( this is a new compilation made by Ronda Chervin in March,
2005 from letters and articles dated from 1960’s.)
|The excerpts are organized relative to feelings many of us have in our daily life and especially in old age.|
(writing about his holy friend Tom who was an invalid most of his life and
was getting worse in 1985, Charlie wrote, "He (Tom) made a contract with God
to live only for His holy will, so he is prepared for everything that may be
God's will for him, no matter how painful and humiliating this may be for
Afraid of death:
"Death is the true liberation theology, seeing that by its coming we are completely freed from all we have to put up with in the present life and is it not said somewhere in the Psalms, 'free among the dead.'?"
(when he was 91)"I don't want to [pressure God to take me out of this world, but don't you think that at the age I'm at, it's time to go HOME?
"God will always be nearby and so we don't die alone, he being with us both when we come into this world and when we depart from it."
"My heart and my mind have long since already been in heaven, and yet the
body still drags itself on this earth and how I managed to live in this
world with the higher part of the soul deeply rooted in another world, now
seems almost miraculous!"
From the Saints on fear of death:
St. Augustine: "this is the land of the dead."
St. Teresa of Avila called death "that dear thief."
St. Robert Bellarmine used to say "Am I never going to die?"
"There are so many desolating and sorrowful moments in my prayer life
(1985), and this is as it should be, seeing that the closer we get to our
home in heaven, the more arduous the journey to it becomes."
(do not despair about earthly problems) "To love God is all that mattered in
the lives of so many saints who are now in the state of glory."
St. Teresa asked our Divine Lord: "How do you expect us to live a life as
miserable as this?"
"Instead of concerning yourself with what you think you are not, just love Christ, and give him the entire love of your loving heart. He begs people to love Him, and not in the least to worry about their shortcomings which so many mistake for sins."
St. Augustine: The wealthy do not yet have the wealth of heaven."
(written when he was 91) "In addition to the weak spells, I feel nauseous
all the time, and so weak when I get up that I have to go back to bed, not
once but many times during the day. I used to spend a whole hour in
thanksgiving after Mass, but when I go to the chapel I can't stay more than
a few minutes due to my being so tired.I don't want to stay in this work
"Every time the hot summer comes around I get the feeling that as a result
of the health I'm in, I will not be around for another year of it, and here
I am still around in a 99 degree heat. But, as there is an end to everything
that exists in time, there will be an end of the life I now live and I'll
soon be home with God.The heat may turn out to be the greatest of blessings,
Grief at Leave-Taking
"In some marvelous and ineffable way we are now already the way we will be in heaven, loving that in each other which we will take with us when we leave this world, our deep inner being. And, loving that in each other, we can also have each other, though we are separated from each other physically."
(after visiting the grave of his dear holy friend Tom Prendergast) "Bernie and I stood on his grave, and we were overcome with a holy kind of envy for his soul, because that soul of his is now completely with Christ, and in that completeness which he always wanted so much."
St. Margaret Mary said that "in the next life God's friends will see all
they want of each other."
"It's getting lonelier and lonelier, so I am led to read of the saints
saying that they too felt this loneliness, including the great St. Teresa."
Sick and Disabled:
"I have always had a great devotion to the Risen Body of our Divine Lord as well as the resurrected bodies of all those who love Christ. We will all of us be extraordinarily beautiful, and so we can afford to grow old and misshapen for the few years we are here on this earth."
(Letter to Joan Kondracki (3/26/92)
"There are so many things in this world which are so difficult to bear and
to endure in a Christ-like way, such as suffering and disease and even the
pains of death. This world, not being our true homeland, God does not see
anything wrong in His allowing us to go through the troubles with do on this
earth.the Psalmist says to us: 'I am a foreigner on this earth.' We are all
On the Saints:
"God has so many friends on this earth that we don't have to worry about His work not being continued on this earth."
"In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'God's hand has not been shortened.'.He keeps on making great saints of those who would otherwise be content to remain just good Catholics."
"People are afraid of God, and this because they don't love Him enough. If
they would love God, they wouldn't be afraid to ask Him for the graces to
become as great a saint as those who have lived in past ages.Can you say
that God is not good enough, and powerful enough to make a great saint of a
"People become saints by way of the cross. It has embraced your dear person
and enshrined you in Christ. Has anyone ever become one with Him save in the
way and manner of the Cross?"
Foretastes of Eternity:
"My prayer is getting lost in God."
"Though every human being and everything natural are great and good things, they are surpassed infinitely by what is divine and what is supernatural."
"(when I think of my spiritual friend) a consolation from heaven enters my inner being, flooding that inner being with a joy and a happiness which has its roots in another world, the world of love, truth and beauty in which we shall both be after this life is over."
St. John of the Cross: "the soul lives where she loves more than in the body she animates; for she does not live in the body, but rather gives life to the body, and lives through love in the object of her love."
The Divine Longing of the Human Heart:
"We shall, throughout eternity, revel in the beauty of Christ's being and we shall there revel in the love in Himself we will then gave the grace to have."
"I would like to write a book with the title "Dare to Love," because it takes daring of soul to love that which is divine in itself.people are afraid to let go of their hearts with the love they have for God and for each other."
St. John of the Cross spoke of the body as "the small house that the soul is
Excerpts from the Writings of Charles Rich
Robert Hupka, the famous photographer of Toscanini and of Michaelangelo's Pieta, was Charlie Rich's closest disciple. In the sixties he bought Charlie a typewriter and insisted that he make carbons and then later Xeroxes of every meditation he wrote. He also wrote down whatever Charlie said over the dinner table, and taped what he said on the way to the diner. Later he made videos as well. This ever growing archive was stored in Robert's small apartment. When Robert died, his friend Arthur Fierro, took the trouble to organize every bit of this priceless material into 25 boxes, now, at the suggestion of Sister Mary Clare of St. Scholastica's Priory (St. Bede's) in the hands of Ronda for editing.
As a start, Ronda is going through the letters to excerpt nuggets of wisdom from Charlie that can be related to negative states of mind most of us struggle with every day. These she hopes to assemble eventually into a book entitled:
Me Your Heart"
Preparing for Eternal Life
from the Conversations and Letters
of Charles Rich Lay Contemplative (1899-1998)
|Here are some of these excerpts to inspire and amuse you now:|
"He doesn't pray; he says prayers."
"People don't remember what you said but the kindness of you."
"When you meet a human being, the first thing you have to recognize is that he (she) has a soul that will last forever."
"There are a whole host of things we are unable to do with the lessening of our bodily strength. However, there are an infinitely more important of them we cannot accomplish when we are young - we cannot be as compassionate and kindhearted, as forgiving and understanding. Youth carries many illusory notions about itself and (one) of these is that the world can again become a Paradise. As we grow older, we become more realistic along these lines and so we no longer look for a heaven on earth - in the words of St. Bernard, we ourselves long to become a kind of heaven."
of Old Age:
"People are afraid to grow old on account of their vanity and pride, as well as their lack of faith in the things that will never have an end."
"Death is a welcome friend for those who love things divine."
"How can you build a new house unless you get rid of the old house. This body has to die."
"You can't change the world. Christ couldn't. The world breaks the heart of its lovers. It lifts you up, then let's you down."
"If you are suffering, Christ is suffering with you. Then you become a living crucifix. The good thief was promised paradise on the cross."
"When you are too miserable to pray, your misery becomes your prayer."
"The minute your soul is disturbed, God cannot be in your soul."
"The moment something upsets you - drop it. When you touch a hot pot, what do you do? You drop it! You have a moral obligation. God rests only in a soul of peace. Drive out any disturbing thought with another thought, like you drive out a nail with another nail. To acquire this balance you have to work on it constantly."
"My prayer life is getting dryer as time goes along, but this is as it should be, for the closer we come to God, the less excitement there is in our spiritual life. Think of the Little Flower and how dry and wearisome her days got to be as she got nearer to the shores of eternity."
Depressed (not clinically - rather more like prolonged sadness):
"We are like rubber balls pushed under water and coming up again. Don't ever stay down."
(Hoping things will get easier?) "The only time things will loosen up is when your soul is loosened from your body."
"Vanity of vanities, the Preacher says, vanity of vanities, all is vanity." In Hebrew this word vanity implies deception and fraud. We are deceived if we place too much emphasis on the importance of the present life and not on the one to come. Any moment of the day or hour God may send His angel in order to bring us completely to Himself."
"It is not important whether things outside of ourselves are pleasant or unpleasant, for even if they are pleasant, they are powerless to fill up the void in the soul for things of heavenly and divine which cannot be enjoyed by our bodily sight. The real satisfaction of the soul lies in the things only experienced in the depth of our being. We should thank God for natural beauty but the supernatural kind experienced in the substance of the soul is infinitely more desirable. We can have this inner beauty no matter where we are and if we don't have it we will be miserable no matter where we are. Adam and Even were not satisfied even in Paradise, which shows only the possession of spiritual and invisible good things really make us happy."
"Optimism is not a Christian virtue. Neither is pessimism. Realism is."
"We have to be miserable in order not to make this world our home."
- Feeling like a failure:
"Start to think right, then you will act right. But you won't think right until you stop kidding yourself."
"God will not ask you why you didn't succeed. He will ask you why you didn't try. There is a danger in wanting to succeed because if you don't succeed you will feel discouraged and not want to try You can't succeed any way. Success is for heaven. In this life we can only try to succeed."
"The closer you get to God the more you see your weaknesses. People don't see their weaknesses because they are not close to God. There is darkness in their soul."
"Try to see the good that people accomplish. See the good and disregard the little things. Make a bargain never let a little thing interfere with the greater good."
"the devil wants us to be dissatisfied with ourselves and to want to be different than what we are and so to make us restless, discontented and unhappy. God doesn't care about your imperfections - they don't bother him, but you think they bother him because they bother you. But he cares about your peace of soul."
"Why remain perplexed when there is no need for such perplexity? We have but to become saints for that perplexity to be completely removed. By becoming united with God we will be given the grace to experience the joys of heaven even while we are still in this life, and experiencing these joys we will get to know what heaven is like."
"Your problems accumulate like dust. Train yourself not to take on responsibilities that are not necessary. In (trivial ) matters it is not important that you do or don't do them."
"Holiness consists in being weary of time."
"It's hard to talk of heaven while still on earth, and yet glimpses of its bliss continue to find their way into our weary-laden lives."
at Loss of Loved Ones:
"The saints were not too much concerned whether they derived any satisfactions from their relationship with God - for them it was enough to know that they have given themselves completely to him."
"What the priest writes about, the saints perform and the saints are not content to write a poem but to be one. The saints are the dreamers of true dreams and true visions."