10 Saint Quotes for When Life Doesn't Go as Planned
Have you ever taken your toast out of the toaster, and it is absolutely perfect? It pops up crispy, brown, and nowhere near burnt (at least that’s how I like it). And then someone changes the setting, and you can’t get it right again. Life really does not always go as planned, despite our best efforts, does it?
It feels cliché to even say that. I know that is how life works. But it certainly does not make it any easier. It wasn’t easy as I looked out the window of my hotel room across the city watching the light of my husband’s phone flicker in his hospital room window, bidding me and our newborn goodnight. This was not how I pictured our lives three weeks postpartum.
In fact, the last several months had not been how I pictured our lives at all. Instead of working a job that I loved until giving birth, I found myself spending the last trimester of my pregnancy looking for work, instead of bringing in a steady income and preparing for our baby. That also meant maternity leave did not actually exist. I spent it solidifying connections, working on different projects, and helping my husband recover from back surgery. Oh, and taking care of an adorable newborn boy.
The last few months have brought chaos, confusion, and frustration. And, yet, it also has been beautiful, rewarding, exciting, and full of love. How is that possible? What have I learned? The saints say it best.
Here are 10 saint quotes offering peace and direction when life doesn’t go as planned.
“You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud.” - St. Vincent de Paul
First and foremost, how on earth do I figure that life will go as planned? Neatly, pleasantly, and without bumps and bruises? Life abounds with turmoil. There is no way around it. I am not somehow above mishaps, calamities, and annoyances. Even if I am organized, thoughtful, and thorough. I certainly am not entitled to a life of bliss.
If I cannot get past this first roadblock of pride, I cannot let God work in my life.
“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.” - St. Rose of Lima
Think about it. Jesus came into our messy, crazy world—and into our own personal messes—and flipped it on it’s head. He defeated death. He took suffering and pain and made it worthwhile. It is by his suffering, his passion and death, that we are offered salvation and it is through suffering that we find our own path to heaven.
“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” - Saint Augustine
As I plan and hope for the future, how much am I rooting that in God? I tend to do the latter half of this statement. I work as though everything depends on me. I get up and I get to work. Mid-way through the day, I’ll remember to mumble my morning offering. As I’m going to sleep, I think about how my husband and I want to pray the Rosary more, or that there was adoration at my parish again that day.
But I need to be so much more rooted in the former. I need to get up and pray, and never stop. That is where my strength comes from. That is where I will find peace, direction, and love. That is how I will learn to work and walk with God in every single moment. And that is the only plan that matters: walking with God to eternity.
“Love, to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.” - Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Yes, I was the pregnant one. Yes, I was tired. Yes, my body hurt. But, I chose to love this man, and I chose to love this child. And real love is constantly at the service of those we love. All my pain and discomfort were and are opportunities, because I was made to do this. And love was made to do this. What an incredible gift, vocation, calling, to be at the service of my beautiful, growing family. I struggle, I cry, I hurt—especially when things go awry—but I am loved and I am loving. What more can I ask for? That is what Jesus did, and what he calls me to do.
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” - Saint Thomas Aquinas
It is easy to think why me or why this? Especially when life gets difficult. It hurts, and sometimes we don’t know if we can do it. In every circumstance, every struggle, every pain, the answer is only Jesus, heaven. He walks with us, He weeps with us, in every difficult moment. He is bringing us to heaven. With faith, we know this is not home. Everything is a step either toward or away from heaven, an opportunity to draw closer to our savior. So no explanation is necessary.
“You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.” - Saint Therese of Lisieux
Holiness is possible for me. That is my purpose that drives me. It is what Jesus asks of me, in everything that comes my way. And everything that comes my way is my path to holiness, to becoming a saint. These difficult moments are opportunities. Am I doing this or not? I can’t only be a saint when it’s convenient, or when it feels good. I have to be saint when it’s difficult, when all want to do is curl up and cry, when I want to give up.
“I know well that the greater and more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it.” - Saint Faustina
My life is beautiful. And the work of marriage and family is incredibly great and beautiful. The devil hates it. He is constantly attacking it. That means the storms are coming and will continue to come. We need to saddle up and embrace the mission. If the storms are raging, we’re probably doing something right.
“God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know his holy will, and to do it fully.” - Saint Ignatius of Loyola
When things do not go according to plan, it is easy to second guess our discernment ability. I thought this is what God wanted for me, so now what? How am I supposed to figure out what he wants? It would appear that I am not very good at it. But God’s will is love. His will is eternity with me. All I have to do is look to that in every moment. What brings me closer to him? What brings my family closer to him? What brings my community closer to him? What brings the Church closer to him?
“But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him.” - Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Selfishness and self-interest search for comfort, for the path of least resistance. And we might feel okay. We may think in some instances that we are happy. But it is nothing compared to the joy that cannot be taken away and the peace that goes beyond any understanding that come from a heart surrendered to God. I have to let go of myself in those moments. And that is where I will find myself, the best self that is possible with God.
"Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything." Saint Teresa of Avila
These are only moments. Moments on our journey with him. We cannot let the pain of the moment distract us from our ultimate purpose. No matter what happens to us here on earth, God is with us. He never changes. He love never changes. He is our rock, our shepherd, our father.
Life will not go as planned. I will eat burnt toast, but so what?
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us.
(prayer attributed to St. Patrick)
We can do this. Let’s live the abundant life God has planned for us.