Teach us to give and not to count the cost.
—Ignatius of Loyola
The only gift is a portion of thyself.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
You will know your vocation by the joy that it brings you.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge . . . is itself a frightful despotism.
In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
—Augustine of Hippo
The Lord was baptized . . . to cleanse waters, so that those waters . . . might have the power of Baptism.
—Saint Ambrose of Milan
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
Discernment is a grace. Even though it includes reason and prudence, it goes beyond them.
Baptism incorporates us into Christ and forms us into God’s people. . . . pardons our sins, rescues us from the powers of darkness, and brings us to the dignity of adopted children, a new creation through water and the Holy Spirit.
—Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
And the Spirit of God brooded over the waters like a dove which hovers over her young without touching them.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms / But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation / With an alien people clutching their gods.
—T. S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi
God does not reserve his love for a privileged few, but offers it to all.
The Magi . . . perceived one thing with the eyes of their bodies but another with the eyes of the mind.
Has it ever occurred to you that neither Herod nor his scribes could see the star the Magi saw? Otherwise they might have followed it themselves. . . . only the Magi could see the star and that was because they were visionaries, men who believed in the possibility of the impossible.
—Anne Porter, The Ticket
As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary.
—Saint Thomas Aquinas
If you ever feel distressed during your day, call upon our Lady, just say this simple prayer: 'Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.' I must admit, this prayer has never failed me.
—Blessed Mother Teresa
(Some of this material for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been published previously in PTW.)
Love is something we learn; love is something we live; love grows as it is forged by the concrete situations which each particular family experiences.
Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another.
—Jean Paul Richter
Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.
—Pope Paul VI, homily given at Nazareth, 1964
The Holy Family is the beginning of countless other holy families.
—Pope John Paul II, Letter to Families, 1994