Quotations: December 2006 Archives

"Be faithful in little things. . ."


I don't know that Blessed Dom Columba was particularly influenced by St. Therese, although he did write a notice supporting the cause of her beatification; however, their messages converge at several points. And I must conclude from this convergence that God chose that particular time in history to clarify the path to Him. For what reason, I cannot say, but it appears that these two great directors of souls really found one very simple way which we still have not come to terms with.

from Union with God
Blessed Dom Columba Marmion

Be faithful in little things, not out of meticulousness, but out of love. Do this to prove to Our Lord that you have the love of a spouse for HIm.


It is a question of giving the first moments of the day to Our Lord or to His enemy, and the whole day bears the reflection of this first choice.


Let us labor to give ourselves to Jesus in the person of others. That admits of much interior renunciation.

Although St. Therese remarked very little on the enemy of God, she certainly taught a lot about doing little things with great faithfulness. Extraordinary measures need not be taken--the ordinary round of life provides ample opportunity for holiness and sanctity. And one of our chief services may be a smile at someone who receives very few.

What these two great spiritual guides did was strip away prolixity, method, and the encrustation of routine. They demanded of themselves and of those who would accept the path they showed an authenticity and a presence that some prior spiritualities tended to obscure. These two stand as great servants of God in the present moment under the present circumstances in present company.

This is nothing new. Brother Lawrence taught sanctity among the pots and pans. St. Benedict's rule emphasizes the "ordinariness" of sanctifying the day.

But these two Saints expressed this simple truth in words for the time. Straightforward, direct, uncompromising--the two tell us in no uncertain terms that the path to holiness is not turning our steps a different direction as we go to market, but turning our hearts a different direction whichever way we go. A transformation of the heart and attentiveness to God in the details of the day is all the fuel we need to accept the Grace of God's omnipresence. We need do nothing extraordinary, we just need to be aware of how extraordinary every moment in His presence is; how every opportunity of the day is an opportunity for grace, peace, love, and security in His presence. He is in every second, every moment of every day. And every moment of every day is His special gift to us.

Generations of teachers have taught this, and still we go looking for the extraordinary. While it is exemplary practice to wake early and spend time in Eucharistic adoration, it is just as extraordinary to recognize Jesus in the presence of our coworkers and to greet Him.

Faithfulness in the small things--in preparing lunch for a hungry child, in taking time out to comfort a sorrowing friend, in smiling at a neighbor, in giving way in traffic although you have every right to continue, in letting God be present through you and in you in every encounter and interaction. Surrender, abandonment of self. And in this season, the abandonment of self to the hope of the Incarnation. We have the face of the baby Jesus to look upon and to delight in. We can join the chorus of the angels in His acclaim. We can sing,

"For unto us a son is given
and his name shall be called
wonderful, counselor, prince of peace, mighty god, holy one,

And it is on that last that we should spend a moment in mediation as we practice the direction of Blessed Columba and St. Therese. Emmanuel--"god with us." For indeed He is, in every moment, in every breath, in every person, in every event, in all that comes to us in the course of the day. Jesus, our Emmanuel, ever present, comforter, King and Brother. Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay, we await you moment by moment, let us see your face in each person who greets us, and more importantly let each person see your light shining out from us. Come, Lord Jesus.

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I can't help it. Two more words from Dom Columba, words that reflect the wisdom of all the Saints through the ages.

from Union with God
Blessed Dom Columba Marmion

Do all things solely for love of Our Lord and, for love of HIm, accept all that He permits; give yourself up to love without looking either to the right or the left. Accept, without troubling yourself about them, the annoyances and difficulties through which you are passing at present. What you have to do by obedience, do as well as ever you can, but without being anxious whether others are pleased with you or blame you, whether they love you or don't love you. It ought to be enough for you to be loved by Our Lord.


Try to smile lovingly at every manifestation of God's will.

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"When you feel invited. . ."


from Union with God
Dom Columba Marmion

When you feel invited to remain in silence at Our Lord's feet like Magdalen just looking at Him with your heart without saying anything, don't cast about for any thoughts or reasonings, but just remain in loving adoration. Follow the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. If He invites you to beg, beg; if to be silent, remain silent; if to show you misery to God, just do so. Let Him play on the fibers of your heart like a harpist, and draw forth the melody He wishes for the Divine Spouse.

Souls like your, called to interior prayer, are often greatly tempted in all ways, by the sense; to blasphemy, pride, etc. Don't be afraid. You can't do anything more glorious to God or more useful to souls than to give yourself to Him. . .

In prayer, don't cast about for useful things to do, or things to occupy the mind while the prayer time continues. Do as God invites you to do; heed the Holy Spirit and you cannot go awry.

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Union with God


Before another moment passes, race over to Disputations and put your name in the lottery for this magnificent book.

This brief notice will not do it justice. I write in the fever of a quick review and hope to draw out from the book over the coming days and weeks some evidence of my enthusiasm.

Dom Columba Marmion's book, a publication of the really superlative Zaccheus Press, is a magnificent companion to and continuation of Jean Pierre de Caussade's Abandonment to Divine Providence. In saying that, I don't wish to diminish its unique qualities--they are many--the gentleness of the voice of Dom Columba, his erudition, and his careful tailoring of his teaching to the individual student, while never compromising the truth. Truly, this is an inspiring, hope-giving work. For those of us in the trenches, who seem like we never move forward, Dom Columba raises the battle cry that will jolt us out of complacency and send us forward.

A couple of examples at random:

from Union with God
Dom Columba Marmion

For you, it is not good to scrutinize the lowest depths of your soul. If during prayer, God throws His light into your soul and in this light reveals to you, your misery and baseness, it is a signal grace. But your are not in a state to examine and analyze your soul in a natural light.

You must be persuaded that your sinful past is in no way an obstacle to very close union with God. God forgives, and His forgiveness is Divine. With the Angels, God was not merciful because they had no miseries. With us, who are full of miseries, God is infinitely merciful. "The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord."

And what might appear astonishing, but is however very true, is that our miseries entitle us to God's mercy.

The little Infant Who is in our heart is gazing on the Face of His FAther. "In the presence of God for us." He sees in His Father's Eternal love the place you occupy, God's plan for you, a plan so minute that "not a hair of your head falls without Him." Give yourself up to Jesus, the Eternal Wisdom in order that He may lead you and guide you to the fulfillment of that ideal.

Each small section provides food for long and fruitful meditation. Magnificent and beautiful.

This year give the Christmas, New Year's, or Lenten gift of hope, love, and Eternal mercy. If you know someone who needs a good source of spiritual reading, this is the book for them. And while you're at it, drop a line to Mr. O'Leary to thank him for bringing these wonderful works back into print. We are truly blessed with our small Catholic Publishers. Let's support them.

Also, look here to see Vultus Christi's much more coherent, cogent review of the same work.

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For those who wish to know the "intimate" St. John of the Cross, you probably could do no better than to read the very brief, but very rich "Sayings of Light and Love" from which the quotation below is extracted.

16. O sweetest love of God, so little known, whoever has found this rich mine is at rest!

Where your heart is, there is your treasure. Where your treasure is, so you will find your heart. I can think of no greater treasure than the love of God, and yet my heart dwells there so infrequently.

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More from St. John of the Cross


From "Sayings of Light and Love"

13. God desires the least degree of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering him.

Too often I want to "do things for God," when, in fact, what God requires and desires is that I simply listen to Him and obey Him.

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The World and God's Love


from Sayings of Light and Love
St. John of the Cross

The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more.

On the community of believers:

Source as noted above

7. The virtuous soul that is alone and without a master is like a lone burning coal; it will grow colder rather than hotter.
8. Those who fall alone remain alone in their fall, and they value their soul little since they entrust it to themselves alone.
9. If you do not fear falling alone, do you presume that you will rise up alone? Consider how much more can be accomplished by two together than by one alone.

Although originally written for cloistered nuns, I think the truth of these statements resonates for every Catholic.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Quotations category from December 2006.

Quotations: November 2006 is the previous archive.

Quotations: January 2007 is the next archive.

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