John Henry Newman: Do Not Despair – He Gives Grace by Little and Little Monday, Oct 18 2010 

And if you are conscious that your hearts are hard, and are desirous that they should be softened, do not despair.

All things are possible to you, through God’s grace. Come to Him for the will and the power to do that to which He calls you.

He never forsakes anyone who calls upon him. He never puts any trial on a man but He gives Him grace to overcome it.

Do not despair then; nay do not despond, even though you do come to Him, yet are not at once exalted to overcome yourselves.

He gives grace by little and little. It is by coming daily into His presence, that by degrees we find ourselves awed by that presence and able to believe and obey Him.

Therefore if any one desires illumination to know God’s will as well as strength to do it, let him come to Mass daily, if he possibly can.

At least let him present himself daily before the Blessed Sacrament, and, as it were, offer his heart to His Incarnate Saviour, presenting it as a reasonable offering to be influenced, changed and sanctified under the eye and by the grace of the Eternal Son.

And let him every now and then through the day make some short prayer or ejaculation, to the Lord and Saviour, and again to His Blessed Mother, the immaculate most Blessed Virgin Mary, or again to his guardian Angel, or to his Patron Saint.

Let him now and then collect his mind and place himself, as if in heaven, in the presence of God; as if before God’s throne; let him fancy he sees the All-Holy Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

These are the means by which, with God’s grace, he will be able in course of time to soften his heart—not all at once, but by degrees; not by his own power or wisdom, but by the grace of God blessing his endeavour.

Thus it is that Saints have begun. They have begun by these little things, and so become at length Saints. They were not saints all at once, but by little and little.

And so we, who are not saints, must still proceed by the same road; by lowliness, patience, trust in God, recollection that we are in His presence, and thankfulness for His mercies.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Catholic Sermons of Cardinal Newman, 3: The Calls of Grace.

Thomas à Kempis: The Beginning of all Temptation Lies in a Wavering Mind and Little Trust in God Wednesday, Oct 6 2010 

So long as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation. Whence it is written in Job: “The life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7:1).

[…] Yet temptations, though troublesome and severe, are often useful to a man, for in them he is humbled, purified, and instructed.

The saints all passed through many temptations and trials to profit by them, while those who could not resist became reprobate and fell away.

There is no state so holy, no place so secret that temptations and trials will not come. Man is never safe from them as long as he lives, for they come from within us—in sin we were born.

When one temptation or trial passes, another comes; we shall always have something to suffer because we have lost the state of original blessedness.

[…] Little by little, in patience and long-suffering you will overcome them, by the help of God rather than by severity and your own rash ways.

Often take counsel when tempted; and do not be harsh with others who are tempted, but console them as you yourself would wish to be consoled.

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.

Someone has said very aptly: “Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay the evil has gained strength.”

First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry.

And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.

[…] 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.

Thomas à Kempis (c.1380-1471): The Imitation of Christ, 1, 13.

Cyprian of Carthage: Patience is a Thing of God Thursday, Sep 16 2010 

Saint-Cyprian-of-CarthagePatience is a thing of God, and whoever is gentle, and patient, and meek, is an imitator of God the Father.

Accordingly, when the Lord in His Gospel was giving precepts for salvation, and, bringing forth divine warnings, was instructing His disciples to perfection, He said:

“…I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them which persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven”.

He said that the children of God would thus become perfect.

He showed that they were thus completed, and taught that they were restored by a heavenly birth, if the patience of God our Father dwell in us—if the divine likeness, which Adam had lost by sin, be manifested and shine in our actions.

What a glory is it to become like to God! What and how great a felicity, to possess among our virtues, that which may be placed on the level of divine praises!

[…] He also maintained the patience of His Father in the constancy of His endurance. All His actions, even from His very advent, are characterized by patience as their associate.

First of all, coming down from that heavenly sublimity to earthly things, the Son of God did not scorn to put on the flesh of man, and although He Himself was not a sinner, to bear the sins of others.

His immortality being in the meantime laid aside, He suffers Himself to become mortal, so that the guiltless may be put to death for the salvation of the guilty.

The Lord is baptized by the servant; and He who is about to bestow remission of sins, does not Himself disdain to wash His body in the laver of regeneration.

For forty days He fasts, by whom others are feasted. He is hungry, and suffers famine, that they who had been in hunger of the word and of grace may be satisfied with heavenly bread.

He wrestles with the devil tempting Him; and, content only to have overcome the enemy, He strives no farther than by words.

He ruled over His disciples not as servants in the power of a master, but, kind and gentle, He loved them with a brotherly love.

He deigned even to wash the apostles’ feet, that since the Lord is such among His servants, He might teach, by His example, what a fellow-servant ought to be among his peers and equals.

Cyprian of Carthage (d.258): On Patience, 5-6.

« Previous Page