Thursday, July 2, 2009

Inspiration for the budding Catholic writer

I used to collect quotes about "the writing life" by famous writers. I still have them, tucked away in some box or dresser drawer. Most of the quotes are by secular writers who took themselves way too seriously, like those actors who are interviewed by James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio. I was the fan in the studio audience, the wanna-be, clinging to every piece of advice like it might actually make a difference, like it might actually get me published one day. Always trying to attain that elusive status of published writer - or better yet, New York Times Bestselling Author.

And then, it didn't matter anymore. Writing became a way to find myself and to find God. I willed myself to explore the pain or joy or mystery and begged God to meet me there. I stopped quoting those contemporary writing icons and started jotting down verses from scripture and poetry by Tennyson or T.S. Eliot and, eventually, the wisdom of the Saints.

Writing wasn't the most important thing anymore. Finding God. Wisdom. Truth. Peace. These were the treasures I wanted. The prize was not the writing. The prize was the finding.

The saints are my new heroes, though I am still partial to the quotes by the writing-saints. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes - from Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux:

It seems to me that if a little flower could speak, it would tell simply what God has done for it without trying to hide its blessings. It would not say, under the pretext of a false humility, it is not beautiful or without perfume, that the sun has taken away its splendor and the storm has broken its stem when it knows that all this is untrue. The flower about to tell her story rejoices at having to publish the totally gratuitous gifts of Jesus. She knows that nothing in herself was capable of attracting the divine glances, and His mercy alone brought about everything that is good in her (15).


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