Authentic quotation(s) for the week

There are three ways to ultimate success:

The first way is to be kind.

The second way is to be kind.

The third way is to be kind.

Fred Rogers (a.k.a. Mister Rogers), Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way. The Google Books version doesn’t show page numbers, but it’s there, and, since it’s an official project of his estate, I’m going to assume they know what they’re talking about.

Look at the heavens: how beautiful they are! And look at the Earth: how beautiful it is! Both Heaven and Earth radiate #beauty.

St. Augustine; it’s a somewhat free rendering of part of his Ennaration on Psalm 148. This is the Post-Nicene Fathers translation: “Regard the heavens, it [sic] is beautiful: observe the earth, it is beautiful: both together are very beautiful.”

I found another authentic Mother Teresa one, but I can’t remember what it was.

St. Teresa of Ávila on your past and the devil’s future

The devil will try to upset you by accusing you of being unworthy of the blessings that you have received. Simply remain cheerful and do your best to ignore the devil’s nagging. If need be even laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Satan, the epitome of sin itself, accuses you of unworthiness! When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future!

The quotation as it stands comes almost directly from Saintly Solutions to Life’s Common Problems, p. 182, which you can see here at Google Books. Just in case you can’t see it (G/B can be finicky about which pages it will show you), here’s what it says:

St. Teresa of Avila reminds you that the devil will try to upset you by suggesting a thousand false fears or by accusing you of being unworthy of the blessings that you’ve received. He wants to distract you and even trick into ignoring or discarding the graces that God has given you. St. Teresa advises you simply to remain cheerful and do your best to ignore the devil’s nagging. If need be, even laugh at the absurdity of the situation: Satan, the epitome of sin itself, accuses you of unworthiness. Furthermore, as the saying goes, “When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future!”

This is very good advice, but you’ll note that it’s paraphrasing St. Teresa, not quoting her directly. The direct quotation in the final sentence is not from St. Teresa herself–it’s “as the saying goes,” implying that it’s a common saying, which a Google search will quickly show is indeed the case. It’s attributed to all sorts of people, which is never a good sign for a real quotation.

The next time I spotted it, it showed up in EWTN’s daily devotional for August 31, 2005, which you can view here. The source is obviously the paragraph I just quoted above, modified slightly and attributed directly to St. Teresa. From there it seems to have conquered the Catholic world. I’ve used the saying myself many times in confession and probably a time or two in a homily. I guess I’ll have to quit attributing it to St. Teresa.


Real quotation(s) for the week

Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. I found it on Google Books in Love, a Fruit Always in Season: Daily Meditations from the Words of Mother Teresa. I can see the quotation (which I’ll give in full in a moment) and a citation to “LS, 68.” I’m not quite sure what “LS” means, but that’s good enough for me. The full quotation is: “Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love; joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.”

Mother Seton on simplicity

Live simply, so that others may simply live.

Attributed to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, sometimes changing the word “others” to “all.”

She doesn’t have a Wikiquote page at all.

A general Google search shows that it’s also widely attributed to Gandhi, but in my (admittedly non-thorough) search of this aspect of the question, never with a reliable source. He does have a Wikiquote page, but this quotation is not on it nor on the associated discussion page, which is where unsourced quotations usually go.

Back to Mother Seton … the general Google search does show that it’s often sourced to a “speech given in Baltimore,” unfortunately with no more details than that.

The earliest Google Books appearance is from 1980, in The American Baptist Woman (I am not making this up), vols. 24-26, p. 30, which says, “Sister Elizabeth Seton is credited with saying …,” followed by the quotation. Unfortunately, if the author said where she is credited with saying it, it’s not visible in the snippet that Google Books will show me.

DePaul University’s library has an online collection of Mother Seton’s works. I searched for the word “simply”, which returned hits in her Collected Writings, vol. 1 and vol. 3a. Her time in Baltimore is covered in vol. 2, so I downloaded that too. I can’t find the quotation in any of these places.

At this point the best I can say is that I am not convinced that she didn’t say it, in large part because the “speech in Baltimore” reference makes me think that perhaps someone once found it somewhere.

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange on Tolerance and Intolerance

The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.

Edit: I’m leaving the original post below, but thanks to commenter Nicholas Scoville, this quotation has been found and is authentic. It is in God, His Existence and Nature, on page 412 of Vol. II of the 1936 Herder edition.

He seems to think he’s citing a common saying, but since he gives no source, this is probably as far as the trail goes.


Attributed to Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., sometimes said to be in his book God, His Existence and Nature. It does sound like something he could have said, but another one of my “fishy quote” triggers is things that fit too neatly into a modern zeitgeist, and this qualifies. In this case, it’s the “defense of orthodox Catholicism” zeitgeist, but it’s a zeitgeist still, so I went looking.

The book it’s alleged to be in happens to be online. I’m not sure that it’s legal–the copyright doesn’t seem to have been renewed, but RGL was a foreign national, which changes things, and I’m not an expert on copyright law–but I went ahead and searched the site it’s on for the words tolerant intolerant practice principle. It’s not there.

RGL does not have a Wikiquote page, so that was no help.

A generalized Google search … I don’t know why I bother. Actually I do know, because a generalized Google search turns up a citation for authentic quotations pretty quickly most of the time. It didn’t for this one.

On to Google Books, which didn’t find it at all, anywhere (which I frankly find hard to believe, but I searched several different ways and nothing turned up).

Back in desperation to a general Google search, using the whole phrase The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. I checked all the likely looking references on the first three pages of the search results, and a few not-so-likely ones as well. No dice.

I’m filing this one as a fauxtation until someone gives me a reference more precise than an entire book.

Real quotation(s) for the week

Every morning prepare your soul for a tranquil day.

St. Francis de Sales, Letters 444.

I am not always faithful, but I never get discouraged; I abandon myself into the arms of Jesus.

St. Thérèse, Letter to Céline, July 18, 1893.


BTW, I found both of these in just a minute or two. Authentic quotations tend to be pretty easily verifiable.