Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wisdom from…

ST. THOMAS DE VILLANOVA (1527–1591): The Laws of Christ

Christ's laws are life-giving, and what he commands is pure nourishment for us. He feeds us with health, joy, honor, and peace through the laws he lays down for us to live by. For as the prophet says: In you is the fountain of life, and by your light we shall see light. For the life and the vision which are true being, and the works which are in accordance with such being, are born in and come forth from his laws, both those he grants us through grace, and those he prescribes for us as ordinances. Hence also the complaint against us, so just and so deeply-felt, which he makes through Jeremiah: They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have hewn out for themselves cisterns, cracked cisterns, which hold no water. For although he is our guide to true pasture and well-being, we choose to go our own way, which leads to death; and although he is the fountain, we search for wells; and although that fountain is always flowing, we prefer cracked cisterns which hold no water. And undoubtedly, as Christ's commands are the real nourishment of our life, so the wrong choices we make, and the ways we follow when led by our own whims, deserve no better description than that given them by the prophet.
(The Names of Christ I, 1.)

Thomas was an Augustinian friar, was a poet, mystic, scriptural scholar, and theologian; above all he was a holy man who suffered much for his beliefs. He was the editor of the works of Saint Teresa of Jesus of Avila.

ST. AUGUSTINE: Absence of Friends

One day, you yourself will begin to have to surrender some of the very dearest of those you have reared, to the needs of the church situated far from you. It is then that you will understand the pangs of longing that stab me on losing the physical presence of friends united to me in the most close and sweet intimacy.
-- Letter 84, 1

Prayer. As long as we are here, let us ask God not to deprive us of our prayer and his mercy, so that we may pray with perseverance and he may have mercy with his perseverance.
-- Commentary on Psalm 65, 24

The ability and impulse to ask for and wait upon grace, are themselves grace!


Desire either to die or to love God; either death or love, because life without love of God is much worse than death. My God, how happy we will be if with all our hearts we love the Divine Goodness, which has prepared for us so many favors and blessings! We are totally His amid the tumult that the variety of earthly things presents to us. How better can we show our fidelity, if not in the midst of trials and crosses? Solitude has its assaults and the world its annoyances; on all occasions we must have an invincible soul, since help from Heaven is at hand for all who trust in God and with quiet humility implore His loving assistance. Look up to Heaven and say to the Lord: "My God, for you I sail, for You I row; You are my guide and my pilot! Then console me, so that I will safely reach the port and find the sweet pleasures that will make me forget all the hardships undergone to get there."
(Letters 614; O. XIV, p. 339)

THERE is more simplicity in the man who eats caviar on impulse than in the man who eats grape-nuts on principle.

1 comment:

Brad Haas said...

I love the St. Francis quote.