Friday, April 20, 2018


Last night my sister, Catherine Marie "Kaye" (Knott) Ray, passed peacefully from this word to the next at 11:05 pm with her husband, Richard, and myself, her brother, at her side.
Father Bob Ray is the brother of her husband, Richard Ray.
Most of the rest of the family joined us at her bedside shortly after.
She suffered from complications of a brain tumor, but fought it bravely as long as she could.
Amazingly she was alert and could communicate up to the last couple of days.
She was totally pain-free for almost all of the time she was dying. 
We are grateful.  

Todd, Craig, Kaye and Richard, Eric


Visitation will be at Hagar Funeral Home in Brandenburg Sunday, May 22, from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at Saint Theresa Church in Rhodelia on Monday May 23.
 Viewing in the church from 10:30 to 11:00 am.  Mass will begin at 11:00 pm. 

She will be buried in the solid cherry casket she picked out from Abbey Caskets of Saint Meinrad. These caskets are generous gifts from the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey to Father Knott and each of his siblings in gratitude for the 14 years he worked there. 

in our younger days

Tuesday, April 17, 2018



Bemidji (/bəˈmɪ/ bə-MIJ-ee) is a city in Beltrami County (and county seat), in north west Minnesota, United States. With a population of 14,301 as of July 1, 2016, it is the largest commercial center between Grand ForksNorth Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota. Bemidji houses many Native American services, including the Indian Health Service. The city is the central hub of the Red Lake Indian ReservationWhite Earth Indian Reservation and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. Bemidji lies on the south west shore of Lake Bemidji, the northernmost lake feeding the Mississippi River and as such is deemed "The First City On The Mississippi." Bemidji is also the self proclaimed "curling capital" of the U.S. and birth place of Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack in American folklore. His exploits revolve around the tall tales of his superhuman labors, and he is customarily accompanied by Babe the Blue Ox. The character originated in the oral tradition of North American loggers, and was later popularized by freelance writer William B. Laughead (1882–1958) in a 1916 promotional pamphlet for the Red River Lumber Company. He has been the subject of various literary compositions, musical pieces, commercial works, and theatrical productions. His likeness is displayed in several statues across North America.

Because of a huge snowstorm in Minneapolis Sunday, I was delayed leaving Louisville 9 times! I finally got to Minneapolis about 2:00 am, missing my flight that night to Bemidji. I stayed all night in a hotel and tried to get a flight up the next day. The best I could do was a standby (useless in a storm situation.) 

Since the plane was going to be delayed again, possibly two times, one of the priests from the Minneapolis Archdiocese, Father Mike Sullivan, volunteered to pick me up at the airport and take me the first two hours of the trip up to Bemidji. 

Deacon Robb and his dog Jacques (below) met us half-way and drove me the second two hours of the trip from Minneapolis to Bemidji. 

I got to the retreat several hours late and have been doing my best to make the old schedule work. 

We met at a Hampton Inn in the lake town of Bemidji

The whole gang - priests, bishop and retired bishop.







Father Raul Perez-Cobo, from Columbia (South America) now a priest of the Crookston Diocese and a former student of mine at Saint Meinrad, reunite after several years for a nice cigar. 
He has a laugh that is contagious. He has always made me happy when I see him. 

Pray that the trip home will be easier than the trip up!

I am exhausted, but very happy with this experience!

Monday, April 16, 2018


I'll Go Anywhere I Am Wanted 

The Spring Study Days are scheduled to begin today - Monday. I am happy to present a brief report and some photos from our three day meeting over the next couple of days. 


 The Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, borders on 
North Dakota on the west and Canada on the north. 

Aerial view of Crookston, Minnesota, with the Red Lake River twisting through the town
Crookston is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is the county seat of Polk County. The population was 7,891 at the 2010 census. It is part of the "Grand ForksNDMN Metropolitan Statistical Area" or "Greater Grand Forks".
Crookston is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston. Since Crookston is close to the larger city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, many people who live in Crookston commute to jobs in the Grand Forks area.

We are meeting outside the city of Crookston in the lake town of Bemidji. 

Priest Spring Study Days
April 16-18, 2018 

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner

Msgr. Michael Foltz, my contact person for the convocation

I was their taxi driver to the airport and parking lot for their cars.  I still am for Deacon Nate Bruun. 

Very Rev. Raul Perez-Cobo (originally from Columbia) 

Rev. Matt Schmitz

Deacon Nate Brunn

Father Matt Schmitz's Ordination to Priesthood Mass. After taking him to the Louisville airport and picking him up on his way back to the seminary for years, now it's Father Schmitz's turn to pick me up at the Bemidji Airport. 

2018 Chrism Mass with some of the local presbyterate on the left. 

Bishop Hoeppner and his seminarians. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Peace be with you!
Luke 24:35-48

I would describe myself, especially in my early years, as an “anxious” person. To be “anxious” is to be “uneasy and apprehensive about something uncertain” or to be “worried.”  It’s all about that awful thing might happen next.  Living in anxiety is a lot like living with a ticking time-bomb strapped to your leg – only all day, everyday. It is living in dread, living on “pins and needles,” “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” waiting to “hit bottom” after falling. It is no way to live and only those who have been there understand. 

As a small child, anxiety was a simple, passing experience – the terror of hiding under covers, wide-awake, after your older sister had told convincing ghost stories or during the height of a crashing, booming rainstorm.

As an older child, our home was an emotional mind field, loaded with unseen triggers everywhere. You never knew if your next step would set off an explosion of curse-filled name-calling – and worst of all, knowing that there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from it. You had to stand and take it until the storm passed, only to have it return again without notice. 

As a young man still in school, it was about the fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, fear of being laughed at and bullied, fear of not having enough to live on and the fear of going nowhere from where you were, the fear that “this” was going to be “as good as it gets.”

As a young priest, it was about being threatened by the Klan, being scorned in public for being a Catholic by some Protestant ministers on the radio and for being a liberal Catholic by fundamentalist Catholics, being stalked by a knife wielding schizophrenic, watching years of work and dreams crack and almost fall to the ground in front of me, sleeping with one eye open for years after having your home burglarized three times, being ashamed of being a priest and maybe of being falsely accused during wave after wave of bad news about the sexual abuse scandal or waiting for the results of a biopsy that might have been cancer. 

Peace be with you!”

At 74, this may be the most anxiety free time of my life. Today, I know “peace,” the opposite of “anxiety.”  I have a safe place to live. I have enough to live comfortably and a little saved for the future. I have a few successes behind me and I have a variety of wonderful jobs to wake up for every day. I feel loved and accepted by myself and by most of those who know me.

But most of all, I am more at peace now than I have ever been because I have discovered the “good news” that Jesus came to bring. I know that I am loved by God, without condition, and in the end that everything is going to turn out OK, even if I may still have to face the challenges of old age, bad health and, God forbid, a painful death.  Because of the peace that God gives those who believe in his “good news,” I am confident that he will help me handle whatever comes my way, the rest of the way.    

                                 “Peace be with you!”

As many of you know, I officially “retired” June 30th  2015. Before I retired, I worked for several years on a project that would help me and other retired priests across the country do exciting and interesting things we had always wanted to do, but never got a chance to do – things that would help the church and keep us engaged for several more years. I managed to get it funded, I was going to run it in my own retirement, it was all set to be launched when it blew up on the launching pad. Because the plans for my own retirement, as well as many others who were looking forward to this new program, were in ashes due to a couple of dysfunctional people, I was left angry and hurt and confused.  My peaceful center was shaken to the core.  At my lowest point,  I wrote in my journal that I wanted to believe that when plan A falls apart, it just means that God has a plan B that he is about to reveal that could be even better. It has been that way through most of my life. Well, God’s plan B for me was revealed to me over the Easter holidays three years ago! Indeed, we should be careful what we pray for because God is certainly capable of delivering some big surprises!

Holy Week, three years ago, I went down to the Caribbean island countries of Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help Bishop Jason Gordon with a prayer day for his priests preceding the annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Kingstown on St. Vincent. That was followed by leading services on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday at two parishes in the center of the island for a priest who had come down sick.
Before you think white sandy beaches and beautiful hotels, think poverty, heat, pot holes and challenging foreign mission work! I came home reeling from one of the most challenging Holy Weeks I have ever been through. The people were poor, the water risky, the roads a mess and the whole island was lacking in beaches and gorgeous hotels compared to typical Caribbean travel brochures.  However, the people were very friendly and appreciative, they welcomed me with open arms and they can put Catholics in this country to shame when it comes to singing in church!
I have been going back. Bishop Gordon (now Archbishop Gordon of Trinidad), himself a native of the island country of Trinidad, wanted me to come back two or three times a year mainly to do some ongoing formation for his handful of priests and deacons, as well as help in parishes whenever possible. He wanted me to do some of these thing in both of his dioceses - Bridgetown (Barbados) and Kingstown (St. Vincent and the Grenadines). It’s tough, uncomfortable and demanding work. One has to have the heart of a missionary and a huge amount of God’s grace for a spoiled American like me to serve down there! I am truly amazed at how much we have accomplished in the last three years, especially in Saint Vincent. 
I had no idea this opportunity would present itself the way it has. I didn’t know how fast I could get involved, but I was certainly willing to explore these possibilities. I started out in the home missions of our diocese, now it looks like I could end up, part of the year at least, working in the foreign missions. My tenth trip is coming up in June. One toe at a time, I am willing to take the plunge.  I have been amazed at how much has happened already.  I am hooked. My peace and excitement for ministry has been restored. I feel I am in the right place! 

“Peace be with you!”

These words of Jesus were not only addressed to the terrified disciples, huddled together and cringing in fear, in that upper room after his crucifixion, these words are addressed to all of us today; whether you are a student worried about grades, finances or the fall-out of a bad choice made in the heat of passion; whether you are living in abusive relationship or an unsafe environment or with constant discrimination of being different; whether you are unemployed, in debt up to your ears or barely handling a chronic health problem; whether you are a single parent trying to make it on your own; whether you are religiously scrupulous and live in constant fear of a punishing God and can’t let go of it. Jesus addresses his words to you today. Peace be with you! Calm down! It’s going to be OK! When all is said and done, things are going to turn out just fine. I am with you! Trust me!

Anxiety is worry about what might happen. Peace is the awareness that everything will be OK no matter what happens.  Trust in God is the only way to peace. Peace is God’s gift to us and it is based on the “good news” that we are loved and that great things await us – because God said so!

Let me end with one of my favorite prayers by Saint Francis de Sales. 

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

“Peace be with you!”

Friday, April 13, 2018


"All stress is caused by wanting this moment to be something it is not."

Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, April 10, 2018



Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.
Anatole France

It does no harm once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in this country besides politicians, entertainers and criminals.
Charles Kuralt

Those who are lifting the world upward and onward
are those who encourage more than criticize.
Elizabeth Harrison

Let us stop thinking so much about punishing, criticizing and improving others. Instead, let us rather raise ourselves that much higher. Let us color our own example with ever more vividness.
Friedrich Nietzsche

The meanest, most contemptible kind of praise is that which first speaks well of a man,
and then qualifies it with a ‘but.’
Henry Ward Beecher

You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.
Jim Stoval

Judicious praise is to children what the sun is to flowers.


We grow gray in spirit long before we grow gray in our hair.
Charles Lamb

Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
Garson Kanin

Old age is like flying through a storm.
Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do.
Golda Meir

Age is opportunity no less than youth itself,
though in another dress.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
John Barrymore

At 20 we worry about what others think of us; at 40 we don’t care about what others think of us; 
at 60 we discover they haven’t been thinking about us at all.
Malcolm Forbes

Age is an issue of mind over matter.
If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
Mark Twain


If you don’t think every day is a good day,
just try missing one.
Cavett Robert

Happiness is an inside job.
Dr. Bernie Siegel

Believe that you will succeed … believe it firmly and
you will do what is necessary to bring it to success.
Dale Carnegie

People with goals succeed because they know where
they are going … it’s as simple as that.
Earl Nightingale

Men are not prisoners of fate,
but only prisoners of their own minds.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Those who think they can and those
who think they can’t are both right.
Henry Ford

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, 
but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
Hugh Downs

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
John Lubbock

If you keep saying things are going to be bad,
you have a good chance of becoming a prophet.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

By believing passionately in that which does not exist, we create it. 
That which is nonexistent has not been sufficiently desired.
Nikos Kazantzakis

You hear people complaining about this present day and age because things were so much better in former times. I wonder what would happen if they could be taken back to the days of their ancestors — would we not still hear them complaining? You may think past ages were good, but it is only because you are not living in them.
St. Augustine

I cannot change the direction of the wind,
but I can adjust my sails.

It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to!
W. C. Fields

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a
human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.
William James


All things that resist change are changed by that resistance
in ways undesired and undesirable.
Garry Willis

The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view.
Brooks Atkinson

To get what you want, stop doing what isn’t working.
Dennis Weaver

When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.
Dr. Wayne Dyer

The only constant in life is change.
Francois de la Rochefoucald

The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transaction which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.
John C. Calhoun - VP under John Quincy Adams

... on facing transitions in one’s life...

It’s like being between trapezes. It’s like Linus when
his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hang onto.”
Marilyn Ferguson

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel
when you come into contact with a new idea.
Pearl Buck

Tradition is creative. Always original, it always opens out to new horizons for an old journey. Those who are not humble hate their past and push it out of sight, just as they cut down the growing and green things that spring up inexhaustibly even in the present.
Thomas Merton

My life changed once things changed in me.
Tyler Perry

Nothing gets better by leaving it alone.
Winston Churchill


God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
John Wayne

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment; sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; ambition called me, but I dreaded the chance. Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. And now I know that we must lift the sail and catch the winds of destiny wherever they drive the boat. To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, but life without meaning is the torture of restlessness and vague desire — it is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
Edgar Lee Masters - from George Gray

People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again. Mourning can go on for years and years. It doesn’t end after a year; that’s a false fantasy. It usually ends when people realize that they can live again, that they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole, and not on their hurt, and guilt and pain.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for enough good people to do nothing.
Edmund Burke

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and not tried.
G. K. Chesterton

Only those who risk going too far
can possibly find out how far they can go.
T.S. Eliot

Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, 
trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow; 
freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi

The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave
is to profess courage and act accordingly.
Cora Harris

May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith.
Mother Teresa

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood: who strives valiantly, who errs, and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside you.
Steven Covey


I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary!
St. Francis of Assisi

It’s time Christians were judged more by their
likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ.
William Penn

We think if we can dispense adequate information, people will be convinced that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and turn to him. Those methods don’t work anymore. I’m not sure they ever did. People aren’t looking for information about God. They want to experience God himself. Information leaves them bored, uninterested. Experience, especially the ultimate experience any human being can ever have, leaves them breathless. And that is what we have to offer.
Mark Tabb


It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
Bilbo - to Frodo in Fellowship of the Rings

It seems the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.
Abraham Maslow

The greatest mistake we make is living in
constant fear that we will make one.
John C. Maxwell

A fear of the unknown keeps a lot of people
from leaving bad situations.
Kathie Lee Gifford

A boo is louder than a cheer. If you have ten people cheering and one person booing, all you hear is the booing.
Lance Armstrong

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Marianne Williamson


When deep injury is done us,
we never recover until we forgive.
Alan Paton

Without forgiveness, there is no future.
Desmond Tutu

People can be deeply hurt for life by a casual, flippant wisecrack or 
inspired forever by a genuine gesture of compassion and kindness.
Bishop Richard Sklba

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

People shouldn’t worry about their status before God at the moment of death. 
I don’t think God judges us at our weakest moments, but at our strongest moment.
J. Moltmann

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
Suzanne Somers

If you look closely enough, you will realize
that he is doing the best he can.
Kathryn Hepburn to her daughter played by Jane Fonda
in On Golden Pond, when she was terribly frustrated
with her aggravating, old father.

Taking offense is just as destructive as giving offense.
Ken Keyes

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and
discover that the prisoner was you.
Lewis B. Smedes

I dreamed Death came the other night and Heaven’s gate swung wide.
With kindly grace an angel ushered me inside.
And there to my astonishment stood folks I’d known on earth,
Some I’d judged and labeled “unfit” of little worth.
Indignant words rose to my lips, but were never set free,
For every face showed stunned surprise, no one expected ME.
From the poem, "Surprise"

Forgiveness does not change the past,
but it does enlarge the future.
Paul Boese

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
Catherine Ponder


Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
Abraham Lincoln

Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.
Albert Camus

Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty; 
it is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.
Charles Caleb Colton

Whenever a separation is made between
liberty and justice, neither is safe.
Edmund Burke

So far as a person thinks, they are free.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A country cannot subsist without liberty
nor liberty without virtue.
Jean Jacques Rousseau

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor;
it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it 
is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too.
Somerset Maugham

The last of the human freedoms is the ability to
choose one’s response to any given situation.
Victor Frankl - a prisoner of war held by the Nazis

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. 
People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
Franklin D. Roosevelt


The more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more he will bring 
to our minds other blessings. The more we are aware of to be 
grateful for, the happier we become.
Ezra Taft Benson

We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Thornton Wilder

Let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds iron, 
so it will find in every hour, some heavenly blessings.
Henry Ward Beecher

How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.
Sir John Templeton

If you have nothing to be grateful for, check your pulse.

When we were children we were grateful for those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. 
Why are we not then grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?
G. K. Chesterton

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: it is not he who prays most or fasts most. It is not he who gives the most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.
William Law

You’re not going to make me have a bad day. 
If there’s oxygen on earth and I’m breathing, it’s going to be a good day.
Cotton Fitzsimmons

Silent gratitude isn’t much good to anyone.
Gladys Browyn Stern

We would all like a reputation for generosity,
and we’d all like to buy it cheap.
Mignon McLaughlin


[The Jonah Complex is]... the evasion of one’s own growth, the setting of low levels of aspiration, the fear of doing what one is capable of doing, voluntary self-crippling, pseudo-stupidity, mock humility.”
Abraham Maslow - describing the Jonah Complex

Oh my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. 
It’s what you do with what you have left.
Hubert Humphrey

With each passage of human growth, we must shed a protective structure (like a hardy crustacean). We are left exposed and vulnerable — but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn’t known before.
Gail Sheehy

One can have no smaller or greater mastery
than mastery of oneself.
Leonardo da Vinci

As a searching investigator of the integrity of your own conduct, submit your life to a daily examination. Consider carefully what progress you have made or what ground you have lost. Strive to know yourself. Place all your faults before your eyes. Come face to face with yourself.
Saint Bernard

So what if you make mistakes?
Pope Francis

If I were to wish for anything... it would be for the passionate sense of what can be, 
for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.
Soren Kierkegaard

Many people’s tombstones should read,
“Died at 30. Buried at 60.”
Nicholas Murray Butler

For the first half of your life, people tell you what you should do; 
for the second half, they tell you what you should have done.
Richard Needham

We should every night call ourselves to an account. What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
Seneca, Roman Philosopher

There is no clock, no matter how good it may be, that doesn’t need resetting and rewinding twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In addition, at least once a year it must be taken apart to remove the dirt clogging it, straighten out its bent parts, and repair those worn out. In like manner, every morning and evening a man who really takes care of his heart must rewind it for God’s service.
St. Francis de Sales

Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible,
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
St. Francis of Assisi

Anyone who stops learning is old,
whether this happens at twenty or at eighty.
Henry Ford


Tears have a wisdom of their own. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, 
carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.
F. Alexander Magoun

All I know from my experience is that the more loss we feel, the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means that we had something worth grieving for. The ones I’m feeling sorry for are the ones that go through life without knowing what grief is.
Frank O’Connor

When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
Friedrich Nietzche

Grief is itself a medicine.
William Cowper


A man does not have to be an angel to be a saint.
Albert Schweitzer

They are not all saints who use holy water.
English Proverb

Holiness is not something that comes from doing good; we do good because we are holy. Holiness is not something we acquire by avoiding evil: we avoid evil because we are holy. Holiness is not something that follows from prayer: we pray because we are holy. Holiness is not the result of kindness: we are kind because we are holy. Holiness is not something that blossoms when we are courageous: we are courageous because we are holy. Holiness is not the result of character building: we build character because we are holy. Holiness is not a gift we obtain after a lifetime of service; we give service because we are holy.
Fr. John Catoir

Sanctity is not a matter of being less human, but more human than other men. This implies a greater capacity for concern, for suffering, for understanding, for sympathy, and also for humor, for joy, for appreciation of the good and beautiful things of life.
Thomas Merton - on “sanctity”


Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together 
when everyone else would understand if you fell apart — that’s true strength.

It’s often the last key on the ring which opens the door.

Impossible things just take a little longer.
Philo T. Farnsworth

What you spend years building, someone could de-stroy overnight: build anyway! If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous: be happy anyway! The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow: do good anyway! Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough: give the world the best you’ve got anyway! You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God – it was never between you and them anyway!
Mother Teresa

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which,
in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing.
It sounds and echoes in my soul;
how can I keep from singing?
What though the tempest ’round me roar,
I hear the truth it liveth.
What though the darkness round me close,
songs in the night it giveth.
Quaker Hymn - How Can I Keep From Singing

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. 
Age may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
Samuel Ullman

Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, 
with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.
John Ciardi

Do not look forward in fear; rather look forward with full hope. God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things, and when you cannot stand it any longer, he will carry you in his arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same good God who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day of your life. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you the unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all your anxious thoughts and imaginations.
St. Francis de Sales

That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche


An archeologist is the best husband a woman can have. 
The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
Agatha Christie

First you forget names, then you forget faces.
Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally,
you forget to pull it down.
George Burns

I can take reality in small doses,
but as a way of life I find it much too confining.
Lily Tomlin as her character, “Trudy”

Always tell the truth.
That way, you don’t have to remember what you said.
Mark Twain

Be nice to your children,
for they will choose your rest home.”
Phyllis Diller

Housework can’t kill you, but why take the chance?
Phyllis Diller

It is useless to hold a person to anything he says
while he’s in love, drunk or running for office.
Shirley MacLaine

God is a comedian, playing to an audience
too afraid to laugh.

The years between 50 and 70 are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, 
and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.
T. S. Eliot

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed
to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Will Rogers


A hypocrite is a man who murders both his parents and then pleads for mercy 
on the grounds that he is an orphan.
Abraham Lincoln

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive
his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.
Andre Gide

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
H. G. Wells

A great deal of what passes for current Christianity
consists in denouncing other people’s vices and faults.
Henry H. James

Loud indignation against vice often stands for
virtue in the eyes of bigots.
J. Petit-Senn

Most of us are aware of and pretend to detest the barefaced instances of hypocrisy by which men deceive others, but few of us are on our guard or see that more fatal hypocrisy by which we deceive and over-reach our own hearts.
Laurence Stern

One should examine oneself for a very long time
before thinking of condemning others.


One can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, 
insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in a small way.
Edith Wharton

Be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, 
complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.

I have studied many times the marble which was chiseled for me — a boat with a furled sail at rest in the harbor. In truth it pictures not my destination but my life. For love was offered me, and I shrank from its disillusionment; sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances. Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. And now I know I must lift the sail and catch the winds of destiny wherever they drive the boat. To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, but life without meaning is the torture of restlessness and vague desire — it is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
Edgar Lee Masters in George Gray

The indispensable first step to getting the things you
want out of life is this: Decide what you want.
Ben Stein

He not busy being born is busy dying.
Bob Dylan

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; 
the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap.
George Bernard Shaw

Our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoid- ance of pain, not only our physical pain but our mental and emotional pain as well... We have become so used to this state of anesthesia that we panic when there is nothing or nobody to distract us.
Henri Nouwen

I have heard it said that heroism can be redefined for our age as the ability to tolerate paradox, to embrace seemingly opposing forces without rejecting one or the other just for the sheer relief of it, and to understand that life is the game played between two paradoxical goalposts: winning is good and so is losing; freedom is good and so is authority; having and giving; action and passivity; sex and celibacy; income and outgo; courage and fear. Both are true. They may sit on opposite sides of the table, but underneath it their legs are entwined.
Gregg Levoy in "Callings"

Keep your mind on the things you want and
off the things you don’t want.
Hannah Whithall Smith

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and
go to their graves with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau

The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions:
could have, might have and should have!
Louis E. Boone

The change in emphasis in our relationships and our society from “me” to “we” will not erode individual rights, ability, achievement, freedom of expression or ownership in any way. Nor will it require that we relinquish our hard-earned cash or possessions, repudiate our economic system or overturn our democratic way of life. The only thing we will give up is the need to strive for individual achievement at another’s expense.
Lynne Taggart

The most important thing a father can do for
his children is to love their mother.
Henry Ward Beecher

By running away from our loneliness and by trying to distract ourselves with people and special experiences, we are in danger of becoming unhappy people suffering from many unsatisfied cravings and tortured by desires and expectations that never can be fulfilled.
Henri Nouwen

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around us. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
Marianne Williamson

Opportunity is missed by most because it is
dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas A. Edison

The first half of life consists of the capacity to
enjoy without the chance; the last half consists
of the chance without the capacity.
Mark Twain

Death is not the greatest loss in life.
The greatest loss is what dies within us while we live.
Norman Cousins

One must attend carefully to everything. If you apply yourself carefully to what you do, 
great springs of strength and truth are realized in you.
Thomas Merton

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the nobler art of leaving things undone. 
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.
Lin Yutang


Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, 
kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.
Albert Schweitzer

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe

It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict,
God’s job to judge and my job to love.
Billy Graham

I’d rather have sticks and stones and broken bones than the words you say to me, 
cause I know bruises heal and cuts will seal but your words beat the life from me.
Dave Barnes in his song, Sticks and Stones

Kindness has converted more sinners
than zeal, eloquence or learning.
F. W. Faber

One word or a pleasing smile is often enough to
raise up a saddened and wounded soul.
Saint Teresa of Lisieux

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.
Thomas Merton

Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him, and blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.
St. Francis of Assisi

It is much easier to become a father than be one.
Kent Nerburn

Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents, and then later on in our life when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since at the beginning and the end of our lives we are so dependent on others’ kindness, how can it be in the middle that we would neglect kindness toward others?
Dalai Lama

Rest, Renewal & Peace

There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that 
deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of 
fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.


The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression.
It is possible to lie, and even murder, with the truth.
Alfred Adler

Believe those who are seeking the truth;
doubt those who find it.
Andre Gide

When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, 
the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.
Dresden James

During times of universal deceit,
telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

One truth out of context can prove very dangerous.
Gregory Phillips

The truth will set you free,
but first it will make you miserable.
James A. Garfield

The enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, 
but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
John F. Kennedy

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. 
This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous
than sincere ignorance and conscious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is ‘hate speech’ only to those
who have something to hide.
Michael Rivero

It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked
by honesty and how few by deceit.
Noel Coward

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
Oscar Wilde

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Oscar Wilde

Sometimes the majority only means that
all the fools are on the same side.

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth;
from laziness that is content with half-truths;
from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth —
O God of Truth deliver us!

If a thousand old beliefs were ruined in our march to truth
we must still march on.
Tom Waits

The news and the truth are not the same thing.
Walter Lippmann

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders
than the arguments of its opposers.
William Penn


I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
Helen Keller

Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.
Henri F. Amiel

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word –
excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
Pearl Buck