“Saints Are Intensely Themselves”

Intensely Themselves

Men are in their essential personality irreducibly diverse: but sin blots out the distinctions and reduces the diversity: sin drains out the color of the man (which is his own and inimitable) and replaces it with the color of sin which is common property: all sinners look less like themselves and more like one another. Saints are intensely themselves. …

Sin, being a following of the line of least resistance, inevitable lessens vitality: it takes no more vitality to go with the stream of inclination than with any other stream: but to go against, as the saint does, demands immense vitality.

- Frank Sheed, from his ‘Assembler’s Note’ in the book Saints are Not Dead

What did you say?

I find Christ to be popular for many things, much of which drew the attention of many, however, not all kept up their interest in his teaching. Many came for health remedies, some came to be entertained and astonished, some to socialise. Despite their differences, Jesus continued to challenge them. He offered His followers good, sound teaching, and people would notice the effect of treating each other as Christ did “because you did it for the least of my brethren, you did it for me!”

A call to be “the salt of the earth,”  should be a constant, daily reminder to each of us. It was a teaching which the disciples of Jesus were to be life preservers of this world, although in a loss of zest for the truth, they would become useless. He calls them “the light of the world.” But how does our light shine? It shines by remaining ‘on’, when we make decisions daily that enable it to remain ‘on’. What effect does this have on the world around us? It doesn’t take long before we hear the witness of those who have been influenced by the living light of a Christian woman or man.

Let your light shine, whatever the circumstance. Keep it on, don’t hide it or be ashamed for fear of rejection.

Jesus gift of the Spirit is our source of strength in continuing to be a disciple.

Remember your Guardian Angel

Angel of God, my guardian dear,

To whom God’s love commits me here,

Ever this day be at my side,

To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.


I pray this prayer often; it can seem like a childish devotion, and that we have guardian angels is not an ‘article of faith’, but it is nonetheless a valid part of our faith.

Our guardian angels are always with God (Mt 18:10) and they are with us – we couldn’t even know how much they can, and do, help us out.

Know that they’re not like a kind of pet, though; we don’t own our guardian angel. How amazing that we can participate with them in life with God! Think about your guardian angel praising God with you during Mass; how amazing! And then think about everyone else’s guardian angels being there at Mass too, along with countless other angels – how much more amazing! guardianangel1


A secret revelation


And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.” [Mk 8:28]

Many retreats and reflections have been made on this very question! What is your answer? Do you answer as Peter does?

Jesus responds to Peter and the Apostles by warning them not to tell anyone about Him. Why does Jesus give this warning? Because Jesus understands that Peter has not understood who He really is. Jesus makes this obvious in the next few verses.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. [Mk 8:31]

Peter then took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him…

At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” [MK 8:33]

Peter, wanting to protect Jesus from harm, does not understand that Jesus, the Messiah, is the suffering servant we hear about in Isaiah 53.

Peter has not understood the Messianic secret about who Jesus truly is.

What is your answer to Jesus’ question, who do you say I am? How would Jesus answer you? Has the Messianic secret been revealed to you?


Woman, you have great faith.


Sunday’s readings above.

What does Jesus want to teach us here about prayer? We see a woman of great faith, who asks Jesus for a healing for her daughter but He replies with what seems like very harsh words “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house dogs”. The food that Christ wants to give is himself, but He tells her that this food is first of all for the Jewish people (the chosen people of God who are His children), not because he came for them alone but because he wants to draw out something much deeper in this woman. He doesn’t owe her anything, just like he doesn’t owe us anything in prayer, but he loves us and wants to give us what is best. He wants to reveal the deeper intentions of her heart and often times we find that in our prayer. Jesus does not grant us what we think we should have but seeks out what is best in us. It is here that the “Word of God is alive and active, Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12). This woman accepted Christs reply in poverty. She realized that he owed her nothing and she acknowledged this before him, but in faith asks him anyway. It is here that we call upon the mercy of God, to give us something when we don’t deserve it… and it is here that Christ reveals how much he loves us, wanting to give to us what we don’t deserve. This woman humbled herself and Christ exalted her. 



And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.
- 1 Samuel 15:22

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.”
- Hebrews 13:17

dog training and obedience_rObedience is one of the most difficult, misunderstood and yet essential aspects of the Christian life. But instead of having me talk about it, I’m going to let the saints – those who lived in true obedience to the Will of God – share their thoughts.

It is obedience and obedience alone that shows us God’s will with certainty. Of course our superiors may err, but it cannot happen that we, holding fast to our obedience, should be led into error by this. There is only one exception: if the superior commands something that would obviously involve breaking God’s law, however slightly. In that case the superior could not be acting as a faithful interpreter of God’s will.
Through obedience we transcend our own limitations and align ourselves with God’s will, which, with infinite wisdom and prudence, guides us to do what is best.
This is the path of wisdom and prudence, this is the one way by which we can come to give God the highest glory. After all, if there had been another, better way, Christ would certainly have shown it to us, by word and by example. But in fact sacred Scripture wraps up his entire long life in Nazareth with the words ‘and he was obedient to them’ and it shows the rest of his life to have been passed in similar obedience – almost as an instruction to us – by showing how he came down to Earth to do the Father’s will.
- from a letter of Maximilian Kolbe, in the Office of Readings on his feast day

Now what is the surest way to know and ascertain what God requires of us? There is no surer way than to practice obedience to our Superiors and directors.
St Alphonsus Ligouri, in his book ‘The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ’

To desert an occupation given by obedience in order to unite ourselves to God by prayer, by reading, or by recollection, would be to withdraw from God to unite ourselves to our own self-love.
- St Francis de Sales, quoted by St Alphonsus

A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more than a whole vase full of the choicest contemplations.
- St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, from her revelations

My daughter, know that you give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience than by long prayers and mortifications.
- St Faustina, from the revelations recorded in her book ‘Divine Mercy in My Soul’

He who always acts under obedience may be assured that he will not have to give an account of his actions to God.
- St Philip Neri, from his ‘Daily Maxims’

Obedience unites us so closely to God that in a way transforms us into Him, so that we have no other will but His. If obedience is lacking, even prayer cannot be pleasing to God.
- St Thomas Aquinas