Lent, Suffering, and the Death that Brings Life

Lent is here, and quite frequently the weather suits the sombre tone of the season. Ashen gray skies and the bare reaching arms of trees create an atmosphere that is at once stark and solemn.

Yet this season is not entirely bleak or without hope. Warmer days replete with sunshine break up the gloom, and bird songs welcome the green buds shooting forth from once barren trees. Green grass breaks forth in clumps among the coarse and yellowed remnants of the year before. Spring is a time of death mingling with new life—the dormant world waking up with a lingering yawn.

It would be difficult to imagine a time more suited to the Lenten season, in which we remember the death of Christ, but also look forward to his glorious resurrection. It is a time when we remember the death that brings new Life. For the great paradox at the heart of Christianity is that a Death was the remedy for death. It was in losing his life that Christ brought new life to the world.

…. Catholic theology operates on the idea of participation. That is, Christ came to earth and died on the cross, not so that we could avoid death and suffering, but so that he could transform the inevitability of death and suffering from the inside out. By communion with him, by participation in his cross, we could receive eternal life.

After all, what is the fate of each and every human being? Death. It is the great equalizer. No matter how rich, famous, beautiful, or healthy we are, we will all die sooner or later. Death is the consequence of sin, for sin is a movement away from God who is Life itself. Sin is therefore by definition non-Life. It is death by its nature. And because our first parents chose sin, death is the fate of every human being.

Our enemy was gleeful at our demise. He meant for our death to be eternal, and for our physical death to be the gateway into eternal doom. But Christ came and changed all that. He embraced death and death could not hold him. He transformed it from the inside out, changing it from the gateway to eternal death to that of eternal life. In the words of the Byzantine liturgy, “He trampled down death by death.”

Put another way, Christ did not suffer and die so that we do not have to—he suffered and died so that our suffering and death could be transubstantiated into a means of life. He embraced the cross not to keep us from it, but so that our crosses could be changed from instruments of death into healing remedies that bring life.

As baptized Christians, we are members of the body of Christ. We are incorporated into him and we live in communion with him. This communion means that we share in his life—not by making some act of intellectual assent, but by living his life after him. And living his life after him requires carrying the cross after him and sharing in his death. The cross is the price of eternal life.

This is the meaning of Jesus when he said, “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Could there be any clearer sign that he did not come to keep us from the cross? No, rather he came to transform our crosses into the means of life.

Having been instructed by Christ himself, St. Paul understood this well. “I die daily.” “I have been crucified with Christ.” “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “The cross is foolishness to them that are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God and the Wisdom of God.” The cross was always in his heart and on his lips, for it was to him, as it is for us all, the means of eternal life.

Suffering is inevitable. To varying degrees, we will all suffer. And with a similar certainty, we will all die. It could be said that a cross lies at the heart of human existence. But the cross need not be a fate to be feared. Our Lord trampled down death by death. In the greatest paradox of all, he changed death into a means of life. What was once our doom is now our salvation.

“You must accept your cross,” said the holy St. John Vianney, “If you bear it courageously it will carry you to heaven.” This Lent, let us not fear or flee the cross, but carry it with love and with hope, as the means not of death but of eternal life.

(c) Sam Guzman | Link | Note: The entire article is available in the given link.


Pope Francis: Want to see God this Christmas? Be humble

On Christmas Eve, Pope Francis noted how the coming of Jesus as an infant is paradoxical to the images of grandeur that had accompanied the prophesies on the coming of the Messiah, saying this should challenges us to go beyond the ephemeral and focus on what really counts.

“If we want to celebrate Christmas authentically, we need to contemplate this sign: the fragile simplicity of a small newborn, the meekness of where he lies, the tender affection of the swaddling clothes. God is there,” the Pope said Dec. 24.

This is the “enduring sign to find Jesus,” he said. “Not just then, but also today.”

He noted how the day’s Gospel reading revealed “a paradox,” speaking of the emperor and mighty people of those times, yet God doesn’t manifest himself there.

Jesus “does not appear in the grand hall of a royal palace, but in the poverty of a stable; not in pomp and show, but in the simplicity of life; not in power, but in a smallness which surprises,” Francis said.

So if we want to find him, “we need to go there, where he is: we need to bow down, humble ourselves, make ourselves small.”

Pope Francis spoke to attendees of his Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. During this year’s procession, a Vatican police officer and firefighter were chosen to carry the statue of the baby Jesus as a sign of gratitude for the 200th anniversary of the Gendarmerie, as well as the help the firefighters offered to those affected by the earthquakes in Central Italy earlier this fall.

In his homily, the Pope said the Child Jesus “challenges us” by inviting us “to leave behind fleeting illusions and go to the essence, to renounce our insatiable claims, to abandon our endless dissatisfaction and sadness for something we will never have” and rediscover “peace, joy and the meaning of life.”

The infant in the manger is a challenge, but Francis also urged attendees to allow themselves to be challenged by the children of today, “who are not lying in a cot caressed with the affection of a mother and father, but rather suffer the squalid mangers that devour dignity.”

Many children today hide underground to escape bombs or are forced to sleep either on the streets of large cities or at the bottom boats overflowing with immigrants, he said, noting that this reality should also challenge us.

“Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons.”

Christmas is both a mystery of hope and of sadness, he said, noting how the arrival of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem points us to the indifference of many in the face of those who are discarded.

The same indifference is present modern society “when Christmas becomes a feast where the protagonists are ourselves, rather than Jesus; when the lights of commerce cast the light of God into the shadows; when we are concerned for gifts but cold towards those who are marginalized,” he said.

However, Christmas is also a sign of hope, because despite the darkness in our lives, God’s light “shines out.” His gentle light doesn’t make us fearful, but rather, “God who is in love with us, draws us to himself with his tenderness, born poor and fragile among us, as one of us.”

Pope Francis closed his homily encouraging everyone to let themselves be challenged by Jesus, and walk toward him with trust from the part of us in which we ourselves feel marginalized and limited.

He told them to take time to pause and look at the crib where Jesus was born, imagining the “light, peace, utmost poverty and rejection” that accompanied his birth.

“Let us enter into the real Nativity with the shepherds, taking to Jesus all that we are, our alienation, our unhealed wounds. Then, in Jesus we will enjoy the flavor of the true spirit of Christmas: the beauty of being loved by God.”



Catholic Resources

A list containing some Catholic resources in various forms (e.g. music, books, video, apps or sites) 


[1] Saints for Sinners by Alban Goodier, S.J. 

This book covers not only their past but the human element of the nine saints as well. Such mention of the human side of a saint, in a way- helps us to relate, be inspired and to hope that a dull pencil, when God holds it- can create masterpiece. The saints included in this book are St. Augustine, St. Margaret of Cortona, St. John of God, St. Francis Xavier, St. John of the Cross, St. Camillus, St. Cupertino, St. Colombiere and St. Benedict Joseph Labre. If my memory serves me right, this book allows me to connect to St. John of the Cross closer. A pdf copy of this book can be found in this link


[1] Verbum (iOS, Android, PC)


This app is like a book that houses several Catholic books- including the classic ones like Imitation of Christ, Introduction to Devout Life among others (some requires purchase). This also contains daily readings depicting several themes: Roman Martyrology, Catholic Daily Readings and Pictorial Lives of Saints. This app also features free book of the month which allows me to grow my Verbum library as seen in the image below.


Android Link

iOS Link

Web Link


Before listening, it is my hope that these songs will touch you. 🙂

[1] These Alone are Enough for Me


[2] Shepherd Me, Oh God


[3] Lord, I Need You (Cover)



The Dark Night of the Soul and The Dark Night

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Search the Internet, and you’ll find literature in abundance regarding the hackneyed phrase, dark night of the soul. Last week, the phrase surfaced again with the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

The Dark Night of the Soul and The Dark Night: Some Distinctions

In the lexicon of popular phrases, the dark night of the soul should be distinguished from the dark night as developed by St. John of the Cross in his treatise, The Dark Night.

Worries and annoyances that weigh us down each day are part of the human condition. No more, no less. Rarely are they considered the dark night of the soul. To accept and face hardship as part of the human condition is a sign of maturity.

It may surprise even spiritual directors to read that John does not use the phrase, the dark night of the soul, nor does it appear in his poem or treatise.

The Dark Night has a precise and rich context. Its focus lies on God’s innovating activity upon the soul destined for transformation.  The soul remains in spiritual darkness, passive yet docile and responsive to the divine touch.

By contrast, the dark night of the soul focuses on the individual self and one’s particular trial—any trial—that causes sadness, agitation, turmoil, or distress in one’s life. It has a one-dimensional perspective—the self.

Moses and the Divine Darkness

In the Book of Exodus 20, Moses approaches the dark cloud where God dwells. This is a metaphor for his journey into the dark of night where it is impossible to see. Darkness is a symbol for the encounter with God who is incomprehensible. Here Moses encounters God in the darkness only to be enlightened by that very same darkness.

Put another way: Moses’ eternal progress is the movement from human light to divine darkness.  The vision of Moses begins in the light.  But as he becomes more perfect, he is led by God into the darkness where he is enlightened.

Thus the life of prayer and contemplation is represented paradoxically as a journey from light to darkness.  It is only through this maze of darkness that the soul can reach God who is beyond all intellectual comprehension.   To remain in one’s own light is to die.  To walk through the darkness where God dwells is to live in the light.

St. Gregory of Nyssa (d 394), one of the Eastern Church Fathers, used Moses to exemplify and develop a symbolism of darkness. His 1Life of Moses is considered the crowning work of his mysticism.  Gregory was followed by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagate (d 5th-6th c) who became the major resource for the study of the divine darkness.

The Dark Night Proper

The Dark Night, the title of a poem and treatise on prayer, was written between 1578-85 by St. John of the Cross, the great Spanish Carmelite saint, mystic and poet (d 1591).  It complements his treatise, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, in which the soul learns to love God by pulling up and rooting out his or her vices.  Whereas vices puff up the ego, the love of God scours the ego clean.

The Dark Night is a metaphor describing the mystical union between the soul and God in prayer.  In this dark night, the soul is detached from all that is not God, undergoes privation of light but remains on the road to darkness because it will lead to the light.  Thus John builds his systematic exposition of the spiritual life upon this metaphor.

The dark night comes not at the beginning of one’s journey to God.  It usually happens when souls have entered the unitive way, that is, when their wills and hearts are united in perfect harmony with God’s.

History has proved that God consistently sends trial to the souls who seek perfection, but lay persons and consecrated men and women experience different dark nights suited to their different vocations. The biographies of saints as well as the masters of the spiritual life are in agreement.

In The Graces of Interior Prayer, Fr. A. Poulain, S.J. tells us who he likely ones are to receive these trials.  “And as persons who are leading a purely contemplative life are not obliged to undergo the arduous labors the active life entails, God sends them interior crosses by way of compensation.  And then they feel these crosses more keenly, being more thrown back upon themselves” (400).

It appears that Mother Teresa is an exception to this rule.  Her life serving the poorest of the poor was not just active.  It was arduous.  The work day of the sisters is usually between ten and twelve hours of manual labor.  Yet the Rule of the Missionaries of Charity requires them to spend at least two hours in prayer and contemplation every day in addition to other exercises—the Office, Examen, and spiritual reading.  Formed and guided by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, these sisters are true active contemplatives.

The Dark Night and Passive Purification

The Dark Night is essentially an experience of infused contemplation.  One cannot ask for it; one ought not ask for it.  In The Dark Night, the purification is accomplished by God and not by the will of the individual who could never accomplish this task.  John describes this metaphor:

A mother weans her child away from the sweetness and consolation of being nourished at the breast, and of having her child experience its own independence away from the mother.  This purification is accomplished by the mother and not by the child.  Passive purification.

The dark night first affects and purifies the individual’s spiritual senses.  These are:  spiritual pride and avarice, spiritual lust and anger, spiritual gluttony, envy, and sloth.  Persons succumb to spiritual gluttony, for example, when they seek sweetness, delight, and satisfaction in prayer, striving more to savor the sweet experiences rather than the desire to please God. Spiritual sloth delights in spiritual gratification, but when the soul is told to do something unpleasant, it remains lax.

The first and chief benefit of this dark night of contemplation is the knowledge of self and of one’s misery and lowliness but also of God’s grandeur and majesty.

The second is the purification of the spiritual faculties:  the intellect, the will, and the memory. John compares this experience to a fire consuming a log.  In both books, the soul does little more than dispose itself for the divine action.

Here are the first two stanzas of the poem anticipating the explanation of Books One and Two:

One dark night,
Fired with love’s urgent longings
–ah, the sheer grace!—
I  went out unseen,
My house being now all stilled.

In darkness, and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised,
–ah, the sheer grace!—
In darkness and concealment,
My house being now all stilled.

Mother Teresa’s Dark Night

We can never know what activity takes place inside another person.  Yet, we know that dryness, aridity, and restlessness in prayer afflicted Mother Teresa as well as doubt in the existence of God.

She remained a woman of joy, faithful to her religious vocation as a missionary. Read some of her reflections, marked by darkness:

“In my soul, I feel just that terrible pain of loss of God not wanting me—of God not being God—of God not existing.”

“I find no words to express the depths of the darkness.  If you only knew what  darkness I am plunged into.”

“In the darkness . . . . Lord, my God, who am I that you should forsake me?  The child of your love—and now become as the most hated one.  The one—you have thrown away as unwanted—unloved.  I call, I cling, I want, and there is no one to answer . . . Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul.  Love—the word—it brings nothing.  I am told God lives in me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”  The self-offering of St. Ignatius sums up Book Two and the total offering of Mother Teresa, now St. Teresa of Calcutta:

“Take, Lord,
into your possession
my complete freedom of action:
my memory, my understanding, my entire will;
all that I have, all that I own.
It is your gift to me.
I now return it to you to be used simply as you wish.
Give me your love and your grace.
It is all I need.”



Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘Never Converse With the Devil

Never converse with the devil, who seduces and ruins lives.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s readings, which continued reflecting on the end of the world, as discussed in the Book of Revelations.

Seducer, Liar, Trickster

The Pontiff noted how in today’s reading the angel seizes the serpent, chains it up and throws it into the abyss, which is then locked and sealed, and stressed that the serpent or devil is thrown into the abyss “so that it would no longer lead the nations astray” because it is the seducer.

“He is a liar and what’s more is the father of lies, he generates lies and is a trickster. He makes you believe that if you eat this apple you will be like a God. He sells it to you like this and you buy it and in the end he tricks you, deceives you and ruins your life.

“‘But father, what can we do to avoid being deceived by the devil?’ Jesus teaches us: never converse with the devil. One does not converse with him. What did Jesus do with the devil?  He chased him away, he asked his name but did not hold a dialogue with him.”

How to Defend Oneself

Pope Francis went on to explain how when Jesus was in the wilderness, he defended himself when replying to the devil by using the Word of God and the Word of the Bible.

Thus, the Argentine Pope stressed, we must never converse with this liar and trickster who seeks our ruin and who for this reason will be thrown into the abyss.

The Holy Father also described how today’s reading shows how the Lord will judge the great and the lowly “according to their deeds,” with the damned being thrown into the pool of fire. Francis described this as the “second death.”

Not a Torture Chamber

“Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber,” he said. “That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it’s because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him.”

What eternal damnation is, he explained, is “continually distancing oneself from God.”

“It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.”

Distancing oneself from God Who gives happiness and Who loves us so much, the Pontiff admonished, is the “fire,” and the road to eternal damnation.

Pointing out how the reading’s final image ends with a vision of hope, Francis noted that if with humility, we open our hearts, we will have joy, salvation, and will receive Jesus’ forgiveness.

“Hope is what opens our hearts to the encounter with Jesus. This is what awaits us: the encounter with Jesus. It’s beautiful, very beautiful,” Pope Francis said, concluding, “He asks us only to be humble and say ‘Lord.’ It’s enough to say that word and He will do the rest.”



Saints’ Quotes for Trials and Sufferings

Sufferings include not only the difficulties of daily labours, but also holy inconvenience like self-denial, self-sacrifice, patience, humility, and obedience.

In no particular rank.

1. “Fire cannot last long in water, nor can a shameful thought in a heart that loves God. For every man who loves God suffers gladly, and voluntary suffering is by nature the enemy of sensual pleasure.” -St. Mark the Ascetic

2. “Be very careful to retain peace of heart, because Satan casts his lines in troubled waters.” -St. Paul of the Cross

3. “If you purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.” -St. John of the Cross

4. “Do not put faith in constant happiness, and fear most when all smiles upon you.” -St. Ignatius of Loyola

5. “Patience obtains everything.” -St. Teresa of Avila

6. “Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same Everlasting Father Who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” -St. Francis de Sales

7. “If you attach your heart to certain places and occupations, obedience oftentimes places you in some other place that you may not like; to be always cheerful, be always humble and obedient.” -St. Ignatius of Loyola

8. “When harmed, insulted or persecuted by someone, do not think of the present but wait for the future, and you will find he has brought you much good, not only in this life but also in the life to come.” -St. Mark the Ascetic

9. “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” -St. Catherine of Siena

10. “No man discovers anything big if he does not make himself small.” -Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

11. “Don’t say: ‘That person gets on my nerves.’ Think: ‘That person sanctifies me.'” -St. Josemaria Escriva

12. “We put pride into everything like salt. We like to see that our good works are known. If our virtues are seen, we are pleased; if our faults are perceived, we are sad. I remark that in a great many people; if one says anything to them, it disturbs them, it annoys them. The saints were not like that—they were vexed if their virtues were known, and pleased that their imperfections should be seen.” -St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney

13. “Place your hopes in the mercy of God and the merits of our Redeemer; say often, looking at the crucifix: There are centered all my hopes.” -St. Paul of the Cross

14. “The greater and more persistent your confidence in God, the more abundantly you will receive all that you ask.” -St. Albert the Great

15. “Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.” -St. Teresa of Avila

16. “Obedience is the complete renunciation of one’s own soul, demonstrated, however, by actions. More exactly, it is the death of the senses in a living soul. Obedience is a freely chosen death, a life without cares, danger without fears, unshakable trust in God, no fear of death. It is a voyage without perils, a journey in your sleep. Obedience is the burial of the will and the resurrection of humility. Obedience is to give up one’s own judgement but to do it with wise consultation. It is very costly, beginning to die to the will and the senses. To continue dying is hard but not indefinitely so. In the end all aversion stops and absolute peace takes command.” -St. John Climacus

17. “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” -St. Augustine

18. “Suffering is the very best gift He has to give us. He gives it only to His chosen friends.” -St. Therese of Lisieux

19. “Blessed the one who continually humbles himself willingly; he will be crowned by the One who willingly humbled himself for our sake.” -St. Ephrem of Syria

20. “When we have to reply to anyone who has insulted us, we should be careful to do it always with gentleness. A soft answer extinguishes the fire of wrath.” -St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

21. “Humility if the true guardian of chastity.” -St. Philip Neri

22. “God sends such purgations to you, directors of consciences, that you may acquire the science of the saints and the art of directing souls. You will suffer also in another way. Love will be your executioner. Let it do its work; it knows how. In this martyrdom we have need of extraordinary grace and strength; but God will bestow it. Without this divine help it would be impossible to bear up.” -St Paul of the Cross

23. “We must submit to the Will of God and kiss the hand that strikes us, for we know it is better to suffer in this life than in the next, since one moment of suffering willingly accepted for the love God, is worth an eternity of happiness.” -St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

24. “The more the intellect withdraws from bodily cares, the more clearly it sees the craftiness of the enemy.” -St. Mark the Ascetic

25. “They who load us with insults and ignominies give us the means of acquiring treasures more precious than any that man can gain in this life.” -St. Ignatius of Loyola

26. “We should let God be the One to praise us and not praise ourselves.” -Pope St. Clement I

27. “If humble souls are contradicted, they remain calm; if they are calumniated, they suffer with patience; if they are little esteemed, neglected, or forgotten, they consider that their due; if they are weighed down with occupations, they perform them cheerfully.” -St. Vincent de Paul

28. “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending.” -St. Augustine

29. “Humility is the mother of many virtues because from it obedience, fear, reverence, patience, modesty, meekness and peace are born.” -St. Thomas of Villanova

30. “Consider the outcome of every involuntary affliction, and you will find it has been the destruction of sin.” -St. Mark the Ascetic

31. “I often thought my constitution would never endure the work I had to do, (but) the Lord said to me: ‘Daughter, obedience gives strength.'” -St. Teresa of Avila

32. “Don’t give in to discouragement. If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers. Never bother about people’s opinions. Be obedient to truth. For with humble obedience, you will never be disturbed.” -Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

33. “As iron is fashioned by fire and on the anvil, so in the fire of suffering and under the weight of trials, our souls receive that form which our Lord desires them to have.” -St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

34. “Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent.” -St. John of the Cross

35. “If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.” -St. Ignatius of Loyola

36. “Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Saviour; in suffering love becomes crystallised; the greater the suffering, the purer the love.” -St. Faustina

37. “Trials are nothing else but the forge that purifies the soul of all its imperfections.” -St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi

38. “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” -St. Francis de Sales

39. “Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.” -St. Jerome

40. “She who desires peace must see, suffer and be silent.” -St. Teresa Margaret

41. “He who knows how to forgive prepares for himself many graces from God. As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart.” -St. Faustina

42. “Peace is not just the absence of war. Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently and with unshakable faith.” -Blessed Pope John Paul II

43. “The greatest greatest honor God can do for a soul is not to give it much, but to ask much of it.” -St. Therese of Lisieux

44. “We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials.” -St. Teresa of Avila

45. “When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.” -St. Sebastian Valfre

46. “Suffering borne in the will quietly and patiently is a continual, very powerful prayer before God.” -St. Jane Frances de Chantal

47. “Thank God I am deemed worthy to be hated by the world.” -St. Jerome

48. “It is good to think about our having our citizenship in Heaven and the saints of Heaven as our fellow citizens…Then it is easier to bear the things that are on Earth.” -St. Edith Stein

49. “The angels and the saints rejoice at the sight of men on earth who struggle, suffer and labor for the love of Christ.” -Blessed Rafel Arnaiz Baron

50. “He that rises after his falls, with confidence in God and profound humility of heart, will become, in God’s hands, a proper instrument for the accomplishment of great things; but he who acts otherwise can never do any good.” -St. Paul of the Cross