Monday, January 30, 2012

curling up in a book

I know what it’s like to curl up with a good book.  I also know the joy of curling up WITHIN one, nestling into a volume and living inside its pages, carrying its atmosphere with me for days and months thereafter. 

Which is why I choose my books very, very carefully. 

As a cloistered heart, desiring to view all things through the "grillwork of the will of God," I don't want just anything to form my outlook. Like a child imitating the grownups around her, I want to model my attitudes and actions on the genuinely holy "grownups in the Faith" who have left a legacy of words. I pray to see as they have seen, to grow as they have grown…

"In the midst of these natural fears, a strong thought took possession of my heart: ‘Ah, how good it would be to be able to imitate St. Paul and to see myself in fetters for the love of Jesus, who was bound for me...’  This sweet thought prevailed so strongly in my soul that I desired those chains more than I feared captivity….we never find crosses, nails, or thorns in the midst of which, if we look closely, we do not find Jesus Christ… When I saw myself surrounded by murderous waves, by infinite forests, and by a thousand dangers, there came to my mind that precious saying of St. Ignatius the Martyr: ‘today I begin to be the disciple of Christ.’  For what do so many exercises, so many fervent meditations, so many eager desires avail?  All these are nothing but wind if we do not put them into practice.’"  (Paul Le Jeune, quoted in Jesuit Missionaries to North America by Francois Roustang SJ, Ignatius Press, 2006, pp. 100-101)

"I keep going forward bravely - though my feet become wounded - to my homeland and, on the way, I nourish myself on the will of God.  It is my food.  Help me, happy inhabitants of the heavenly homeland, so that your sister may not falter on the way." (St. Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (Diary), Marians of the Immaculate Conception, 1996, p. 347)

"If I can’t breathe, God will give me the strength to bear it.  I love Him!  He’ll never abandon me."  (St. Therese of Lisieux, Her Last Conversations, ICS Publications, p. 115)

"The contemplative has a special way of reading books…. he uses them as intermediaries to arrive at … that experimental knowledge of God which tastes the sweetness of His infinite goodness." (Monks of the Strict Observance, Cistercian Contemplatives, 1947, p. 54)