Ethiopia, Eritrea, Lebanon… the pope spoke at length about the Eastern Catholic Churches in his general audience. Most Catholics are so poorly catechized that they would listen to the entire thing and have no clue. Don’t let those in your care and circle of influence continue in this ignorance.
Spend a couple minutes every now and then discussing Eastern Catholicism—the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches that use 7 different rites—so they can watch this simple audience and understand the basics of what the pope is saying.
People say that if you feel no inclination to pray, it is better not to pray; but this is crafty, carnal sophistry.
If you only pray when you are inclined to, you will completely cease praying; this is what the flesh desires.
‘The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence’ (Matt 11:12).
You will not be able to work out your salvation without forcing yourself.
- St. John of Kronstadt
You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.
— St Seraphim of Sarov
Do not say… that one or two books is sufficient for instructing the soul. After all, even the bee collects honey not from one or two flowers only, but from many. Thus also he who reads the books of the Holy Fathers is instructed by one in faith or in right thinking, by another in silence and prayer, by another in obedience and humility and patience, by another in self-reproach and in love for God and neighbor; and, to speak briefly, from many books of the Holy Fathers a man is instructed in life according to the Gospel.
- St. Paisius Velichkovsky
By the grace of God, let the continuous fast begin … Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me, a sinner.
"Let thy mind fast from vain thoughts; let thy memory fast from remembering evil; let thy will fast from evil desire; let thine eyes fast from bad sights: turn away thine eyes that thou mayest not see vanity; let thine ears fast from vile songs and slanderous whispers; let thy tongue fast from slander, condemnation, blasphemy, falsehood, deception, foul language and every idle and rotten word; let thy hands fast from killing and from stealing another’s goods; let thy legs fast from going to evil deeds: Turn away from evil, and do good."
(St Tikhon of Zadonsk, 18th Century Russian hierarch) [Fasting; Sanctification]
I Postpone the Day of My Own Repentance
Every aspect of my life should be a reflection of my faith in Christ, yet I utterly fall short in living this out as a reality. I find it difficult to look closely at myself, and at my relationships with others. How easily I fall into the trap of judging others, finding fault with them, while allowing myself to avoid that which needs to change in me.
In focusing on the failures of others, I postpone the day of my own repentance. I am walking backwards. Step by step, I retreat from the way of the Lord. I avoid true spiritual progress, clinging to self-will, and to my ego. Trying desperately to preserve my honor, I sacrifice my inheritance.
I do not honour Christ by my example, nor reflect His love and righteousness in my life. Self-examination is the most difficult of tasks, and lethargy the real enemy. So I reach out to my Lord, as one walking in the wilderness, and cry, Lord have mercy on me.