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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Quotations for Lent

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Today I’m offering you some quotations related to Lent (either directly or indirectly) that you might like to pray with during this special season of the year.

1.”No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.” St. John Chrysostom

2. “Lent’s not what you give up; it’s how you reach out.” Regina Brett

3. “The thing to mortify is fear, this obstinate tendency to protect ourselves from God, to defend ourselves by sacrifices of our choice against the invasion of God’s love.” Louis Evely

4. “Jesus says, ‘When you fast, do not look gloomy.’ In view of this fact, we might want to consider this penance for Lent: to fast from gloominess, that is, to fast from complaining, from focusing on what’s wrong in the world, from wearing a cheerless face, from snapping at others, and from feeling sorry for ourselves.” Melannie Svoboda, SND

5. “You do not need to wallow in guilt. Wallow in the mercy of God.” St. John Vianney

6. “You don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God and as soon as you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray,’ you can be sure you have already begun.” St. Josemaria Escriva

7. “You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving.” St. Francis de Sales

8. “The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of them need saving from the idea that God sees the world the same way they do.” Barbara Brown Taylor

9. “If I want to discover my daily cross, all I have to do is ask myself a few questions: What would I like to get rid of in my life? With whom or what am I regularly irritated? Where does my pain, anxiety, stress, confusion or turmoil find its source? I ought not simply to endure or fight what is difficult for me, but rather to see my cross as a source of transformation. The cross is a way for me to grow if I accept it.” Sister Joyce Rupp

10. “Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” Pope Francis

11. “Satan does not care how many people read about prayer, if only he can keep them from praying.” Paul Billheimer

12. “Is prayer your steering wheel or spare tire?” Corrie ten Boom

13. “God is hiding in the world. Our task is to let the Divine emerge from our deeds.” Rabbi Abraham Heschel

14. One way to begin prayer is to say, “OK, I’m here, God. Your move.” Sebastian Moore

15. “If there is any path at all on which I can approach You, God, it must lead through the very middle of my ordinary daily life. If you have given me no single place to which I can flee and be sure of finding you, then I must be able to find you in every place, and in each and every thing I do.” Karl Rahner, SJ

Do any of these quotations stir your heart today? If so, which one(s)? Why?

Do you have any favorite quotes that relate to Lent that you could share with us?

How might we celebrate this penitential season this year? Any ideas? Suggestions?

PS: I am happy to report that I will be emailing the manuscript for my new book to my editors early this week!!! Here’s a photo of the hard copy manuscript: all 22 chapters.

(photo by Sister Sandy Nativio)

Next step: editors decide to accept it or not. If they accept, they will probably have some suggestions about improving the manuscript! Thanks again for your prayers! You’re the best!

Our song today is “Wounded Healer” by Audrey Assad. My prayer for all of us is this: may we give our hearts to Jesus today and every day.

I invite you to share your thoughts below–or respond to those who have shared theirs with us.

24 Responses

  1. Congratulations on completing your manuscript, I’m sure we’ll soon see it in print.
    Your quotes today hit home for me and I’m sure many others. I think at some time everyone struggles with prayer, some more than others. I wonder how many times the struggle isn’t so much with the prayers, but the inability to allow ourselves to become the prayer, to allow God to enter our prayer, not just be addressed in our prayer? Prayer is never passive always active!

  2. Good morning, Sr. Melannie…
    Good morning, all…

    I echo Pat’s congratualations! The more a books grows, the more the words accumulate, the more the pen must strain to lift the next word! You must be exhausted!

    All of these quotes are rife with wisdom and God!

    I like with Regina Brett’s (#2). This Lent I plan to reach out to others via the hand-written note — letters sent by way of the United States Postal Service! Wish me luck! I’m also going to fast from the rabbit hole known as Youtube!

    Happy Lent!

  3. John has given me an idea: Fasting from Facebook during this oft-contentious season. (I could never abstain from YouTube, because YouTube has music, and I live to hear music, so life-enriching, such a balm. Then, of course, I want to share my favourite music … on Facebook!)

    All the quotes were splendid, esp. 2, 4, 5. (The implications of 11 scare me!)

    Wishing that good things happen in terms of the manuscript!

    peace and light

  4. Sister Melannie,
    Goodness, it is very early in the day to make decisions. All great quotes, but I particularly like #15 from Karl Rahner about finding God in the ordinary things of everyday life. I have been focusing on this recently, so it resonates with me. My “add on” activity for this Lent: Each night before sleep, to ponder the two greatest commandments: How have I loved the Lord, my God, today? And how have I loved others today? And may your newest book be published quickly so we can all add it to our libraries! Blessed Lent to all……..Ed J.

  5. Good Morning Sister,
    I have been deep into thought and reflection as to how to mark this Lenten season. Number four, nine and fifteen express so clearly for me what I have been feeling. A wonderful teacher at a nearby friary has said if what we do “for lent” stops at Easter, we have missed the mark. All the above support his logic.
    I was very excited to learn you will be at Mount Saint Josesph this October. I hope to attend your retreat of Holding onto Hope and meeting you in person.

  6. Loved the very first quote. I am a member of St. John Chrysostom church and was unfamiliar with those words. Makes perfect sense!

  7. Number 14 reaches me, “OK God, your move.” and he does! Wow! Our Sister Melanie has a great way with words, the book should be something to look forward to.

  8. Good Monday Morning Sister Melannie,
    Congratulations on the completion of your manuscript!!! Rejoice.
    Thank you for another inspiring beginning to the week.

  9. God bless you Sister Melannie. Congratulations on the book. I cannot image the discipline it takes to write a book. The quotes are very helpful .

  10. Congratulations on the completion of your book! Can’t wait for it to be published.

    Love all the quotes–they are great for reflection and moving into the Lenten season with HOPE! Outreach to those in need is so very important.


  11. My heart is heavy today as I remember a good friend who died and her family will be celebrating her life today. She would have loved the steering wheel and spare tire quote. So I will also meditate on that this lent.

  12. Hi Sr. Melonie, Thank you for the lenton reflections. When I was a child giving up candy for lent was the thing to do. It took a long time to learn not so much to give up but to give. And it shouldn’t end on Easter Sunday.Reminders are good,we tend to forget! Some years ago I was privileged to attend a retreat you gave for the Florida Associates. I’m looking forward to your new book. Congratulations!

  13. 11,12,13 really are my favorites…they all truly speak to me in different ways.

    Blessed Lent to you Sister, and all who pray with you through Sunflower Seeds each week. Let’s all find joy in Lent that we will have even more JOY at Easter.

  14. Hi Sr. Melanie,
    Thanks for your inspiring thoughts about Lent and congratulations on your book! I can’t wait to read it! I especially like the ideas in no. 2 and no. 4 in your reflection today. I also really like Ed’s idea for a reflection before going to sleep each night. Thank you!

  15. Congratulations on finishing your book! We are looking forward to reading it!
    All of the Lenten quotations were excellent but since I have recently developed arthritis in my hands, #9 particularly hit me hard. I need to focus on accepting my daily cross and letting it transform me. I also need to learn to offer sincere prayers for the politicians and the church leaders who constantly irritate me.
    My husband liked #7.
    A happy and blessed Lent to all.

  16. It’s a rare lent when someone with whom I am acquainted isn’t facing some dire situation. Walking with that person, especially in prayer, trying to really feel their pain, might be what Christ is asking of me.

  17. I copied all the Lenten quotes you included in your post today. All of them can be used for meditations and most of them suggest actions as well. Thank you for sharing them.

  18. Wow! Many of your quotes are so helpful! You are an amazing gift from God to share with us so generously. With grateful prayers Melanie.

  19. Congratulations!!! It must feel good to write a book and see what you have done. So cool.
    #8 hit me – sometimes that is me to the tee. When I just can’t see get past the hurtful words spoken to me by someone who claims to love me then how do I know that God can see past what I’ve done. The difference is I am always sorry for things I do and don’t do but this other person is not sorry. It’s a tough one.
    #11 hit me too – I’m struggling to pray in ways that I want to or even in new ways. I just find myself not praying, yet I feel my conscience thoughts are prayers as I work through my problems. I believe God knows my heart so therefore he knows my prayers too before I can even think them or utter them. He never gives up on me……that’s part of a song too! 🙂

  20. Good afternoon Sr. Melanie…..I recently discover an app called Great Catholic Music. I started listening to it as a background for my Lenten devotion time. Today they played a song which I thought might be of interest to you, since you always accompany your weekly postings with a song. It was called St. Josophs Song, sung by Dana. Since in March we have the feast of St. Joseph, I wanted to let you know about it for you to possible use. Of course, you may know about it already! Blessings on you and your sisters and keep up the good work you are doing!

    1. Thank you for the tip, Christine. I went to the website and found several songs to St.Joseph. I try to use versions with the lyrics. But I probably will use one of the songs for March 16. Thanks again for writing! Sr. Melannie

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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