( 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.


“Try to stay by yourself sometimes, avoiding talk. Suppose you were working on a mathematical problem or engrossed in a TV show, you don’t want anyone talking nonsense to you at the same time…Silence is a necessary condition – like sunshine – to make our souls grow. You will die ALONE. So now carry a hermitage with you.”


“How important it is to have friends to help save and sanctify our souls. Without the aid of others in this direction we will find ourselves to be a t a considerable disadvantage. We cannot stand alone in the spiritual life, and this no more than the soldier in the field of battle…The longer we live the more we realize that it is due to he encouragement we receive from others that we are spurred on to fight the good fight of which St. Paul speaks…We are too weak to stand alone….This life is not easy to be in and without understanding hearts and minds, almost impossible to bear….A cry will always go out from the hearts of the saints calling out to their friends for sympathy and love….We cannot disassociate ourselves from our fellow men, since they form part and parcel of our own make-up, there being no strangers in the eyes of God...there is a mystical body and it’s our incorporation into it that makes us Christians and pleasing to God’s Divine Son…The Church has His sacraments and so we have to hold on to them in order to be saved, saved, that is, for an eternity of joy.”


“We are heading for Heaven; earth is departing and the years that pass away are the vehicle that’s taking us there…With baited breath we long to be Home with God….We cannot answer a lot of questions this side of the grave, but we will know when we pass the boundary line which separates time from eternity.


Loneliness: “The world is filled with marvels for those who love God and it’s no lonely place in which to be. How often do these celestial spirits become our close companions and friends. We need but have pure hearts to perceive them present in an invisible manner.”


“God is not loved enough for that which He is, since it’s the gifts some people want and not the Giver of them. He has always had a few loyal friends, like Job of old, for, having lost all he had…he uttered these immortal words: The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” We should have these words in our hearts whenever something goes wrong in our lives…we cannot be gloomy and depressed if we are to carry out the task allotted to us from all eternity….God and the things he allows us to go through are above the reach of reason and so we have nothing but naked faith on which to lean and rely.”


Quotations: St. Thomas of Villanova says “not in speech but in anguish; not in thoughts but in wounds will you find Him.”


“We are so prone to rationalize and look for answers to questions that were never meant to be given in time. A whole eternity awaits us in which we shall be given to understand what we now believe. The saints were not impatient with God for they knew they will know in heaven what is now so baffling to them. The little man, the man of small mind and circumscribed comprehension, want to know everything. Show me, he says, demonstrate the indemonstrable. What a beautiful thing it is to be able to believe and not to want to understand what it is God’s will we should now accept on faith alone. Generous and large-hearted souls believe and that is why they see the glory of God. Those who are un-confiding miss the beauty of their existence for by means of their pettiness they fail to perceive the mystery.”


“We often see blind people walk through the streets and we feel sorry for them. But what is this physical darkness compared to the one that exists in souls who refuse to give themselves up to the love…that faith is?...Christ manifests himself in the lives of millions of people who believe in Him.”


“The saints are like so many spiritual eagles who soar above that which can be seen, heard, touched, tasted and felt by the senses of the body. …We are so prone to hobble along where it is God’s will we should soar and fly. Our Lord came to set the soul free from the limitations of this life and render it independent of them. In a spiritual way we must move out of the restrictions of time and take up our abode in the great Beyond that Our Lord is.”


“Where can we go where we cannot find God and where we won’t be able to have Him? Even if we left the whole universe we would still have Him completely in our own selves…It is a consoling thought to know that God is everywhere, so that we could not be without Him even if in our blindness we would want to.”


“No one ever came to Christ unless his heart was broken.”


“The saints were the most colorful and most fascinating human beings to be found in this life, for they refuse to settle for anything that’s less than the infinite.”


“The saints were never able to understand how anyone can fail to know what God is like since there are evidences of Him in every existing thing…There is enough beauty in the creatures to break our hearts with love for Christ to whom they point, whom they signify and symbolize.”


“We have been asked not to depend on creatures not because they are not good…everything God has made is good, but because of their limited and circumscribed nature. Creatures are not everywhere available but God is and so when we need a friend most he may for all kinds of legitimate reasons not be around. God alone is always dependable…always around…God has created the good things in this life for our use but for absolute dependence we have to go to Him who is everywhere and always present. We must love our friends, but to depend upon them all the time is not what God wants us to do.”


“We should not always be afraid of God nor overawed by His Divine Majesty because it is His usual wish that we should be His close and intimate friends, for being Human as well as Divine He has a love for our nature. He has made our nature, that is, composed of flesh and blood. We come from God and are redeemed by Him, so why be afraid to consider Him our dearest friend?”


“Take the attitude in life not to expect anything from it, whether material or spiritual, thus we are developing the virtue of holy abandonment and thereby promoting peace in our souls.”


“Take care to preserve sweetness.”


“Don’t be afraid to be afraid.”


“The devil creates doubts, disturbances, often tempting us through complex rationalizations when simple trust and faith in God will restore peace in our souls….”Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Not to do so will allow the devil to disturb you.”


“Adam and Eve wanted to know good and evil. It is not good to analyze evil which is depressive.”


“Most of the saints thought they were flops. Just try to do your best.”


“Faith is the privilege of not having to solve all our problems.”


Quotation: St. John Chrysostom: “suffering destroys in us the sympathy which we have for the present life.”


“We would like to know by personal experience what heaven is like, but the best way this can be done is to contemplate all our Lord is…Was he not a kind of heaven when He moved among men? Does He not still continue being that same heaven right now? Do we not feel that He is when we reflect upon Him with devotion and love?...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.”


“The devil does not want us to accept pain in the right Christian way, for he knows that if we do so, he will lose all influence over our lives. Christ came to teach us that suffering is sacred…properly borne, pain wins eternity, and to lose our soul is to reject the cross.….Pain is bitter but it cures the soul of all its diseases…one reason we sin is due to the fact that we do not want to suffer.”


“We are dying all the time and so to live forever we have to identify ourselves with Him who is life, life in essence and nature, namely our Divine Lord.”


“How sad it is to think that the hearts made for love fail to turn to the only source which can fill up the need for that love? It is to Christ we must have recourse if we wish to be genuinely happy and to him only…How disappointing creatures are when contrasted with the good Jesus is! How pathetic is the effort men make to fill up their hearts with all that Christ is not and how frustrating and disappointing such efforts are.”


“You are not allowed to worry. If you do, you are disobeying God.”


Dec. 1, 2004


Afraid of disability:

(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 him."

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?"

Agonized:

"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."

Despairing:

(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."

Disgusted:

St. Teresa asked our Divine Lord: "How do you expect us to live a life as miserable as this?"

Discouraged:

"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."

Exhausted:

(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
even for one minute longer than God will call me to do so."

"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,
if it facilitates my going where we will be happy in the way God has intended for us to be happy for all eternity."

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."

Lonely:

"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
of us foreigners on this earth, so it's for this reason we find so many things on it which are directly opposite to the way we feel they should be. St. Paul tells us that we 'have a house not built by hands into which the sorrows of this life will not enter in.' So it's for this reason all the saints looked forward with so much genuine joy to their one day being with Christ in the state of glory, and that St. Paul proclaimed that he 'longed
to be freed from this life and to be with Christ.'"

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
weak woman like yourself and wouldn't such a saying border on blasphemy, in that you would deny God the power to do what He wills to do, and what He can do?"

"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
in."

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:

"Give 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:
General:
"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."

Afraid of Old Age:
"When all other weapons against the soul have failed, Satan bring the anxieties of old age with which to distress us."

"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."

Afraid of Death:
"Even at the moment of death there is no problem for the saint, since in order to render it bearable, he has but to say, "into thy hand I commend my spirit."
It is He who brought us into this world, and so it is He who will bring us out of it…Hence, neither in life nor in death do we have anything to fear, since both in life and in death we belong completely to God, and He it is who will provide both for our temporal and eternal needs…He has foreknown everything that will ever happen in our lives; he has foreknown them and made provision for them like the powerful, wise and loving Father that He is."

"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."

Agonized:
"The juice remains in the lemon unless someone does the squeezing. That's why God allows others to hurt us."

"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."

Angry:
The real test of faith is how you react when things happen to you unexpectedly."

"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."


Bored:
"Don't be too systematic in the spiritual life."

"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):
"Don't take anything too seriously. That's the best way."

"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."

Discouraged - Feeling like a failure:
"It is Christ and nothing but Him that's worth desiring and coveting in this world and this infinitely more passionately than the miser hoards the gold that he can't take with him to the grave."

"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."

Disgusted:
"You must convert everything into prayer, like throwing scraps, by themselves useless, into a stew and making the stew richer. Every insignificant thing - turn it into prayer."

"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."

Doubtful:
"Every human being has a story of himself written in heaven. There is a book there in which every deed of his life has been recorded - a biography of himself the angels have taken down. When we leave this world we will find that nothing has happened to us without a well-conceived plan on the part of divine Providence which worked for the good of our eternal well-being….this disclosure will become a source of joy to us for all eternity. Every minute we live is precious in the eyes of God for every minute we live we can increase our riches in heaven."

"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."


Exhausted:
"Life means struggle. If you don't want to struggle you will lose what you have."

"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."

Grief at Loss of Loved Ones:
"As we advance in years, people leave us, and this is a blessing, since we have more time to be with God."

Guilty:
"There is only one misfortune and that is in the depths of the heart, the sinner knows what this misfortune is; it consists of the sin in him, this and nothing else. Christ came to redeem us from this sin and that is why we love Him so much."

Sanctity:
"There are as many different sanctities as there are saints."

"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."