I find the practical and simple words of St. Jane de Chantal incredibly comforting and useful. She wrote this letter to her own brother, who was the Archbishop of Bourges, and was indeed suffering from mental and physical difficulties:
When you are experiencing some physical pain or a sorrowful heart, try to endure it before God, recalling as much as you can that He is watching you at this time of affliction, especially in physical illness when very often the heart is weary and unable to pray. Don’t force yourself to pray, for a simple adherence to God’s will, expressed from time to time, is enough. Moreover, suffering born in the will quietly and patiently is a continual, very powerful prayer before God, regardless of the complaints and anxieties that come from the inferior part of the soul.
Interior Castle is the work of 16th century Carmelite nun and Christian mystic St. Teresa of Avila. She wrote Interior Castle as a spiritual guide to union with God. Her inspiration for the work came from a vision she received from God. In it, there was a crystal globe with seven mansions, with God in the innermost mansion. St. Teresa interpreted this vision as an allegory for the soul’s relationship with God; each mansion represents one place on a path towards the “spiritual marriage”–i.e. union–with God in the seventh mansion.
Read it at CCEL
A sequel and continuation of Ascent of Mount Carmel, the Dark Night of the Soul is a spiritually moving and mystical book. In it, St. John of the Cross continues his description of the soul’s journey–the “dark night”–to the “divine union of the love of God.”
Read Ascent of Mount Carmel at CCEL
Read Dark Night of the Soul at CCEL
St. Therese of Lisieux was born at Alencon, Normandy. In 1886 she underwent a religious conversion and thereafter dedicated herself to monastic life. Entering the Carmelite convent at Lisieux at fifteen, she was appointed assistant novice mistress in 1893. One year before her death (1897) from tuberculosis, she volunteered to join the Carmelite missionaries in China.
Her devotional book, The Little Way, was widely acclaimed, as was her autobiography The Story of a Soul. Miracles of healing and prophecy soon were attributed to her name, and an account of these was appended in 1907 to the autobiography.
Read The Story of A Soul At CCEL
Read The Poems of St. Therese at CCEL
Saint Pope John Paul II
– All of those who suffer, especially the innocent, may feel themselves called to participate in the work of redemption, carried out through the cross
– The suffering of the innocent is especially valuable in the eyes of the Lord
– Even when the darkness is deepest, faith points to a trusting acknowledgment: ‘I know that you can do all things’
– Is it not logical that we accept suffering?
– Taking up the cross is the obligation of whoever follows Jesus
– The sufferings of Christ are a cause of rejoicing
– The future glory surpasses all suffering
Saint Thomas Aquinas
– Death and all consequent bodily defects are punishments of original sin
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
– Original sin subjected all human nature to suffering
– Sufferings: a means of cooperating with God
– Means of purification and of salvation
– From the greatest of all moral evils God has brought forth the greatest of all goods
Catechism of the Catholic Church
– A new meaning for suffering – participation in the saving work of Jesus
– Makes a person more mature, helping to discern what is not essential
Saint John Chrysostom
– The remedy against pride; the power of God in weak men
“With Pope Francis I have nothing.”
Indeed, you are right. You have had this poison – that was all you had to eat – taken away and are through the withdrawal and are now faced with the task of rebuilding your strength on wholesome, real food.
Having been forced to abandon your Papal Positivist heresy, you have nothing false, nothing deadly, nothing soul-killing, you are no longer taking a daily dose of poison. With Pope Francis you, we all, have had the glamour stripped away from Novusordoism so that we can all finally see it for what it is. You have had the unworthy caricature of Catholicism taken away from you, as it was shown to be a worthless fraud, a counterfeit. I would suggest that this is a positive step.
To switch analogies for a moment, imagine that the Faith is a life preserver.
Any directory like this is bound to have lacunae for no scholar can know everything. Nevertheless, Fr Hardon comes close. His learning was famously encyclopedic. He gives each author a couple of pages. He describes their lives, their cultural context, their writings and then recommends some further reading. As the writers are listed chronologically you can get a sense of the flow of history and how one leads on to the next and how they influence one another.
This book is a Catholic reading list of a lifetime.
Read more from Fr. Longenecker
See the whole list (PDF)
Saturday, The Washington Post described the synod as a “brawl over Francis’ vision of inclusion.”
Reporter Anthony Faiola compared the synod deliberations to a Tea Party rebellion in John Boehner’s House caucus, and the pope to a change agent like Barack Obama who finds himself blocked and frustrated by conservatives.
Saturday’s document from the synod ignored the call for a new Church stance toward homosexual unions. And it did not approve of giving Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, whom the Church considers to be living in adultery.
Yet, in Sunday’s sermon the pope seemed angered by both the defiance of the resisting bishops and the conclusions the synod reached.