Chiara Luce: A Life Lived to the Full   Leave a comment


Chiara Luce

Page 32 – With her friends in Sassello, Chiara Luce never wanted to be the centre of attention. She didn’t speak about her Gen experience with them, hers was not an apostolate made up of words – she just loved. “One day I asked her,” said Maria Teresa, “‘Do you tell your friends in the coffee shop anything about Jesus? Do you try to say something about God?’ She replied quite naturally, ‘No, I don’t speak to them about God.’ I looked at her and said: ‘You mean to say you don’t take the opportunity to say something?’ Chiara replied: ‘Talking about God doesn’t count for much. I have to give Him.'”

35 – The doctor’s verdict soon arrived: osteosarcoma with metastasis, one of the most painful and relentless tumors known.

37 – Only once did she ask the reason for her suffering. After the first operation she had exclaimed: ‘Why, Jesus?’ But a few moments later she said: ‘If you want it Jesus, then so do I.’

38 – “You have a marvelous light in your eyes. How come?” After a moment’s hesitation Chiara replied: “I try to love Jesus.”

43 – For three days Chiara kept perfectly still. One evening she said: ‘For me this is a little trial. it hurts and I am sorely tempted to move my thumb. So, to overcome this temptation I say that this butterfly needle is one of the thorns that Jesus had in His head.'” She even refused morphine: “It takes away my lucidity, and all I have to offer Jesus is suffering. That’s all I’ve got left. If I’m not lucid, what sense has my life got?”

44 – “You only see well with your heart, the essential things are invisible to the eyes.”

45 – (Chiara) “Love, love always, love everyone. At the end of every day we should be able to say: ‘I have always loved’.”

45 – She ran into the room straight away to find her gasping for breath and covered in sweat. “Mum, the devil came in here,” said Chiara.

45 – “I’m not used to seeing young people like you. I have always regarded your age as one of great emotion, intense joy and wild enthusiasm. But you have taught me that it’s also a time of total maturity.”

46 – Chiara Luce was lucid right to the end. She constantly refused to take any painkillers that might have reduced her capacity to think and express herself clearly.

53 – (Chiara) “You must have the courage to put aside ambitions and plans that destroy the true meaning of life, which is to believe in the love of God, and nothing else.”

55 – “Often man does not live his life, because he is immersed in times that do not exist: things that happened in the past, or which he now regrets. Man could give meaning to everything by leaving his selfishness behind and going out to others.”

55,56 – Many things unite us: congresses, meetings, songs, experiences, dances, laughing together…But there is something else I would like to do together with Chiara Luce: become a saint.”

Chiara Luce: A Life Lived to the Full
by Zanzucchi Michelle

A Pascal pensee   Leave a comment

The Catholic religion does not bind us to confess our sins indiscriminately to everybody; it allows them to remain hidden from all other men save one, to whom she bids us reveal the innermost recesses of our heart and show ourselves as we are. There is only this one man in the world whom she orders us to undeceive, and she binds him to an inviolable secrecy, which makes this knowledge to him as if it were not. Can we imagine anything more charitable and pleasant? And yet the corruption of man is such that he finds even this law harsh; and it is one of the main reasons which has caused a great part of Europe to rebel against the Church. How unjust and unreasonable is the heart of man, which feels it disagreeable to be obliged to do in regard to one man what in some measure it were right to do to all men! For is it right that we should deceive men?

by Blaise Pascal

Posted July 21, 2015 by Mr. Merrick in Anthology

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Prayer of Saint John Vianney   Leave a comment


“I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love
You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my
infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You,
than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only
grace I ask is to love You eternally….My God, if my tongue
cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my
heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.”

Prayer of Saint John Vianney

Posted July 19, 2015 by Mr. Merrick in Prayers, Saints

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Narrative of Sojourner Truth   Leave a comment


Soujourner Truth

Location 1389 – Through all the scenes of her eventful life may be traced the energy of a naturally powerful mind—the fearlessness and childlike simplicity of one untrammeled by education or conventional customs—purity of character—an unflinching adherence to principle—and a native enthusiasm, which, under different circumstances, might easily have produced another Joan of Arc. With all her fervor, and enthusiasm, and speculation, her religion is not tinctured in the least with gloom. No doubt, no hesitation, no despondency, spreads a cloud over her soul; but all is bright, clear, positive, and at times ecstatic. Her trust is in God, and from him she looks for good, and not evil. She feels that ‘perfect love casteth out fear.’

159 – He again, as usual, bewailed his loneliness,—spoke in tones of anguish of his many children, saying, “They are all taken away from me! I have now not one to give me a cup of cold water—why should I live and not die?”

212 – She had no idea God had any knowledge of her thoughts, save what she told him; or heard her prayers, unless they were spoken audibly.

248 – Her master insisted that she could do as much work as half a dozen common people, and do it well, too;

347 – ‘The Lord only knows how many times I let my children go hungry, rather than take secretly the bread I liked not to ask for.

411 – ‘there is but one master; and He who is your master is my master.’

615 – She believed He not only saw, but noted down all her actions in a great book, even as her master kept a record of whatever he wished not to forget. But she had no idea that God knew a thought of hers till she had uttered it aloud.

634 – She related to God, in minute detail, all her troubles and sufferings, inquiring, as she proceeded, ‘Do you think that’s right, God?’ and closed by begging to be delivered from the evil, whatever it might be.

634 – but if He would give her a new place, and a good master and mistress, she could and would be good; and she expressly stipulated, that she would be good one day to show God how good she would be all of the time, when He should surround her with the right influences, and she should be delivered from the temptations that then so sorely beset her. But, alas! when night came, and she became conscious that she had yielded to all her temptations, and entirely failed of keeping her word with God, having prayed and promised one hour, and fallen into the sins of anger and profanity the next, the mortifying reflection weighed on her mind, and blunted her enjoyment.

634 – she was so happy and satisfied, that God was entirely forgotten. Why should her thoughts turn to Him, who was only known to her as a help in trouble? She had no trouble now; her every prayer had been answered in every minute particular.

701 – ‘shall I lie again to God? I have told him nothing but lies; and shall I speak again, and tell another lie to God?’ She could not; and now she began to wish for someone to speak to God for her. Then a space seemed opening between her and God, and she felt that if someone, who was worthy in the sight of heaven, would but plead for her in their own name, and not let God know it came from her, who was so unworthy, God might grant it.

723 – She contemplated the unapproachable barriers that existed between herself and the great of this world, as the world calls greatness,

726 – when she heard him spoken of, she said mentally—‘What! others know Jesus! I thought no one knew Jesus but me!’ and she felt a sort of jealousy, lest she should be robbed of her newly found treasure.

742 –  ‘Let others say what they will of the efficacy of prayer, I believe in it, and I shall pray. Thank God! Yes, I shall always pray,’

747 – God, you know how much I am distressed, for I have told you again and again. Now, God, help me get my son. If you were in trouble, as I am, and I could help you, as you can me, think I wouldn’t do it? Yes, God, you know I would do it.’ ‘Oh, God, you know I have no money, but you can make the people do for me, and you must make the people do for me. I will never give you peace till you do, God.’ ‘Oh, God, make the people hear me—don’t let them turn me off, without hearing and helping me.’

764 – he was dependent on the ‘world’s cold charity,’ and died in a poorhouse.

885 – the peculiar feeling of her hand—the bony hardness so just like mine? and yet I could not know she was my sister; and now I see she looked so like my mother.’ And Isabella wept, and not alone; Sophia wept, and the strong man, Michael, mingled his tears with theirs. ‘Oh Lord,’ inquired Isabella, ‘what is this slavery, that it can do such dreadful things? what evil can it not do?’

1017 – This trait in our American character has been frequently noticed by foreign travelers. One English lady remarks that she discovered, in course of conversation with a Southern married gentleman, that a colored girl slept in his bedroom, in which also was his wife; and when he saw that it occasioned some surprise, he remarked, ‘What would he do if he wanted a glass of water in the night?’

1132 – She said, ‘she never could find out that the rich had any religion. If I had been rich and accomplished, I could; for the rich could always find religion in the rich, and I could find it among the poor.

1167 – that every pedestrian in the world is not a vagabond, and that it is a dangerous thing to compel any one to receive that hospitality from the vicious and abandoned which they should have received from us,—as thousands can testify, who have thus been caught in the snares of the wicked.

1204 – when she was examining the Scriptures, she wished to hear them without comment; but if she employed adult persons to read them to her, and she asked them to read a passage over again, they invariably commenced to explain, by giving her their version of it; and in this way, they tried her feelings exceedingly. In consequence of this, she ceased to ask adult persons to read the Bible to her, and substituted children in their stead.

1255 – They appeared to her to be doing their utmost to agitate and excite the people, who were already too much excited; and when she had listened till her feelings would let her listen silently no longer, she arose and addressed the preachers. The following are specimens of her speech:— ‘Here you are talking about being “changed in the twinkling of an eye.” If the Lord should come, he’d change you to nothing! for there is nothing to you. ‘You seem to be expecting to go to some parlor away up somewhere, and when the wicked have been burnt, you are coming back to walk in triumph over their ashes—this is to be your New Jerusalem!! Now, I can’t see anything so very nice in that, coming back to such a muss as that will be, a world covered with the ashes of the wicked! Besides, if the Lord comes and burns—as you say he will—I am not going away; I am going to stay here and stand the fire, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! And Jesus will walk with me through the fire, and keep me from harm. Nothing belonging to God can burn, any more than God himself; such shall have no need to go away to escape the fire! No, I shall remain. Do you tell me that God’s children can’t stand fire?’ And her manner and tone spoke louder than words, saying, ‘It is absurd to think so!’

Narrative of Sojourner Truth
by Soujourner Truth, Olive Gilbert

The Elephant Man: A Study In Human Dignity   Leave a comment



Pg. 2 – Hideously deformed, malodorous, for the most part maltreated, constantly in pain, lame, fed the merest scraps, exhibited as a grotesque monster at circuses, fairs, and wherever else a penny might be turned, the object of constant expressions of horror and disgust, it might have been expected that “the Elephant Man” would have grown into a creature detesting all human beings, bitter, awkward, difficult in his relations with others, ungentle, unfeeling, aggressive, and unlovable.

31 – What most he dreaded were the open street and the gaze of his fellow-men.

34 – He had no childhood. He had no boyhood. He had never experienced pleasure. He knew nothing of the joy of living nor of the fun of things. His sole idea of happiness was to creep into the dark and hide. Shut up alone in a booth, awaiting the next exhibition, how mocking must have sounded the laughter and merriment of the boys and girls outside who were enjoying the “fun of the fair”!

34,35 – Those who are interested in the evolution of character might speculate as to the effect of this brutish life upon a sensitive and intelligent man. It would be reasonable to surmise that he would become a spiteful and malignant misanthrope, swollen with venom and filled with hatred of his fellow-men, or, on the other hand, that he would degenerate into a despairing melancholic on the verge of idiocy. Merrick, however, was no such being. He had passed through the fire and had come out unscathed. His troubles had ennobled him. He showed himself to be a gentle, affectionate and lovable creature, as amiable as a happy woman, free from any trace of cynicism or resentment, without a grievance and without an unkind word for anyone. I have never heard him complain. I have never heard him deplore his ruined life or resent the treatment he had received at the hands of callous keepers.

35 – He had no possessions. His sole belongings, besides his clothes and some books, were the monstrous cap and the cloak. He was a wanderer, a pariah and an outcast.

36 – He had read about blind asylums in the newspapers and was attracted by the thought of being among people who could not see.

38 – As he let go her hand he bent his head on his knees and sobbed until I thought he would never cease. The interview was over. He told me afterwards that this was the first woman who had ever smiled at him, and the first woman, in the whole of his life, who had shaken hands with him.

39 – He could weep, but he could not smile.

39 – The Queen paid Merrick many visits and sent him every year a Christmas card with a message in her own handwriting. On one occasion she sent him a signed photograph of herself. Merrick, quite overcome, regarded it as a sacred object and would hardly allow me to touch it. He cried over it, and after it was framed had it put up in his room as a kind of icon.

41 – imagine the feelings of such a youth when he saw nothing but a look of horror creep over the face of every girl whose eyes met his. I fancy when he talked of life among the blind there was a half-formed idea in his mind that he might be able to win the affection of a woman if only she were without eyes to see.

43,44 – I could not help comparing him with a man of his own age in the stalls. This satiated individual was bored to distraction, would look wearily at the stage from time to time and then yawn as if he had not slept for nights; while at the same time Merrick was thrilled by a vision that was almost beyond his comprehension. Merrick talked of this pantomime for weeks and weeks. To him, as to a child with the faculty of make-believe, everything was real; the palace was the home of kings, the princess was of royal blood, the fairies were as undoubted as the children in the street, while the dishes at the banquet were of unquestionable gold. He did not like to discuss it as a play but rather as a vision of some actual world. When this mood possessed him he would say: “I wonder what the prince did after he left?” or “Do you think that poor man is still in the dungeon?” and so on and so on.

46 – He often said to me that he wished he could lie down to sleep “like other people.”

46 – As a specimen of humanity, Merrick was ignoble and repulsive; but the spirit of Merrick, if it could be seen in the form of the living, would assume the figure of an upstanding and heroic man, smooth-browed and clean of limb, and with eyes that flashed undaunted courage.

63 – Merrick died trying to be what he had ached to be all his life: normal.

79 – A short definition of mental health is the ability to love, to work, to play, and to think soundly. By love is meant the ability to communicate to the other, by demonstrative acts, one’s profound involvement in their welfare, such that you give them all the support, succor, stimulation, and encouragement for their healthy growth and development; that they can always depend upon you standing by; that you will never commit the supreme treason of letting them down when they are in need; that you will always be there to respond to their need; that you will help them fulfill themselves by nurturing and encouraging them to realize all the potentialities that are within them for becoming good and loving human beings, who will live as if to live and love were one, loving others more than one loves oneself.

80 – The ability to work is another essential component of mental health. Work is purposeful activity, mental or physical effort designed to do or make something. In Merrick’s development it is highly probable that he worked well and enjoyed it, judging from his skill in the creation of a model cathedral from pieces of cardboard and colored papers. This is really quite beautiful, and when one considers it was all done with one hand, quite remarkable in and of itself.

81 – “It is not that the Englishman can’t feel – it is that he is afraid to feel. He has been taught at…school that feeling is bad form. He must not express great joy or sorrow….He must bottle up his emotions, or let them out only on a very special occasion.”

83 – There is an ancient Middle Eastern saying that since God could not be everywhere he created mothers.

103 – “I am happy every hour of the day” is how he put it.

105,106 – It is the “freak,” the “monster,” who in a profound sense is truly the least monstrous among us.

107 – In a very real way, most of us are disabled, more or less. We are handicapped by, among other things, our failure to recognize the kind of human beings we are able to become. The tragedy for so many of us lies in the difference between what we were potentially capable of becoming and what we have been caused to become by our socializers and our dysfunctional society. If we will understand this, and understand how we came to be this way, there is hope that we may yet be able to save ourselves.

107 – In their reactive revulsion, fear and awkwardness, they compound the injuries the disabled have already suffered. It is often easier for the disabled to deal with their problems than it is to deal with the customary reactions toward them.

The Elephant Man: A Study In Human Dignity
by Ashley Montagu

Posted March 30, 2015 by Mr. Merrick in Books

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The Heavenly Man   Leave a comment



13 – If God should choose to raise up others for His purpose and never to use us again we would have nothing to complain about.”

27 – I had just one simple prayer: “Lord, please give me a Bible. Amen.

49 – The only safe way was to cut a hole through the ice on the river and baptize the new believers in the freezing water during the night while the police were sleeping.

106 – Many Chinese preachers have been forsaken by their wives while they were in prison for the Gospel. One brother, Li, was sentenced to many years in prison. The moment the sentence was read out in the courtroom his wife stood up and shouted, “I divorce this man!” I didn’t want to do such a thing.

Pg. 120 – The guards came to examine me. They tore off my undergarments to see if I had the disease. They thought the disease had originated from me because I’d spent so much time lying in human waste. They found I was the only prisoner free from the affliction!

120 – The leader of the cell, who had suffered so much from the disease, hated me even more when he saw I’d escaped the affliction. He took my blanket and used it for himself. In its place, he wrapped me in his own disease –ridden blanket, covered in blood, dirt and pus that had oozed from his sores. But the Lord protected me, and I still did not contract the disease.

132 – “You are a fake! You pretended to be dying every day. I’m alive and well in prison even though I’ve killed and raped women. You came to the prison because you believe in Jesus and you’re dying like a sick dog.”

136 – The government family planning officer told me, “Your husband will never get out of prison. Do yourself a favor and don’t let this child come into the world.” They ordered me to return a few days later and they would give me an abortion.

141 – “Brothers, before we believed in Jesus we were just like him. We too were like demons. But Jesus rescued us all when our souls were about to die. We need to have mercy on this man and treat him as if he was Jesus himself.”

163 – In my exhausted condition the devil had convinced me I didn’t need to pray any more, that I could pray to the Lord in my dreams while I slept!

167 – When we returned to our rooms every evening, many of us had badly swollen legs and shoulders from the hard labour. On many occasions I didn’t even have the strength to climb up to my bunk, so I just slept on the floor at the foot of the bed.

172 – to celebrate Christmas. I knelt down on the dirty floor and prayed, “Lord, we only have this dirty toilet to worship you in. But you understand because you left the glory of heaven and were born in a dirty manger.

202 – Several guards commented, “Look, this criminal is even happier than we are, and we are free!

211 – She told the other children, ‘Isaac and his family stupidly believe in Jesus.’ My classmates mock me and say, ‘Your father is a dirty criminal who deserves to be in prison.’”

227 – While I was in prison each man received just 2.50 yuan (about 30 cents) per month, so we could buy small items like paper and toothpaste. But even then the believers set aside a tithe from our meager income.

233 – these same mission organizations started putting other books at the tops of the bags of Bibles. These were books about one particular denomination’s theology, or teaching that focused on certain aspects of God’s Word. This, I believe was the start of disunity among many of China’s house churches.

246 – A young guard carried me around on certain occasions. He saw I was in great pain, and knew I’d received no medical treatment. This young man sympathetically told me, “I am seeing a man truly suffer for Jesus’ name.”

287 – We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure!

288 – They say we should stay in China and win our own country before we go out. To this illogical argument I respond with a simple question, “Then why does your country send missionaries? Is everyone in your country saved?”

290 – We teach how to witness for the Lord under any circumstance, on trains or buses, or even in the back of a police van on our way to the execution ground.

295 – I presumed the Western church was strong and vibrant because it had brought the gospel to my country with such incredible faith and tenacity. Many missionaries had shown a powerful example by laying down their lives for the sake of Jesus. On many occasions I’ve struggled while speaking in Western churches. There seems to be something missing that leaves me feeling terrible inside.

299 – Many Christians have also asked me why miracles and signs and wonders are so prevalent in China, but not so evident in the West. In the West you have so much. You have insurance for everything. In a way, you don’t need God.

310,311 – I believe when suffering and pain increases, sinning decreases…How we mature as a Christian largely depends on the attitude we have when we’re faced with suffering…The Lord wants us to embrace suffering as a friend…When you learn these lessons, there is nothing left that the world can do to you.

312 – When people hear my testimony they often say, “You must have had a terrible time when you were in prison.” I respond, “What are you talking about? I was with Jesus and had overwhelming joy and peace in His intimate presence.”

313 – Everyone in this world is a slave. They’re either slaves to sin, or slaves of Christ.

The Heavenly Man
by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway

Posted March 24, 2015 by Mr. Merrick in Books

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The Roman Socrates   Leave a comment



11 – How do you think I can work with that row going on?’ An affectionate laugh accompanies the reply ‘Is it as bad as that! As far as I’m concerned, so long as they keep free from sin, they can chop wood on my back if they feel like it.’

29 – a home in which he remained as long as possible since it gave him the greatest possible freedom of movement, and because it gave him all he wanted: a position that just kept him from dying of hunger.

30 – his food, a daily handful of corn and olives;…

30 – At the end of his life the last spiritual book he had read to him was The Fathers of the Desert, a book he always considered a manual of perfection;…

40 – the pilgrims themselves, their devotion having made them vagabonds, resembled tramps rather than the devout tourists whom we call pilgrims today.

72 – the Philippian ideal; neither speeches nor arguments can awaken a living faith in those for whom Christianity has lost its meaning.

75 – It was the most difficult thing in the world to persuade him to take a little rest, delegate some of his duties or add something to a diet which made that of a Trappist, by comparison, seem positively festive.

75 – It is a mystery how he could spend so long there in winter without freezing to death.

83 – Such things were of almost daily occurrence, and were so well known that one of his younger disciples, when tempted to sin, was able to resist by merely saying to himself, ‘No, Father Philip would know at once.’

85 – he sent Baronius to a wineshop to sample all the wines before buying half a bottle; to make it all the worse he had to offer a gold piece in payment and ask for change.

87 – The only antidote to the deadly seriousness into which pride can lead us is, when all is said and done, the joyful simplicity of the children of God.

The Roman Socrates
by Rev. Louis Bouyer
Translated by Michael Day

Posted March 23, 2015 by Mr. Merrick in Books, Saints

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