Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center
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The Ecology of Saints and Blesseds (Page 4)
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Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)

HOW CAN people see me [God] feeding and nurturing the worm within the dry wood, pasturing the brute beasts, nourishing the fish in the sea, all the animals on earth and the birds in the air, commanding the sun to shine on the plants and the dew to fertilize the soil, and not believe that I nourish them as well, my creatures made in my image and likeness? As a matter of fact, all this is done by my goodness to serve them. No matter where they turn, spiritually and materially they will find nothing but my deep burning charity and the greatest, gentle, true, perfect providence.    IMAGINE a circle traced on the ground, and in its center a tree sprouting with a shoot grafted into its side. The tree finds its nourishment in the soil within the expanse of the circle, but uprooted from the soil it would die fruitless. So think of the soul as a tree made for love and living only by love. Indeed, without this divine love, which is true and perfect charity, death would be her fruit instead of life. The circle in which this tree's root, the soul's love, must grow is true knowledge of herself, knowledge that is joined to me, who like the circle have neither beginning nor end.          AS THE SOUL comes to know herself she also knows God better, for she sees how good he has been to her. In the gentle mirror of God she sees her own dignity: that through no merit of hers but by his creation she is the image of God. YOU CANNOT imagine how great is people's foolishness. They have no sense or discernment, having lost it by hoping in themselves and putting their trust in their own knowledge. O stupid people, do you not see that your are not the source of your knowledge? It is my goodness, providing for your needs, that has given it to you... And why do you not put your trust in me your Creator? Because your trust is in yourselves. Am I not faithful and loyal to you? Of course I am.   And this is not hidden from you because you experience it continually. FOR ALL THINGS are good and perfect, since they were made by me, and I am supreme Goodness. I made them and gave them to you not for you to use them to embrace death, but that you might have life through them. THE SAME IS true of many of my gifts and graces, virtue and the spiritual gifts, and those things necessary for the body and human life. I have distributed them all in such a way that no one has all of them. Thus have I given you reason - necessity, in fact - to practice mutual charity. For I could well have supplied each of you with all your needs, both spiritual and material. But I wanted to make you dependent on one another so that each of you would be my minister, dispensing the graces and gifts you have received from me. So whether you will it or not, you cannot escape the exercise of charity! KEEP IN MIND that each of you has your own vineyard. But every one is joined to your neighbor's vineyards without any dividing lines. They are so joined together, in fact, that you cannot do good or evil for yourself without doing the same for your neighbors. YOU SAID, "Let us make humankind in our image and likeness" (Gn 1:26). And this you did, eternal Trinity, willing that we should share all that your are, high eternal Trinity! You, eternal Father, gave us memory to hold your gifts and share your power. You gave us understanding so that, seeing your goodness, we might share the wisdom of you only-begotten Son. And you gave us free will to love what our understanding sees and knows of your truth, and so share the mercy of the Holy Spirit... Then I see how by our sin we lost the dignity you had given us. Rebels that we were, we declared war on your clemency and became your enemies. But stirred by the same fire that made you create us, you decided to give this warring human race a way to reconciliation, bringing great peace out of our war. So you gave us you only-begotten Son, your Word, to be mediator between us and you. He became our justice taking on himself the punishment for our injustices. + The Dialogue, by Catherine of Siena

Your Greatness is Everywhere

O fire ever blazing! The soul who comes to know herself in you finds your greatness wherever she turns, even in the tiniest things, in people and in all created things, for in all of them she sees your power and wisdom and mercy. For if you had not been powerful, knowing, and willing, you would not have created them. But you were powerful and knowing and willing, and therefore you created everything. O my poor blind soul, you have never come to know yourself in him because you have not stripped yourself of your disordered will, and have not clothed yourself in his will...   Eternal goodness, you want me to gaze into you and see that you love me, to see that you love me gratuitously, so that I may love everyone with the very same love. You want me, then, to love and serve my neighbors gratuitously, by helping them spiritually and materially as much as I can, without any expectation of selfish profit or pleasure...

O Mary, Bearer of the Fire

O Mary! Mary! Temple of the Trinity! O Mary, bearer of the fire! Mary, minister of mercy! Mary, seedbed of the fruit!...   O Mary, peaceful sea! Mary, giver of peace! Mary, fertile soil! You, Mary, are the new-sprung plant from whom we have the fragrant blossom, the Word, God's only-begotten Son, for in you, fertile soil, was this Word sown. You are the soil and you are the plant. O Mary, chariot of fire, you bore the fire hidden and veiled under the ashes of your humanness.  + Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity, Mary O'Driscoll, O.P., ed., New City Press, 1993

Blessed Angela of Foligno (1248-1309)

IN A VISION I beheld the fullness of God in which I beheld and comprehended the whole creation, that is, what is on this side and what is beyond the sea, the abyss, the sea itself, and everything else. And in everything that I saw, I could perceive nothing except the presence of the power of God, and in a manner totally indescribable. And my soul in an excess of wonder cried out: "This world is pregnant with God!" Wherefore I understood how small is the whole of creation - that is, what is on this side and what is beyond the sea, the abyss, the sea itself, and everything else - but the power of God fills it all to overflowing. INDEED THE primary virtue of all, which is the love of God and neighbor, originates in the light of humility. For the soul, perceiving its own nothingness and even united to this nothingness, is set ablaze with love for God, and in this burning love is transformed into God. And thus transformed by love, is there any creature who would not return this love with all its strength? Truly, the soul thus transformed loves, with the love of God, every creature as is fitting, because in every creature it perceives, understands, and recognizes God's presence. + Angela of Foligno: Complete Works. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1993

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

IN ALL THINGS that so great and wise a God has created there must be many beneficial secrets, and those who understand them do benefit, although I believe that in each little thing created by God there is more than what is understood, even if it is a little ant. + The Interior Castle IF WE LEARN to love Earth, we will find labyrinths, gardens, fountains, and precious jewels! A whole new world will open itself to us. We will discover what it means to be truly alive. YOU MUST HAVE already heard of God's marvels manifested in the way silk originates, for only the Creator could have invented something like that. The silkworms come from seeds about the size of little grains of pepper... When the warm weather comes and the leaves begin to appear on the mulberry tree, the seeds start to live, for they are dead until then. The worms nourish themselves on the mulberry leaves until, having grown to full size, they settle on some twigs. There with their little mouths they themselves go about spinning the silk and a little butterfly, which is very pretty, comes froth from the cocoon. Now if this were not seen but recounted to us as having happened in other times, who would believe it? Or what reasonings could make us conclude that a thing as non-rational as a worm or a bee could be so diligent in working for our benefit and with so much industriousness? And the poor little worm loses its life in the challenge. This is enough, Sisters, for a period of meditation even though I say no more to you; in it you can consider the wonders and the wisdom of our God. ANY GOOD THING we do has its source, not in ourselves, but rather in this spring where this tree, which is the soul, is planted and in that sun which sheds its radiance on our works. I KNOW OF a person who had not learned that God was in all things by presence and power and essence; God granted her a favor of this kind, which convinced her of this so firmly that although one of those half-learned men whom I have been talking about, and whom she asked in what way God was in us ... told her that He was in us only by grace, [yet] she had the truth so firmly implanted within her that she did not believe him, and asked others, who told her the truth, which was a great consolation to her. + pp. 101-102, Fifth Mansions, Chapter 1, Paragraph 9 WHEN THE LORD so wills, it may happen that the soul will be at prayer, and in possession of all its senses, and that then there will suddenly come to it a suspension in which the Lord communicates most secret things to it, which it seems to see within God Himself. These are not visions of the most sacred Humanity; although I say that the soul "sees" Him, it really sees nothing, for this is not an imaginary, but a notably intellectual vision, in which is revealed to the soul how all things are seen in God, and how within Himself He contains them all. Such a vision is highly profitable because, although it passes in a moment, it remains engraven upon the soul. It causes us the greatest confusion, by showing us clearly how wrongly we are acting when we offend God, since it is within God Himself - because we dwell within Him, I mean - that we are committing these great sins. + pp. 193-194, Sixth Mansions, Chapter 10, Paragraph 2

Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591)

THE SOUL WILL behold in herself the mountain flowers mentioned above, which are the abundance, grandeur, and beauty of God; and, intertwined among them, the lilies of the wooded valleys, which stand for rest, refreshment, and protection... Then too she will be struck by the scent of the lilies beside the resounding rivers, which we said represented the greatness of God filling every soul. And she will perceive from the jasmine interwoven there a fragrance diffused by the whistling of love-stirring breezes, which we also said the soul enjoys in this state. Likewise she is aware of all the other virtues and gifts we mentioned: the tranquil knowledge, silent music, sounding solitude, and the delightful and loving supper.    + The Spiritual Canticle, p. 567-568 of the Collected Works All the creatures - not the higher creatures alone, but also the lower, according to that which each of them has received in itself from God - each one raises its voice in testimony to that which God is... each one after its manner exalts God, since it has God in itself. + God's Covenant with Animals, Lantern Books, 2000, xii

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)

LIVE SIMPLY so that others may simply live. 

Saint Mariam Baouardy (Mary of Jesus Crucified) (1846-1878)

THE WHOLE WORLD is asleep, and God so full of goodness, so great, so worthy of all praise, no one is thinking of Him! See, nature praises Him, and man...who ought to praise Him, sleeps! Let us go, let us go and wake up the universe...and sing His praises. I invited the whole earth, to bless Thee, to serve Thee. Forever and always, never to end! With Thy love my heart made one. I invited the entire sea, to bless Thee, to serve Thee. Forever and always, never to end! I called them, invited them, little birds of the air, to bless Thee, to serve Thee. Forever and always, never to end! I called, I invited, the star of the morn. Forever and always, never to end... I called him, invited ungrateful man, to bless Thee, to serve Thee, to praise and to love Thee, forever and always, never to end.    My enraptured spirit contemplates all your works... Thy heavens, the earth, the sun rejoice at your Name so great. I see You, supreme goodness: your gaze is maternal. My Father, my Mother, it is in You that I sleep, it is in You that I breathe. Awaken! YOU TELL ME there is no God? I go to the garden and contemplate creation; I see the little trees becoming full-grown; the sight increases my faith. You tempt me against the Church? I go to the garden again; I find a fruit and I open it; I look at this open fruit and I see the seed in the fruit. I go into a church, I open the tabernacle and I find the Eucharist. You tempt me against charity? I go down to the garden; I consider the animals, I see the lambs, the chicks, I see them all together, united among themselves.    THERE WAS A LARGE round flowerbed; this round area had several circumferences within it. The first was all planted with roses: the rose stands for charity and the thorn for vigilance. The second circuit was covered with vines, whose grapes represent love and their leaves gentleness. The third was planted with wheat, which signifies confidence and hope. The center was covered with violets which stand for true humility. And, in the middle, I set up a throne and had Jesus sit down. And, under His feet, a spring gushed forth which said: Everything passes, everything flows by like water. Beside the throne I planted pansies and some ivy. The ivy said: Constantly hold fast to Jesus. And the pansies told me: Think only of Jesus. Lord Jesus, plant all these virtues in the depths of my heart, and make them increase yourself by your power.        + Brunot, Amedee, S.C.J. Mariam: The Little Arab. 1990. Mariam was of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Rite.

Saint Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947)

AND SO, I'm going to tell you my story, today, so that you can learn how to be more generous, be able to discover the beauty and goodness that is all around you, in the people you meet, in your friends and in everything that surrounds you. SEEING THE SUN, the moon and the stars, I said to myself, "Who could be the Master of these beautiful things?" I felt a great desire to see him, to know him and to pay him homage. THE LORD has loved me so much: We must love everyone... We must be compassionate! MARY PROTECTED me even before I knew her!

Saint Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)

LIFE IS MOTION, a tending toward a purpose. OUR FATHER in heaven is the first beginning and final end of everything... From the Father through the Son and Spirit descends each act of the love of God, creating, sustaining in existence, giving life and its development both in the order of nature as well as in the order of grace... With God everything, without God nothing!    + Aim Higher!: Spiritual and Marian Reflections of St. Maximilian Kolbe.   Prow Books / Franciscan Marytown Press. DEAR CHILDREN, we now have lovely Spring days; the sun with its warming rays awakens everything to life, and the grass grows beautifully from the earth, the flowers take on colors, and, in a word, all this enraptures a human being. So, too, dear children, in our life and in our soul, Springtime should arise. The sun, which is God, should send its warmth flowing forth into our soul with its rays. Those rays are Mary; the warmth flowing forth from the sun should warm our hearts, so that in our soul much good would grow, and the flowers of virtue unfold and blossom... Let us beg the Immaculata that she herself would plant the flowers of virtue in our hearts and that these flowers would bloom to God's greater glory. + Will to Love -- Reflections for Daily Living by St. Maximilian Kolbe, "Prophet of the Civilization of Love." Marytown Press. Saint Therese Couderc


A few days ago, I saw something that consoled me very much. It was during my thanksgiving, when I was making a few reflections on the goodness of God—and how would it be possible not to think of this in such moments: of this infinite goodness, uncreated goodness, source of all goodness! And without which there would be no goodness, neither in people nor in other creatures. I was extremely touched by these reflections, when I saw written as in letters of gold this word Goodness, which I repeated for a long while with an indescribable sweetness. I saw it, I say, written on all creatures, animate and inanimate, rational or not—all bore this name of goodness. I saw it even on the chair which I was using for a kneeler. I understood then that all that these creatures have of good and all the services and help that we receive from each of them are a blessing that we owe to the goodness of our God, who has communicated to them something of his infinite goodness, so that we may meet it in everything and everywhere. + Letter of August 10, 1866 Read more ->
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