An excerpt from “My Daily Bread” by Father Anthony J. Paones, S.J.
Man’s True Good
My child, often it is safer for a man not to have many consolations and pleasures in his earthly life. Try to grasp this truth, so that you may not become sad and depressed when you cannot have what you desire. If you had all the satisfactions and enjoyments which this world can offer, how long would they last? The knowledge that they must certainly end, would only make death more bitter and disagreeable to you.
The fact is that your soul can find full and lasting joy only in My friendship and love. True happiness and lasting peace come from Me alone. Foolish lovers of this world think that they know the meaning of peace and happiness, but what they enjoy is imperfect and short-lived. Genuine peace and happiness is given only to My loyal followers, those who are unselfish in doing My Will and generous in imitating My example.
God desires that I should labor for my daily bread and enjoy the rightful pleasures of daily life. I must not, however, become so entangled in these things that I would sin for them. Each day is a step toward the true and perfect life of Heaven. I need to put complete trust and confidence in God’s wisdom and love for me. This virtue will give me the freedom of true charity. I will come to see more clearly each day how to please God more in everything I do.
My Jesus, please do not let me think too much of my earthly needs. They can crowd my mind and make me too busy to think of You and Your holy words. Save me from the blind love of pleasure and from the enslaving worry about earthly security. Grant me the freedom of those who live for Heaven. Nothing on earth must hold me back from doing Your Will. Amen.
An excerpt from “Wisdom of the Heart” by Dr. Peter Kreeft
Self-forgetfulness is the opposite of vanity. It is the escape from the Black Hole of the self; it is our salvation. It is our divine design and our destiny and therefore our deep desire and our joy. It is a foretaste of Heaven, as narcissism is a foretaste of Hell, where you lose not only your joy but also your very identity, your substance, your essence; in Heaven you attain not only your true joy but also your true identity…. Saints radiate love as a star radiates light; the damned absorb it into their own darkness, like a Black Hole. A Black Hole is a collapsed star; an inhabitant of Hell is a collapsed self.
Every religion in the world in some way teaches this: that the fulfillment of the self is not selfishness, that we have to get off the throne, that the only way to really live is to die to yourself. Only a post-religious culture could possibly esteem self-esteem and admire self-admiration; all true religion admires self-forgetfulness.
More than by any other vice, the world is defiled by fornication. Hosea says, “They have committed fornication and have not ceased: because they have forsaken the Lord in not observing His law. Fornication and wine and drunkenness take away the heart.” (Hosea 4:10-11)
There are three things to note in the heart: indignation, the seat of wisdom, and love. The heart is a noble organ, which feels indignation and will not let what is unclean enter it. But fornication makes it lose that indignation, and lets it swallow that morsel. Again, the heart is the seat of wisdom, but wine causes it to lose this. Similarly, it is by the heart that we love; but he who is drunk with the desire for temporal things and will not help his neighbor, loses this love. It is obvious that fornication takes away the heart, from the case of Solomon who worshiped idols.
The Apostle says: “With the heart we believe unto justice” (Romans 10:10), but fornication takes away the heart wherein is faith. So by fornication, faith is lost, and that is why it is called “for-nication,” formae necatae, the killing of the soul formed in God’s likeness. Faith is the life of the soul. The Apostle says: “Let Christ dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17), but fornication takes away the heart, in which is life, and so the soul dies—for when the cause ceases, so does the effect.
So the Lord says: “And when He (the Paraclete) is come, He will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin, because they have not believed in Me.” (John 16:8-9) The Paraclete, through the ministers of preaching, convicts the world of the sin of fornication.
Heart of Jesus, You are our friend Who turns into a Father and Brother pointing out the path that leads to Mount Zion.
You are our hope and light that God sent us, blessing all mankind so we could be saved.
You are our hope and guide showing us the light of truth, justice, and love, which are concentrated in our Eternal Father. He grants us life to overcome the cross we carry upon our shoulders.
Lord, we are Your favored children of light and truth. Grant us more hope in living a new life, a Gospel life, a new life to contemplate Your Countenance and Heart. They are tempered by love to save us all.
Come, Lord, help us, protect us, save us, and pour forth the light of a new dawn.