Words That Shape Us

This is an ever-expanding list. Please feel free to submit passages to be added.

“You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.”

“What is really important in this life? Not the acquisition of material things, because they are never enough for our human hunger; not reputation, because someone always comes along who is smarter and cleverer; not beauty, because that fades and there will always be someone more beautiful. For me, it always comes down to human connection, to relationship, to being loved and giving in love. Amid so much death – from disease, from war, from the convulsions of a difficult life – life is renewed in human connection…Our greatest gift in life is the love for and of others, which is born of God’s love for us.”
-Gary Smith, SJ Radical Compassion

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.”
-Sr. Ruth Fox, OSB

“There is not absolute route to perfect holiness, no simple, universal rule. There is no absolute pattern except agape, and what agape requires in each circumstance, in each life, is very, very different. It may produce a Thomas Aquinas or a Dorthy Day, a Teresa of Avila or a Thomas More. It is astonishing to find all the ways in which you, the unique and peculiar you, can give yourself away. That is why no one should simply follow another person’s pattern for holiness. What one can and should do is take encouragement from others to find one’s own pattern. There will be some ways in which you can model yourself on certain people and find common elements here and  there. But you cannot and ought not become Francis of Assisi or Teresa of Avila. The world does not need a second, inadequate version. But the world has never had you and it does need you or God would not have made you, and so you have to discover the unique ways in which you can give yourself away in service to the world.”
-Michael Himes, Doing the Truth In Love

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is,
than falling in love in a quite absolute final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekend,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.”
-Pedro Arrupe, SJ

“When it is genuine, when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice. When denied a mouth, it speaks with the hands or the eyes, or the pores, or anything at all. Because every single one of us has something to say to the others, something that deserves to be celebrated or forgiven by others.”
-Eduardo Galeno

“Only knowledge gained through experience, the fruit of living and suffering, fills the heart with the wisdom of love, instead of crushing it with the disappointment of boredom and final oblivion. It is not the results of our own speculation, but the golden harvest of what we have lived through and suffered through, that has the power to enrich the heart and nourish the spirit. And all the knowledge we have acquired through study can do no more than give us some little help in meeting the problems of life with an alert and ready mind.”
-Karl Rahner

“Slowly, I am beginning to realize that I prefer tears to resignation. I prefer shouting, anger, and bitterness to a courteous hopelessness. I would rather deal with someone’s mess than with their silence, because there is no way to clean up silence. It must be I was never meant to discuss theology. I prefer to talk about God when God is in the room.”
-Jane Knuth, Thrift Store Saints

 

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