…A Summary of the Spiritual Life…

We were made for God, and we cannot be satisfied unless we find Him.  The degree to which we do find Him in this life depends on the holiness of our life . . . and so all the different aspects of our life affect our conscious relationship with God.  But our prayer life is the measure of how our whole life for God is getting on.  If we are keeping up our prayer, and our longing for God is growing, then the chances are that the whole of our life is improving. (From an October 5, 1975 conference)

It is a fact that unless we pray privately and with interior sincerity, we shall not take part in Holy Mass itself really well.  And we shall not receive much fruit from the Sacrament of Penance either.  Our interior conversation with God is of very great importance.  Without it we lose contact with God; we become external and artificial with Him.  We shall never really recognize and feel the unbelievable intimacy and love of God for us in Holy Communion if we have never, or only rarely, prayed quietly and interiorly in solitude.  We must regularly seek to be alone with God for a time and drop everything else.  (From an October 5, 1975 conference)

We starve our prayer if we never listen to God speaking to us through Scripture and through good, deep spiritual reading.  So somewhere near the top in our list of regular but voluntary duties we shall place our spiritual reading.  We have thought about  . . . how we read very quietly and slowly and prayerfully, with a gently spiritual smile, and how we pause quite often during it to absorb what we have read and to speak to God about it if we feel so inclined.  I suppose we can get a good idea about how seriously we value spiritual reading if we work out how much time we give to it and how much time we spend in other kinds of reading and listening to the radio or watching the television for amusement.  This kind of comparison shows where we place our priorities.
(From an October 5, 1975 conference)

 In our use of the things of this world, we also have to be moderate, and even in the interesting occupations that God may want us to engage in, we should not become so immersed in them that we forget God.  These things can begin to take priority over God in our lives.  Many more people are invited to really deep contemplative prayer than actually receive the gift.  Many are called but few are chosen.  The reason why some of us do not receive the most illuminating and transforming gifts of God is that we do not really give priority to mental prayer, to spiritual reading, and to prudent mortification.
(From an October 5, 1975 conference)

We cannot be healthy spiritually if we are unhealthy in our thoughts and interests and amusements.  Those of us who read books and periodicals or listen to the radio or watch television show by our interest the kinds of things we value.  It is very easy to let into our minds and imaginations all kinds of unworthy and unhealthy or untrue thoughts and pictures, and they stay within us for life.  St. Paul tells us what to feed our minds with.  “Fill your minds,” he says, “with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure.”  Is that the only kind of thing we allow our interest to dwell on?  (From an October 5, 1975 homily)

That we should lead lives of prayer and recollection is very important.  That we should have a strong and true faith is very important.  That we should seek God at all times is very important.  But the test as to whether we are really doing all this or not is in how we treat other people.  It is a practical test of our genuineness.  We cannot love God greatly without loving all other people greatly.  So it is good for us from time to time to think about all the people we know and meet or ought to meet and consider how in fact we do treat them.  Is there not perhaps one person at least with whom we do not get on as well as we should?  Is there not perhaps at least one person whom we ought to tell something about the words we have received from God?  Is there someone we are ignoring in any way or neglecting?  (From a September 7, 1975 homily)

 Much as we should live in the presence of God and love Him, we must never forget other people.  In fact if our love for God is genuine and if we really do live in His presence and keep conscious of that presence, it will make us the kindest and most considerate of all people for the welfare of others.  If we cannot be called good neighbors by those around us, if they do not look upon us as kind and helpful and yet as not afraid to speak the truth to them as we see it, then there is something wrong in our relationship with God Himself.  (From a September 7, 1975 homily).

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