Monday, January 31, 2011

Act of Faith, Hope, and Love

My God, I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things with all my soul, with all my heart and with all my strength; I love Thee because Thou art infinitely good and worthy of being love; and because I love Thee, I repent with all my heart of having offended Thee; have mercy on me, a sinner.  Amen.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gaudium et Spes

From Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World:

Through Christ and in Christ light is thrown on the enigma of pain and death which overwhelms us without His Gospel to teach us. Christ has risen, destroying death by His own death; He has given us the free gift of life so that as sons in the Son we may cry out in the Spirit, saying "Abba, Father!"

Friday, January 28, 2011

St. Thomas Aquinas

The beginning of Summa Theologica:

Because the doctor of Catholic truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but also to instruct beginners (according to theApostle: As unto little ones in Christ, I gave you milk to drink, not meat -- 1 Corinthians 3:1-2), we purpose in this book to treat of whatever belongs to the Christian religion, in such a way as may tend to the instruction of beginners. We have considered that students in this doctrine have not seldom been hampered by what they have found written by other authors, partly on account of the multiplication of useless questions, articles, and arguments, partly also because those things that are needful for them to know are not taught according to the order of the subject matter, but according as the plan of the book might require, or the occasion of the argument offer, partly, too, because frequent repetition brought weariness and confusion to the minds of readers.

Endeavouring to avoid these and other like faults, we shall try, by God's help, to set forth whatever is included in this sacred doctrine as briefly and clearly as the matter itself may allow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Blessing from Numbers 6:24-26

May the LORD bless you and keep you:
May the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you:
May the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Prayer

O gracious and holy God,
Give us wisdom to perceive You,
Intelligence to understand You,
Diligence to seek You,
Patience to wait for You,
Eyes to see You,
A heart to meditate on You,
And a life to proclaim You
Through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, January 24, 2011

St. Francis de Sales

In the creation God commanded the plants of the earth to bring forth fruit, each after its kind; and in a similar way He commands Christians, who are the living plants of His Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each according to his calling and vocation.  There is a different practice of devotion for the gentleman and the mechanic; for the prince and the servant; for the wife, the maiden, and the widow; and still further, the practice of devotion must be adapted to the capabilities, the engagements, and the duties of each individual.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.  And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guigo II on Lectio Divina

One day when I was busy working with my hands I began to think about our spiritual work, and all at once four stages in spiritual exercise came into my mind: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.  These make a ladder for monks by which they are lifted up from earth to heaven.  It has few rungs, yet its length is immense and wonderful, for its lower end rests upon the earth, but its top pierces the clouds and touches heavenly secrets.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sacrosanctum Concilium

The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God.  Because they are signs they also instruct.  They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it.  That is why they are called "sacraments of faith".  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

St. Hildegarde of Bingen

Quoted in Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel's Praying to Our Lord Jesus Christ:

Jesus Christ, the love that gives love,
You are higher than the highest star;
You are deeper than the deepest sea;
You cherish us as Your own family;
You embrace us as Your own spouse;
You rule over us as Your own subjects;
You welcome us as Your dearest friend;
Let all the world worship You.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

St. Paschasius Rabert

Quoted in Josef Pieper's On Hope:

Christ is held by the hand of hope. We hold Him and are held. But it is a greater good that we are held by Christ than that we hold Him. For we can hold Him only so long as we are held by Him.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

St. Ambrose

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.

Monday, January 17, 2011

St. Bridget

From St. Bridget as quoted in Fr. Paul O'Sullivan's The Wonders of the Mass:

One day when I was assisting at the Holy Sacrifice, I saw an immense number of Holy Angels descend and gather around the altar, contemplating the priest. They sang heavenly canticles that ravished my heart; Heaven itself seemed to be contemplating the great Sacrifice. And yet we poor, blind and miserable creatures assist at the Mass with so little love, relish and respect! Oh, if God would open our eyes, what wonders should we not see!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

St. Ignatius of Antioch

From St. Ignatius of Antioch's Letter to the Ephesians:

So in your harmony of mind and heart the song you sing is Jesus Christ. Every one of you should form a choir, so that, in harmony of sound through harmony of hearts, and in unity taking the note from God, you may sing with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Clement 36:1-2

This is the path, loved ones, in which we have found our salvation - Jesus Christ, the high priest of our offerings, the benefactor who helps us in our weakness.  Through this One we gaze into the heights of heaven;...through this One the eyes of our hearts are opened; through this One our foolish and darkened understanding springs up into the light...

Friday, January 14, 2011

St. Therese of Lisieux

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

St. Athanasius

From St. Athanasius' Discourse Against the Pagans:

The almighty and most holy Word of the Father pervades the whole of reality, everywhere unfolding His power and shining on all things visible and invisible. He sustains it all and binds it together in Himself. He leaves nothing devoid of His power but gives life and keeps it in being throughout all of creation and in each individual creature.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Classic

From Augustine's Confessions, Book I:

Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and Thy wisdom infinite. And Thee would man praise; man, but a particle of Thy creation; man, that bears about him his mortality, the witness of his sin, the witness that Thou resistest the proud: yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dei Verbum

From Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation or Dei Verbum, chapter VI, number 21:

"In the sacred books the Father Who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet His children, and talks with them.  And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life.  Scripture verifies in the most perfect way the words: 'The Word of God is living and active' (Heb. 4:12), and 'is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified' (Acts 20:32; cf. 1 Th. 2:13)."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mary the Dawn

Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!
Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the Wheat, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the Stem; Christ the Rose blood red!
Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the Cup, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the Temple, Christ the temple's Lord;
Mary the Shine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven's Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the Mother, Christ the mother's Son
By all things blest while endless ages run.  Amen.

This anonymous hymn is one of the hymn choices for Sunday's evening prayer in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It perfectly captures the role of the Mother of God and her relationship with her Divine Son.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Amina Christi

A fourteenth-century prayer honoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Your wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me 
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
And with Thy angels
Forever and ever.

Welcome to the Catholic Commonplace Book

Scholars, readers, and writers have kept commonplace books for centuries to record and remember interesting facts, favorite book passages, and relevant ideas.  Keepers of commonplace books, including John Milton, Francis Bacon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, wrote down everything from scientific observations and mathematical calculations to poems and prayers. 

This online version of a commonplace book will focus mainly on quotations, meditations, and prayers from a wide variety of Catholic sources, both ancient and modern.  I will add a new "entry" each day, so readers will always have something fresh to discover and ponder.  

Welcome, enjoy, and please feel free to comment.