Saints' Quotes

holy quotations for purification of the soul


for reflection and meditation


'I have separated you from other people, that you should be Mine.'

Leviticus 20:26

'I see all the saints frightened at the sacred ministry, as at an immense charge.'

St. Cyril of Alexandria

'Perhaps the sole ends of the priesthood are to say Mass, and to recite the Office, and then to live like seculars?

No, the end for which God has instituted the priesthood has been to appoint on earth public persons to watch over the honor of his divine majesty, and to procure the salvation of souls.

"For every high priest," says St. Paul, taken from among men, "is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err."'

Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Son of man, I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel: and thou shalt hear the word out of my mouth, and shalt tell it them from me. If, when I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die: thou declare it not to him, nor speak to him, that he may be converted from his wicked way, and live: the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand. But if thou give warning to the wicked, and he be not converted from his wickedness, and from his evil way: he indeed shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul.'

Ezechiel 3:17-19

'If a priest is determined not to lose his soul, so soon as any disorder arises in the parish he must trample under foot all human considerations as well as the fear of the contempt and hatred of his people. He must not allow anything to bar his way in the discharge of duty, even where he is certain of being murdered on coming down from the pulpit. A pastor who wants to do his duty must keep his sword in hand at all times.'

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

'O Priest! You are not yourself because you are God. You are not of yourself because you are the servant and minister of Christ. You are not you own because you are the spouse of the Church. You are not yourself because you are the mediator between God and man. You are not from yourself because you are nothing. What then are you? Nothing and everything. O Priest! Take care lest what was said to Christ on the cross be said to you: "He saved others, himself he cannot save!"'

St. Norbert

'If priests sin, all the people are led to sin. Hence every one must render an account of his own sins; but the priests are also responsible for the sins of others.'

St. John Chrysostom

'The power of the priest, is the power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world.'

St. Bernardine of Siena

'He made them, the vicars of his love.'

St. Ambrose of Milan

'I also beseech in the Lord, all my brothers who are, or who shall be, or who desire to be priests of the Most High, that whenever they wish to celebrate Mass, they be pure, and offer with purity and reverence the true Sacrifice of the most holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ with a holy and perfect intention; not from any earthly motive, nor for the fear or love of any creature, as though desiring to please men; but let every will (according to the grace given) be directed solely to the most High God, and do you desire to please Him alone, for He alone works in this holy Sacrifice according to His good pleasure, as the Lord has Himself said: "Do this in remembrance of Me:" and he who does otherwise becomes a traitor like Judas.

Remember, O priests, my brothers, how it is written in the law of Moses, that those who transgressed even in corporal sacrifices were condemned by God to death, without any mercy. What a far more terrible punishment will he deserve, who tramples under foot the Son of God, and treats the Blood of the New Testament by which he is sanctified as a vile thing, and offers insult to the Holy Ghost!

A man stained with sin despises and tramples on the Lamb of God, when, as the Apostle says, not discerning the sacred Bread, which is Christ, from other food, he eats unworthily by being guilty of unworthy actions; for the Lord has said by His Prophet: "Cursed is the man who does the work of God with negligence or fraud." And on account of those priests who will not lay these things seriously to heart, we are condemned, when Our Lord says: "I will curse your blessings."'

St. Francis of Assisi

'Priests who fall into sin lose light, and lose also the fear of God. Behold, the Lord himself assures us of this. If I be a master, where is My fear, saith the Lord of Hosts, to you, O Priests, that despise My name? St. Bernard says that priests falling from on high remain so immersed in their malice, that they forget God, and disregard the divine threats to such a degree that the danger of their damnation has no longer any terror for them. . .

What chastisement does not the priest deserve who, instead of carrying with him to the altar flames of divine charity, brings the fetid fire of unchaste love! Speaking of the punishment inflicted on the sons of Aaron for having offered strange fire, St. Peter Damian says: "Let us take care not to mingle unholy fire, that is, the flames of lust with the salutary sacrifices."! Whosoever, adds the saint, shall dare to carry the flame of lust to the altar, shall certainly be consumed by the fire of God's vengeance. . .

Oh! what an impious treason. Behold how Jesus Christ complains, by the mouth of David, of the sacrilegious priest: For if My enemy had reviled Me would verily have borne with it, . . . but thou, a man of one mind, and My familiar, who didst take sweetmeats together with Me? Behold an exact description of a priest who offers Mass in the state of sin. If my enemy, said the Lord, had insulted me, I would have borne the offence with less pain; but you whom I have made my familiar, my minister, a prince among my people, to whom I have so often given my flesh for food you have sold me to the devil for the indulgence of passion, for a beastly gratification, for a little earth. Of this sacrilegious treason the Lord complained to St. Bridget: "Such priests," he said, "are not my priests, but real traitors; for, like Judas, they sell and betray me." St. Bernardine of Sienna teaches that such priests are even worse than Judas; because Judas betrayed the Saviour to the Jews, but they deliver him up to devils by receiving him into their sacrilegious breasts, which are ruled by devils.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Do you wish to know if the people of any place are righteous? Look what sort of a pastor they have. If you find him pious, just, sound, believe the people will be the same, for they are seasoned with the salt of his wisdom.'

St. John Chrysostom

'St. Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary; and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest; yes, all happiness, all graces, all heavenly gifts. If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest -- always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest.'

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

'We read in the chronicles of the discalced Carmelites that a Father, named Julian of St. Paul, although he had studied but little, preached with such success that the people came in crowds to hear him and were converted, every one of them deriving much fruit from his sermons. Some one having asked what good could be found in this preacher, whom every one went to hear, the following answer was given to him: "We go to hear him, because he is a saint: he sheds tears during Mass, he sleeps little, he always goes about with his eyes cast down, he is always praying, he speaks only of God and of our welfare; and therefore we do what he tells us." John de Avila had then reason to say that the first and most important rule for preaching well is to love God.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'There is not in the whole world a monster to be compared with a priest in the state of sin, for the unfortunate man will not bear with correction.'

St. Jerome

'But what shall be the unhappy end of such priests? Behold it: the land of the saints he hath done wicked things, and he shall not see the glory of the Lord. The end shall be, first, abandonment of God, and then the fire of hell. But, Father, some may say, this language is too terrific. Do you, they ask, wish to drive us to despair? I answer with St. Augustine, "being myself frightened, I frighten others." Then a priest who has offended God since his ordination may ask, Is there no hope of pardon for me? Yes, there is hope, if he repents and entertains a horror for the evil he has done. Let such a priest, then, thank the Lord with his whole heart if he, too, finds himself aided by divine grace; but he must instantly give himself to that God who calls him. "Let us listen to the Lord," says St. Augustine, "while he is calling us, lest he may turn a deaf ear to us when he judges us."

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'You have preached, you have prayed, but have you fasted? Have you taken the discipline [a self imposed scourge]? Have you slept on the floor? So long as you have done none of these things, you have no right to complain.'

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars, to a priest complaining about the indifference of his parish

'The author of the Imperfect Work says that all that see a tree covered with pale and withered leaves immediately infer that its roots have been injured; and when we see a people immoral, we may justly conclude, without danger of rash judgment, that the priest is a man without virtue.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'This is the way I am dealt with by the priests who are my betrayers . . . Their sentence is condemnation. David condemned those who were disobedient to God, not out of anger or bad will or impatience, but out of divine justice, because he was a righteous prophet and king. I, too, who am greater than David, condemn these priests, not out of anger or bad will but out of justice. Accursed be everything they take from the earth for their own profit, for they do not praise their God and Creator who gave them these things. Accursed be the food and drink that enters their mouths and fattens their bodies to become food for worms and destines their souls for Hell. Accursed be their bodies that will rise again in Hell to be burned without end. Accursed be the years of their useless lives. Accursed be their first hour in Hell that never will end. Accursed be their eyes that saw the light of heaven. Accursed be their ears that heard my words and remained indifferent. Accursed be their sense of taste by which they tasted my gifts. Accursed be their sense of touch by which they handled me. Accursed be their sense of smell by which they smelled delightful things and neglected me, the most delightful of all. May they be accursed by earth and sky and every brute creature. These obey and glorify God, whereas they have shunned him. Therefore, I swear by the truth, I who am the Truth that if they die like this with such a disposition, neither my love nor my virtue will ever encompass them. Instead, they will be forever damned.'

The Lord, to St. Bridget of Sweden

'A priest was once preaching on hope, and on the mercy of the good God. He reassured others, but he himself despaired. After the sermon, a young man presented himself, saying, "Father, I am come to confess to you." The priest answered, "I am willing to hear your confession." The other recounted his sins, after which he added, "Father, I have done much evil; I am lost!" "What do you say, my friend! We must never despair." The young man rose, saying, "Father, you wish me not to despair, and what do you do?" This was a ray of light; the priest, all astonishment, drove away that thought of despair, became a religious and a great saint. . . The good God had sent him an angel under the form of a young man, to show him that we must never despair.'

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

'Yes, the priest stands at the altar, the priest stands there and makes a long supplication, not in order that fire from heaven may consume the things that lie to open view, but that grace, lighting on the Sacrifice, may thereby in flame the souls of all, and show them brighter than silver purified in the fire. Art thou ignorant that the soul of man could never bear this fire of the Sacrifice, but that all would be utterly consumed, were not the aid of the grace of God abundant? For if one would but consider how great a thing it is for a mortal, and one still clothed with flesh and blood, to be enabled to be nigh to that blessed and immortal nature, he would then see how great an honor the grace of the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests.'

St. John Chrysostom

'What tongue, human or angelic, may ever describe a power so immeasurable as that exercised by the simplest priest in Mass? Who could ever have imagined that the voice of man, which by nature hath not the power even to raise a straw from the ground, should obtain through grace a power so stupendous as to bring from Heaven to earth the Son of God?'

St. Leonard of Port Maurice

'I know by experience that the greatest punishment that can befall a people is a bad priest. It is best to leave a town without a priest than to send one who is unworthy. If God does not send me men who are truly called, God himself will have to take care of the men and souls by means of his angels. A call is God's gift. I must not bring the unworthy into the sheepfold to destroy it instead of tending it.'

St. Anthony Mary Claret

'To all the Faithful of Christ.

Let us love God, and let us adore Him with a pure heart and a pure mind.

To all Christians, religious, priests, laymen, and women, and to all who dwell in the world.

Oh, how blessed and happy are they who love God, and who act as Our Lord commands in the Gospel: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and thy neighbour as thyself." Let us therefore love God, and adore Him with a pure heart and mind, for this is what He seeks above all things when He says: "The true adorers shall adore God the Father in spirit and in truth." All who adore Him ought to adore Him in spirit and truth. Farewell in the Lord.'

St. Francis of Assisi

'The doctrines of Godliness are overturned; the rules of the Church are in confusion; the ambition of the unprincipled seizes upon places of authority; and the chief seat is now openly proposed as a reward for impiety; so that he whose blasphemies are the more shocking, is more eligible for the oversight of the people.

Priestly gravity has perished; there are none left to feed the Lord's flock with knowledge; ambitious men are ever spending, in purposes of self-indulgence and bribery, possessions which they hold in trust for the poor. The accurate observation of the canons are no more; there is no restraint upon sin.

Unbelievers laugh at what they see, and the weak are unsettled; faith is doubtful, ignorance is poured over their souls, because the adulterators of the word in wickedness imitate the truth. Religious people keep silence, but every blaspheming tongue is let loose. Sacred things are profaned; those of the laity who are sound in faith avoid the places of worship, as schools of impiety, and raise their hands in solitude with groans and tears to the Lord in heaven.'

St. Basil the Great

'Venerable brethren, there is only one piece of advice that I offer to you: watch over your seminaries and over candidates for the priesthood.

As you yourselves know, an air of independence which is fatal for souls is widely diffused in the world, and has found its way even within the sanctuary; it shows itself not only in relation to authority but also in regard to doctrine.

Because of it, some of our young clerics, animated by that spirit of unbridled criticism which holds sway at the present day, have come to lose all respect for the learning which comes from our great teachers, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the interpreters of revealed doctrine.

If ever you have in your seminary one of those new-style savants, get rid of him without delay; on no account impose hands upon him. You will always regret having ordained even one such person: never will you regret having excluded him.'

Pope St. Pius X

'O my child, bethink you that just as the bee, having gathered heaven's dew and earth's sweetest juices from amid the flowers, carries it to her hive; so the Priest, having taken the Saviour, God's Own Son, Who came down from Heaven, the Son of Mary, Who sprang up as earth's choicest flower, from the Altar, feeds you with that Bread of Sweetness and of all delight.'

St. Francis de Sales

'The worthy priest is an angel of purity in mind and body, a cherub of light and knowledge, a seraph of love and Charity, an apostle of zeal in work and sanctity, a little god on earth in power and authority, in patience and benignity. He is the living image of Christ in this world, of Christ watching, praying, preaching, catechizing, working, weeping, going from town to town, from village to village, suffering, agonizing, sacrificing Himself and dying for the souls created to His image and likeness. . . He is the light of those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He is the destroyer of error, schisms and heresies, the converter of sinners, the sanctifier of the just, the strength of the weak, the consolation of the afflicted, the treasure of the poor. He is the confusion of hell, the glory of heaven, the terror of demons, the joy of angels, the ruin of Satan's kingdom, the establishment of Christ's empire, the ornament of the Church. . .'

St. Jean Eudes