February 21, 2017

Saint Peter Damian — His Wisdom in 12 Quotations

Saint Peter Damian

Saint Peter Damian was an 11th century reformer Benedictine monk, cardinal and scholar who advised Pope Leo IX. He was prayerfully pious and strident in his defense of orthodoxy. He observed that "when you spurn this life and its wisdom, you may deserve by happy exchange to be filled with the divine Spirit, who will urge you on to eternal glory." Here is a selection of his wisdom in 12 quotes.

Through a woman [Eve] a curse fell upon the earth; through a woman [Mary] as well there returned to the earth a blessing.
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I scourge both flesh and spirit because I know that I have offended in both flesh and spirit.
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And what more should I say since it expels the whole host of the virtues from the chamber of the human heart and introduces every barbarous vice as if the bolts of the doors were pulled out.
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Truly, this vice is never to be compared with any other vice because it surpasses the enormity of all vices.... It defiles everything, stains everything, pollutes everything. And as for itself, it permits nothing pure, nothing clean, nothing other than filth...
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For the wisdom of the flesh brings death, but that of the spirit brings life and peace, since the wisdom of the flesh is the enemy of God; it is not subject to God's law, nor can it be. And since the wisdom of the flesh is unable to bear the yoke of God's law, it cannot look upon it either, for its eyes are clouded with the smoke of pride.
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We hold our tongues in check because if they are undisciplined they empty the soul of the strength of heavenly grace, and weaken its healthful vigour.
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The best penance is to have patience with the sorrows God permits. A very good penance is to dedicate oneself to fulfill the duties of everyday with exactitude and to study and work with all our strength.
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He pours light into our minds, arouses our desire and gives us strength... As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.
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Do not be depressed. Do not let your weakness make you impatient. Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth from your lips.
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Nobody can fight properly and boldly for the faith if he clings to a fear of being stripped of earthly possessions.
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By what right or by what law can one bind or loose the other when he is constrained by the bonds of evil deeds common to them both?
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It is not sinners, but the wicked who should despair; it is not the magnitude of one’s crime, but contempt of God that dashes one’s hopes.
Saint Peter Damian, Holy Bishop and Doctor of the Church, pray for us!

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