Ave Maria Meditations

It is a great thing to realize that in order to be saints we have only to be what God made us to be, and to do what God made us to do. If we are clever, then to be clever; if we are not clever, then not to be clever; if we are successful, then to be successful; if not successful, then not to succeed; if in good health, then to be healthy; if sickly, then to be sickly; and so on. Perfect simplicity with regard to ourselves; perfect contentment with everything that comes our way; perfect peace of mind in utter self-forgetfulness. 

This becomes easier the more we realize the utter greatness and goodness and allness of God. Then we realize our own utter insignificance and worthlessness and nothingness; a mere squeak of a mouse in the infin­ity of God. If we see the whole, we shall easily despise the trifles; if we lose ourselves in God, how puny the rest appears!  

This is the cure for making too much of little things whether they go right, or whether they go wrong, which is the cause of all our loss of peace of mind. This is the real test of sanctity, that simplicity of trust in God, which is the perfection of human nature. In the end, when life is done and all is over, such a soul is found more precious than one that has shone in many deeds.


First make a great deal of God, forgetting, if we can, at times everything else in His presence. Secondly, make nothing at all of ourselves, whether we are clever or whether we are not, whether we are loved or whether we are not, whether we succeed or whether we do not, whether we get what we desire or do not.  

In the midst of all we can rejoice: (a) that we are what He has made us; (b) that those things happen which He wants to happen, (c) that if all the world were to collapse and the very heavens were to fall, there would be still the great, living, loving God.  

So, if we want to be saints:

(1) Sit still often in the presence of God, lost in acts of faith, and love, and hope, in acts of praise, and adoration, and thanksgiving.

(2) When the thought of ourselves with our own petty worries creeps in, sit still again in His presence, with acts of humility, and contrition, and oblation, telling Him how small we are, how sorry we are for ourselves, how we would like to be and do better.

(3) When the human heart is hungry, as at times it must be, come again to the feet of God, and fill it with acts of longing for Him and His love and His glory, rather than with the little husks of self-satisfaction; fill it with acts of rejoicing in Him and in His tremendous almighti­ness, such that nothing in the world really matters any­thing at all.


PRAY LIKE THIS, and we shall lay the foundation on which sanctity is built.

LIVE LIKE THIS, and sanctity will build itself.

DIE LIKE THIS, and we shall die “good and faithful servants.”


By Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J.


Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Paul says:

    This is all fine, as long as you are not very sickly, or very unsuccessful, for to be that way in this world, our world, means to be shunned and abandoned by both “Christian” and pagan alike.

    I have discovered that ‘for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, really only means better, really only means healthy, and really only means not if you become poor because of sickness. Then the world abandons you — and not just the pagans, but the so-called Christians, too.

    Self-pity?… perhaps. Reality?….certainly.

    And as the Christians abandon you, they talk of how it is you have been given the opportunity to become a saint. The pagans at least do not pretend to care, you are simply seen as unfit to live.

    For me, I might be ready to die, but for the pain and perversion all of this hypocrisy is causing in the lives of the children who love me and learn the ways of the Catholic, Christian, and pagan alike. Darwin couldn’t be more pleased, I would think, than to see his theory being the practice, in all cases.

  • JosephMary says:

    I am sorry for your pain as you have indicated on Air Maria. And, yes, there is some validity to what you say. Our world, our society has a decreasing affection for those who are helpless or dying or in dire straits. And the move to be rid of such a ones is growing….the killing of the unborn, the euthanasia of the disabled and elderly and so forth. The dignity of human life is devalued in this world, perhaps as never before.

    What do we do? It is for you and for me to reach out to all who are marginalized. And perhaps we are ourselves! And still it is in giving of ourselves to others as best as we can that makes a difference in this world. One day our society may decide our lives have no value and if we are over a certain age, we will not be treated in our infirmities. But this world is passing away and it is too easy to fall into despair by gazing too hard upon it or expecting too much from it—-or even expecting too much from others, be they Catholic, Christian, pagan, etc. This is why depression is rampant.

    BUT there are others who need US. There are souls who need US. If one is in a nursing home and all they can do and offer for others is a smile and not to complain and to listen, then those ones are making a difference in their world, in their sphere. God asks us to be faithful. What everyone else does is beyond our control. The smallest thing done for the love of God makes a difference, even when we cannot see that it does. This is where hope comes in as well.

    God WILL sustain us as we cling to Him in our weakness. Our Lady WILL be there for us. And she will help us to put ourselves aside, to see what we can do as individuals to make living a little better for someone else. The world is full of sinners, and we are of that category as well; we must look beyond what others do or their bad example and so forth. God only holds us accountable for what we do. Hope fast! Delve into the sacramental life provided for us and seek the graces needed, for we are very weak, so that we can be a light in the growing darkness, a light that is a reflection of Our sweet Jesus,

    Ave Maria!

  • Paul says:

    Yes it does seem so. We must not expect Christians, Catholics, or pagans to do anything but pontificate and pretend. I agree. This is accepted and offered to the Cross of Christ.

    My children, however, learning this twisted and hypocritical version of Catholicism/Christianity are becoming filled with pain, filled with a survivalist mentality and spirit, and afraid, very very afraid, to ever be vulnerable and weak, or sickly and unsuccessful. This they learn mostly not from the world, or the pagans, but from the Catholic/Christians they are with as they sing in the choir at Mass, and as they receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and know in their little hearts that there are none there to give a rat’s, about someone they love, and that he must fend for himself or die, because it is his own fault that he is ill. So they learn that to get along, to survive, they must not love too much, or they too, will suffer the same abandonment, the same abuse. This is the example for them. And this comes from their Catholic/Christian community.

    Our smug and wealthy and oh so contented parishes are filled with this very threat. Time to kick over the tables, I should think. *The time for sermonizing about others’ suffering, and how they do not do it properly, is coming to an end.* The man left beaten and robbed in the parable, surely must have heard the same type of sermons from those who passed by. We’ve got a million of those stories we can give to him, even by not saying a word and just passing by. Okay, so that’s the story. Accepted. But we give it not only to him, whom we are certain has brought it on himself in some way or another, but we give it to every child who hears of it. Who is exposed to it. Most especially, his own. Not much of a “community”, really, for a child to follow as example, really, when it’s all just talk and smug self-satisfaction.

  • Paul says:

    But I will hope (even while here in this Catholic community I must often sneak in my sacraments somewhere if I am able to avoid these spiritual and emotional muggings), and stay alive as long as it pleases Him to keep me in this world. Yes I will hope in Him, and in Our Holy Mother. And I will offer up the abandonment, and the suffering, and the calumny both verbal and silent, that comes from these “good Christians”. And I will hope and hope and pray and pray, that the children who love me be saved from the den of iniquity that has surrounded them in the very place they should be receiving sanctuary. And if God wills, I will do better one day and find His true peace.

    Our Christian community has become little more than a support system for sin and selfishness, in all the varying ways we find to abuse the truth and twist it to our own ends.

    He will come, I must believe, and start “turning over the tables”, one day soon.

  • Marie says:


    We all live with the effects of original sin. Instead of waiting for love, (acceptance, understanding, assistance) to come your way, turn the tables, and offer love to others. You will set the best example for your children, and you will find that you will change the people around you. Unite your frustrations and disappointments to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Jesus, who is Love, was abandoned by His closest friends. Unite your sufferings to Theirs and find peace and joy among this defective world.

    ~from a joyful heart

    Ave Maria!

  • Paul says:


    You assume a great deal!

    That love has been offered over and over and over and over again. You, however, assume that it hasn’t.

    It has been roundly rejected and/or abused, quite consistently for a number of years.

    More abuse. Thank you, dear.

  • Paul says:

    But I will indeed continue to offer love to them. Thank you for the good advice.

  • Marie says:


    May you, and your family, become the saints God intends you to be! Those who make it to heaven by suffering patiently here on earth will be ‘smoothered’ in Love for all eternity!! 🙂
    Cling to the Most Holy Rosary…I find it helps me through ‘tough times’. I wish you all the best….

    ~a joyful heart

  • Paul says:


    Yes, we must cling to God Who is Love, not run from Him, or push Him and His Holy Cross off into some distant dreamworld! It is to be our reality, our path into Heaven with Jesus and Mary.

    But that does take a certain amount of courage, and prayer, and spiritual honesty, and a willingness to accept Jesus and His sufferings….and not reject them. Any attempts to diminish His suffering with pious platitudes, or facile solutions, is to leave the world and all we sinners, in sin and agony.

    I too, wish you all the best…. and I will go now and pray the Rosary for these intentions. <3 ….and for my family and I.

    God bless.

  • Paul says:

    Did you want me to rephrase the post I made, Jan. 19th, 10 a.m., on “assuming quite a lot”?
    I see it has been taken out of the thread, the comment I made on offering love time and time again and it being rejected and/or abused consistently

  • Paul says:

    I am not sure why that post was accepted and then just now deleted.

  • Paul says:

    Well, I have been on quite the rant here, and I would think that your prayers would be very helpful. I have some periods, from time to time, when I get overloaded with what has been happening here in the last several years, particularly when the illness kicks into high gear and people in my area start to push my buttons. I apologize for offending anyone, if that has been the case. I would ask for prayers that I find my way out of this turmoil, both spiritually and temporally. I have been trying daily and with hope that I will trust God and be focused on the Kingdom of Heaven. I am not particularly saintly as of today. One can always hope, though, for my future. I ask for the grace to trust Jesus and to be at peace. Abuse can be a difficult thing to forgive, I suppose, whatever form it takes. I think perhaps this is why the scandals of recent years have been so damaging. When people who are trusted and loved abuse, it can create deep wounds in others. Anger is often an outlet for that deep feeling of betrayal, for us mere mortal types anyway. May God bless you and please forgive me if I have done damage to anyone here with this anger of mine.

  • mary says:

    Paul, Actually, you have helped me. I have recently been sick myself, nothing terminal, but it has scared me very much. Plus, I have been abused myself, only emotionally and verbally through my life, and I have been trying for quite a few years now to rid myself of the anger. You have said it so accurately, being hurt by those who were supposed to love and accept me, which caused a deep wound, has come out as anger. I can so relate to you on quite a few things. I am also misunderstood and ostracized. I will pray for you and your children, and ask your prayers for me also. God Bless you and Mary and the saints pray for you!

  • Paul says:

    Well, mary, I hope you will know, too, how much you have helped me with that reply. I will certainly be praying for you, too, and also giving thanks for the kindness and understanding you have shown me.

    Your reply was a much-needed message of peace for me. Thank you for that. May God bless you and Mother Mary keep you. I’ll be praying for you, too.

  • Paul says:

    I am at times quite stunned by the fact that, with all of our supposed insights and wisdoms, why we are so often quite unable to deal forthrightly and with true focus in these days, on the most fundamental of doctrines given to us by the Holy Spirit.

    CCC #2385

    “Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society….”

    This truth we simply have become accustomed to, a general state of the world that is glibly accepted. Hence, the huge increase in annulments granted by increasingly capitulating tribunals.

    “This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse…….”

    We become numb to the above sections for the most part.

    But……. how we can be so blinded and numbed and glib about the last section of this teaching? —

    “……..to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.”

    —this is what truly stuns me when dealing with people who pass off personal opinions, which don’t even come close to the true teachings of the Holy Spirit, as some kind of deep wisdom. Or, and I’m not sure which is worse, just don’t seem to think the teaching is true and that we are all somehow going to be immune to the grave harm of this plague.

    These are little souls being “gravely harmed”. And we offer glib or sanctimonious platitudes. And then we pretend to truly care about children. How have we become so blinded, so ignorant, and numb to the sins such as these that harm little children.

    Truly stunning.

    ……..to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.”

    And we offer more platitudes and more worldly acceptance. “Better a millstone around the neck” than to find worldly ways, or even supposed “spiritual” ways, to deny the truths of the Holy Spirit concerning these little children.

    Anger *should* be the proper response, not glib acceptance and false, supposedly spiritual platitudes.

    We truly are a far-gone generation. Stunned by our own sense of personal wisdom. The same pride that drove Lucifer to say, I will not serve.

    Because we know better. God help us.

  • Paul says:

    To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else *is a mark of imperfection* and even of *actual sin*.

    -St. Thomas Aquinas

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