste for prayer. However good a Christian he may be, if the Devil succeeds in making him either say his prayers badly or neglect them altogether, he is certain to have him for himself.
If you wish to understand this even better, consider since when you have been unable to resist whatever temptations the Devil put in your way and since when you have left the door of your hearts open to the four winds — is it not since you began to get careless with your prayers, or have been saying them from habit, by routine only, or just to get rid of them, and not to please God? Yes, my dear brethren, from the moment that we neglect them, we move with big steps towards Hell: we shall never return to God if we do not have recourse to prayer.
Yes, my dear children, with a prayer well said, we can command Heaven and earth, and all will obey us.St John Vianney”Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart…don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love…
So, you will ask me, who then are the people most tempted? They are these, my friends; note them carefully. The people most tempted are those who are ready, with the grace of God, to sacrifice everything for the salvation of their poor souls, who renounce all those things which most people eagerly seek. It is not one devil only who tempts them, but millions seek to entrap them. We are told that St. Francis of Assisi and all his religious were gathered on an open plain, where they had built little huts of rushes. Seeing the extraordinary penances which were being practiced, St. Francis ordered that all instruments of penance should be brought out, whereupon his religious produced them in bundles.
At this moment there was one young man to whom God gave the grace to see his Guardian Angel. On the one side he saw all of these good religious, who could not satisfy their hunger for penance, and, on the other, his Guardian Angel allowed him to see a gathering of eighteen thousand devils, who were holding counsel to see in what way they could subvert these religious by temptation.
One of the devils said: “You do not understand this at all. These religious are so humble; ah, what wonderful virtue, so detached from themselves, so attached to God! They have a superior who leads them so well that it is impossible to succeed in winning them over. Let us wait until their superior is dead, and then we shall try to introduce among them young people without vocations who will bring about a certain slackening of spirit, and in this way we shall gain them.
“A little further on, as he entered the town, he saw a devil, sitting by himself beside the gate into the town, whose task was to tempt all of those who were inside. This saint asked his Guardian Angel why it was that in order to tempt this group of religious there had been so many thousands of devils while for a whole town there was but one — and that one sitting down. His good angel told him that the people of the town had not the same need of temptations, that they had enough bad in themselves, while the religious were doing good despite all the traps which the Devil could lay for them.
♥We can only find our happiness on earth in loving God, and we can only love Him in prayer to Him. We see that Jesus Christ, to encourage us often to have recourse to Him through prayer, promises never to refuse us anything if we pray for it as we should. But there is no need to go looking for elaborate and roundabout ways of showing you that we should pray often, for you have only to open your catechism and you will see there that the duty of every good Christian is to pray morning and evening and often during the day — that is to say, always….Which of us, my dear brethren, could, without tears of compassion, listen to those poor Christians who dare to say that they have not time to pray?
You have not the time! Poor blind creatures, which is the more precious action: to strive to please God and to save your soul, or to go out to feed your animals in the stable or to call your children or your servants in order to send them out to till the earth or to tidy up the stable? Dear God! How blind man is! …. You have not the time! But tell me, ungrateful creatures, if God had called you to die that night, would you have exerted yourselves? If He had sent you three or four months of illness, would you have exerted yourselves?
Go away, you miserable creatures; you deserve to have God abandon you in your blindness and leave you thus to perish. We find that it is too much to give Him a few minutes to thank Him for the graces which He is giving us at every instant! ….You must get on with your work, you say.That, my dear people, is where you are greatly mistaken. You have no other work to do except to please God and to save your souls. All the rest is not your work. If you do not do it, others will, but if you lose your soul, who will save it?
“In each of our lives Jesus comes as the Bread of Life – to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how He loves us. Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the Bread of our life, our hearts by loving, and our hands by serving. In loving and serving, we prove that we have been created in the likeness of God, for God is Love and when we love we are like God. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
– Mother Teresa of Calcutta
“We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more who are dying for a little love. Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread love everywhere you go.”
–Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. ”
–St. Clare of Assisi
♥ “You are the supreme and infinite Good, good above all good; good which is joyful, incomprehensible, inestimable; beauty exceeding all other beauty; wisdom surpassing all wisdom, because You are Wisdom itself. Food of angels, giving Yourself with fire of love to men! You are the garment which covers our nakedness; You feed us, hungry as we are, with Your sweetness, because You are all sweetness, with no bitterness. Clothe me, O eternal Trinity, clothe me with Yourself, so that I may pass this mortal life in true obedience and in the light of the most holy faith with which You have inebriated my soul.”
– St. Catherine of Siena
Psalm 117, known by the opening words in Latin as “Laudate dominum” (translated “O, Praise the Lord” or “Praise ye the Lord”), has been set to music by a number of composers, including William Byrd and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. From this century there is a setting by the Swedish composer Fredrik Sixten
♥ Neither wealth, nor honours, nor vanity can make a man happy during his life on earth, but only attachment to the service of God, when we are fortune enough to realise that and to carry it out properly. The woman who is held in contempt by her husband is not unhappy in her state because she is held in contempt but because she does not know her religion or because she does not practice what her religion tells her she should do. Teach her religion, and from the moment that you see her practice it, she will cease to complain and to consider herself unhappy. Oh! How happy man would be, even on this earth, if he knew his religion! ….
What power that person who is near to God possesses when he loves Him and serves Him faithfully! Alas, my dear brethren, anyone who is despised by worldly people, who appears to be unimportant and humble, look at him when he masters the very will and power of God Himself. Look at a Moses, who compels the Lord to grant pardon to three hundred thousand men who were indeed guilty. Look at Josue, who commanded the sun to stand still and the sun became immobile, a thing which never happened before and which perhaps will never happen again. Look at the Apostles: simply because they loved God, the devils fled before them, the lame walked, the blind saw, the dead arose to life. Look at St. Benedict, who commanded the rocks to stop in their course and they remained hanging in midair. Look at him who multiplied bread, who made water come out of rocks, and who disposed of the stones and the forest as easily as if they were wisps of straw.
Look at a St. Francis of Paula who commands the fish to come to hear the word of God and they respond to his call with such loyalty that they applaud his words. Look at a St. John who commands the birds to keep silent and they obey him. Look at many others who walk the seas without any human aid. Very well! Now take a look at all those impious people and all those famous ones of the world with all their wit and all their knowledge for achieving everything. Alas! Of what are they really capable? Nothing at all.And why not? Unless it is because they are not attached to the service of God. But how powerful and how happy at the same time is the person who knows his religion and who practices what it commands.St John Vianney
Why is it, my dear brethren, that when someone gives no thought at all to saving his soul, when he is living in sin, he is not tempted in the slightest, but that as soon as he wants to change his life, in other words, as soon as the desire to give his life to God comes to him, all Hell falls upon him? Listen to what St. Augustine has to say: “Look at the way,” he tells us, “in which the Devil behaves towards the sinner. He acts like a jailer who has a great many prisoners locked up in his prison but who, because he has the key in his pocket, is quite happy to leave them, secure in the knowledge that they cannot get out.
This is his way of dealing with the sinner who does not consider the possibility of leaving his sin behind. He does not go to the trouble of tempting him. He looks upon this as time wasted because not only is the sinner not thinking of leaving him, but the Devil does not desire to multiply his chains. It would be pointless, therefore, to tempt him. He allows him to live in peace, if, indeed, it is possible to live in peace when one is in sin. He hides his state from the sinner as much as is possible until death, when he then tries to paint a picture of his life so terrifying as to plunge him into despair. But with anyone who has made up his mind to change his life, to give himself up to God, that is another thing altogether.”
♥ While St. Augustine lived in sin and evil, he was not aware of anything by which he was tempted. He believed himself to be at peace, as he tells us himself. But from the moment that he desired to turn his back upon the Devil, he had to struggle with him, even to the point of losing his breath in the fight. And that lasted for five years. He wept the most bitter of tears and employed the most austere of penances: “I argued with him,” he says, “in my chains. One day I thought myself victorious, the next I was prostrate on the earth again. This cruel and stubborn war went on for five years. However, God gave me the grace to be victorious over my enemy.”
“Receive Communion often, very often…there you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing…”
♥ Alas, my dear brethren, the man who lives according to the direction of his passions and abandons the service of God is both unhappy and capable of so little! Put an army of one hundred thousand men around a dead man and let them employ all their power to bring him back to life. No, no, my dear children, he will not come to life again. But let someone who is despised by the world, but who enjoys the friendship of God, command this dead man to take up life again; immediately you will see him arise and walk. We have other proofs of this, too.
If it were necessary to be wealthy or to be very learned to serve God, a great many people would be unable to do it. But, no, my dear children, extensive learning or great wealth are not at all necessary for the service of God. On the contrary, they are often a very big obstacle to it. Yes, my dear brethren, let us be rich or poor, in whatever state we may be, learned or otherwise, we can please God and save our souls….
Listen to me for one moment and you will see that only the service of God will console us and make us happy in the midst of all the miseries of life. To accomplish it, you do not need to leave either your belongings, or your parents, or even your friends, unless they are leading you to sin. You have no need to go and spend the rest of your lives in the desert to weep there for your sins. If that were necessary for us, indeed, we should be very happy to have such a remedy for our ills. But no, a father and a mother of a family can serve God by living with their children and bringing them up in a Christian way.
A servant can very easily serve God and his master, with nothing to stop him.No, my dear brethren, the way of life which means serving God changes nothing in all that we have to do. On the contrary, we simply do better all the things we must do.
St John Vianney
“The guest of our soul knows our misery; He comes to find an empty tent within us – that is all He asks.”
– St. Therese of Lisieux
ACT OF CONTRITION
Forgive me my sins, 0 Lord, forgive me my sins; the sins of my youth, the sins of my age, the sins of my soul, the sins of my body, my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins, the sins I know and the sins I do not know; the sins I have concealed so long, and which are now hidden from my memory. I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial, for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour. I know my sins have wounded Thy Tender Heart, 0 my Savior, let me be freed from the bonds of evil, through the most bitter passion of my Redeemer. Amen.
Oh my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been. Amen.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus, known as the Golden Sequence, is the sequence for the Mass for Pentecost. It is commonly regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred Latin poetry ever written. Its beauty and depth have been praised by many. The hymn has been attributed to three different authors, King Robert II the Pious of France (970-1031), Pope Innocent III (1161-1216), and Stephen Langton (d 1228), Archbishop of Canterbury, of which the last is most likely the author.
If we were required to die twice, we could jettison one death. But man dies once only, and upon his death depends his eternity. Where the tree falls, there shall it lie. If, at the hour of his death, someone is living in some bad habit, his poor soul will fall on the side of Hell. If, on the other hand, he is in the state of grace, it will take the road for heaven. Oh, happy road! ….
Generally speaking, one dies as one has lived. That is one of the great truths which Holy Scripture and the Fathers repeat in many different places. If you live as good Christians, you will be sure to die as good Christians, but if you live badly, you will be sure to die a bad death. The prophet Isaias warns us that the impious man who thinks only of doing evil is in a woeful state, for he will be treated as he deserves. At death he will receive the reward for the work he has done. It is true, however, that sometimes, by a kind of miracle, one may begin badly and finish well, but that happens so rarely that, as St. Jerome puts it, death is generally the echo of life. You think that you will return then to God? No, you will perish in sin….
The Holy Ghost tells us that if we have a friend, we should do him some good before we die. Well, my dear brethren, could one have a better friend than one’s soul? Let us do all the good for it that we can, for at the moment when we would like to do our souls good, we shall be able to do no more! …. Life is short.
If you defer changing your ways until the hour of your death, you are blind, for you do not know either the time or the place where you will die, perhaps without any assistance. Who knows if you will not go this night, covered in your sins, before the tribunal of Jesus Christ? ….
Yes, my dear brethren, as life is, so is death. Do not hope for a miracle, which God but rarely performs. You are living in sin; very well, you will die in sin….
If we desire to die a good death, we must lead a Christian life.
And the way for us to prepare for a good death is to model our deaths upon the death of Jesus Christ.
Can the life of the good Christian be anything other than that of a man nailed to the Cross with Jesus Christ? St John Vianney
WINE IS HIS GOD
Habitual drunkenness is not one of those sins which time and grace will correct. To cure this sin, not an ordinary grace but a miracle of grace is required. You ask me why drunken people are so rarely converted. This is the reason: it is that they have neither faith, nor religion, nor pity, nor respect for holy things. Nothing is able to touch them or to open their eyes to their unhappy state.
If you try to frighten them with death, or judgment, or the Hell which is waiting to consume them, if you talk to them of the happiness which God is keeping for those who love Him, the only answer you will get is a sly little smile which means: “You think now that you are going to make me afraid, like you do the children, but I am not one of those people who fall for that.”
But look at what this means. Such a person believes that when we are dead, everything is finished. His god is his wine and he abides by it. The wine which he drinks to excess, the Holy Ghost warns him, is like a snake whose bite is death.
You believe none of this now, but in Hell you will learn that there was a God other than your stomach….
It is essential for the habitual drunkard to get out of this state in order that he may understand the full horror of it. But, unfortunately, he has no faith. He believes only very weakly in the truths which the Church teaches us. It is essential for him to have recourse to prayer, but he hardly says any prayers at all, or if he does, it will be while he is dressing or undressing, or again, he may be satisfied to make just the Sign of the Cross, after a fashion, as he throws himself down on his bed, like a horse in its stable.
It is essential that he should frequent the Sacraments, which are, in spite of the contempt with which the impious regard them, the sole remedies which the mercy of God offers us to draw us to Him. But, unfortunately, he does not even know the dispositions which he ought to cultivate in order to receive them worthily or even the bare essentials which he should know in order to save his soul. If you want to question him about his state, he understands nothing about it, as his contradictory answers show. If at the time of a Jubilee, or of a Mission, or something like that, he wants to keep up appearances, he will be content to tell barely the half of his sins, and, still burdened with the others, he will approach the altar.
That is to say, he will commit sacrilege; that will satisfy him. Dear God, what a dreadful state is that of the habitual drunkard and how hard it is to be able to leave it! The Prophet Isaias tells us that habitual drunkards are useless as far as the doing of good on earth is concerned but that they are very dangerous when it comes to the doing of evil. To convince ourselves of that, my dear brethren, go into a cabaret, which St. John Climacus calls the Devil’s Shop, the school where Hell holds forth and teaches its doctrine, the place where souls are sold, where homes are ruined, where health deteriorates, where quarrels begin, and where murders are committed.
…. What do you learn there? You know that better than I do….
Take a look at this poor drunkard, my dear brethren. He is full of wine and his purse is empty. He throws himself down on a bench or a table. He is amazed in the morning to find himself still in the cabaret, when he thought that he was at home. He takes himself off after having spent all his money, and often, in order to be able to leave, he is forced to leave his hat or coat in pledge for the wine he has drunk. When he arrives home, his poor wife and their children, whom he has left without bread, and only their eyes to weep with, have to take flight from him unless they want to be ill treated, as if they were the cause of his spending all his money and getting his affairs into the bad state in which they are. Ah, dear Lord, how deplorable is the state of the habitual drunkard!
The Council of Mayence [Mainz] wisely tells us that a drunkard breaks the Ten Commandments of God….
It is greatly to be feared that those who are gripped by this vice never cure themselves of it! ….
Let us pray to the all-merciful God to preserve us from it….