'Grace Abounded All the More'
Even if you paid only cursory attention to the headlines of 2014, you know that it was year top-heavy with tragedy, war, persecution, and violence. But as we know from Scripture, "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom 5:20). The following are our favorite quotes from 2014, a year in which goodness prevailed:
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"To change the world we must be good to those who cannot repay us."
— Pope Francis, as Tweeted on Oct. 18 (check out the Holy Father's Twitter page)
"Look at this door. One day, God may allow someone from those terrorist people ... to come in this door. They will have a big beard and very threatening faces, maybe they will have swords. They will put their swords on our necks, and you may see some blood. They will hurt us. We will have pain, but don't worry about this pain. We will close our eyes, and we will open them again in heaven, and we will be with Jesus, singing with the angels. Just tell these people, 'I forgive you, and Jesus loves you.'"
— Liena, a Christian in Syria, recalling what she said to her young children earlier this year. Liena and her family have turned down offers of asylum in Western countries after civil war broke out in Syria, choosing instead to remain as Christian witnesses to their Muslim neighbors. As of the New Year, the family remains unharmed.
"And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people's wound; who doesn't see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God's mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem."
— Pope Francis, at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Oct. 19
"I am going to get on that ambulance. I am going to every nook and cranny of the capital city, pick up whatsoever Ebola patient and take them to the treatment unit, and give them words of hope, of encouragement. And try to educate people about Ebola."
— Ambulance supervisor Foday Gallah in October, in the Liberian capital Monrovia
"Let's tackle the mercy that's hardest of all: Pray for your enemies, the enemies of the Church, and the enemies of humanity. Pray for ISIS, and all the other jihadist organizations exiling or killing our Christian brethren. Pray for North Korea and the other regimes around the world that imprison Christians, forbid religion, and fight the children of Mary (see Rev. 12:1, 17). Pray for the secularists here at home who seek to drive religion from the public square, and for the atheists who are so quick to take offense, as well as so quick to seek to offend. Pray for the criminal organizations that target the priests and religious who oppose them. Pray for the worst of the worst, for the enemies of humanity, those who enslave others, who loot, who murder, who sell their fellow human beings. Pray for your enemies, and the enemies of the Church, and the enemies of us all. We are called to do this by the message and devotion of Divine Mercy. After all, every time we pray the chaplet, we are pleading for Divine Mercy 'on us, and on the whole world.' That includes all, the bad and the good alike."
— Chris Sparks, writer for the Association of Marian Helpers, in his Oct. 14 story 'Love Your Enemies'
"His contributions to the Church were enormous, including preparing the English-language edition of the Diary of St. Faustina and developing a thematic concordance of the Diary. When it comes to the Divine Mercy message, he was like a little kid in a candy store. As the editor of many of his books, I would sometimes get a little exasperated because in his drafts he would pepper his prose with so many exclamation points. But he did that because he was so enthusiastic. He had so much exuberance. In Fr. Kosicki's honor — exclamation point added — I say, 'Jesus, I trust in You!'"
— David Came, executive editor of Marian Helper magazine, on the death of Fr. George Kosicki, CSB, bestselling Marian Press author and longtime collaborator with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in spreading the message of Divine Mercy, who died peacefully on Aug. 11
"Because he was born, the world — our world — has become a better place. Yet the example he has left us, we must follow; admiration without imitation is useless."
— Father Glenn Sudano, CFR, speaking of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, who died on Oct. 3
"Saint John XXIII and St. John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch His torn hands and His pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by Him, by His cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. ... They were priests, and bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful — faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother. In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to His mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on His disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude."
— Pope Francis, on April 27, at the Holy Mass and Rite of Canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II
"I believe it's my mission to help people who lose hope. When you are in the last moments of life, you tend to lose hope. But I want the seriously ill to know that hope is the last thing they should lose. We should always, always persevere in doing God's will, and that's what I do with the sick patients now. I visit them, and I don't let them fall into hopelessness. I give them a hand so that they can move forward. So that they trust in God, since God Himself is going to walk in front of them."
— Floribeth Mora, the recipient of the miracle recognized for the canonization of John Paul II (read our April 24 interview with Floribeth)
"We're all called to enjoy being Catholic. It's the single most effective way to evangelize. The world offers countless pleasures but not one single lasting joy."
— Dr. Scott Hahn, on April 5, at the ninth annual Divine Mercy Conference, in Bronx, New York
Do you have any favorite quotes you wish to share? We want to hear them! Please comment.