Michel Quoist: born Le Havre 18 June 1921; ordained priest 1947;
died Le Havre 18 December 1997.
Quoist was an inspirational figure to many Catholics and other Christians around the world seeking to relate their faith more directly to everyday life than had been the case with pre-Second Vatican Council spirituality. A French Catholic priest of working-class origin, Quoist seemed to revel in presenting Christianity as part of gritty daily reality, rather than in the forms of traditional piety.
Here are a couple of pieces he wrote as meditations on ACCEPTING YOURSELF AS YOU ARE. Many find that their interior life is at a complete standstill, and that as a result they can lead lives of quiet desperation. The reason for this is that they have never accepted themselves as they are, with all the limitations and all the possibilities as well.
Perhaps you are in poor health?
Have a disability? (most of us are disabled in some way or other).
Lack a “winning personality”?
Or perhaps your family has never encouraged you
to satisfy your personal needs or desires?
Do you feel you are getting nowhere at work?
Could you be making more of yourself?
Are you discouraged, and ready to give up?
Take a good look at yourself.
Have you really accepted your limitations?
Do you find yourself saying –
“If I had his brains….
As long as you refuse to accept yourself as you are,
you will never be able to build a full life for yourself
because you will spend all your time
wishing you had the tools that others have to build their lives.
Don’t bother yourself about having the tools that others have.
Find out what your own tools are,
and use your gifting with gratitude.
Rest assured, God sees you and loves you for what you ARE,
rather than what you think you ought to be ,
and that in God’s eyes you are no more and no less
the object of love than those you envy.
Believe more confidently in God’s strength and in your own.
Accept your limitations; you will discover that what you perceive as your poverty is the very source of your wealth. Perhaps you’re not much of a conversationalist? It might be that you are gifted as a good listener.
Perhaps you are shy?
You will not try to impose yourself on others,
or dominate them,
so your gift could be one of genial
and gentle hospitality and graciousness.
Recognise, accept, and offer your limitations and your possibilities.
God has given you gifts,
for your own use and for the benefit of others,.
Others need you just as the Lord has willed you to be.
• Michel Quoist - The Christian Response
If each note of music were to say: one note does not make a symphony, there would be no symphony.
If each word were to say: one word does not make a book, there would be no book.
If each brick were to say: one brick does not make a wall, there would be no house.
If each drop of water were to say: one drop does not make an ocean, there would be no ocean.
If each seed were to say: one grain does not make a field of corn, there would be no harvest.
If each one of us were to say: one act of love cannot save mankind, there would never be justice and peace on earth.
The symphony needs each note. The book needs each word. The house needs each brick. The ocean needs each drop of water. The harvest needs each grain of wheat.
The whole of humanity needs you as and where you are. You are unique. No one can take your place.
• Michel Quoist - Keeping Hope