Father Guibert explains that God bestows grace to us in many ways: “God does not exhaust his power of communicating with man in the sacraments. . . . His graces reach us by other channels as well; they certainly are less rich, but they are more within the reach of our senses, and their influence is more easily studied: these are instructions and reading. What God wishes to say to us, when we are praying, in order to enlighten our minds and to touch our hearts, this He wills to impart to us by the spoken or written word. Before we speak to Him in prayer, He wishes us to listen to Him in our reading.”
“Edifying conversation and encouraging reading, like newly-rising sap, stir and make souls young again, and clothe them with verdure for a rich and fruitful harvest. History is full of these revivals of the soul wrought by the powerful action of words of piety. Of all words spoken on earth none were ever more luminous nor more inspiring than those of Jesus, so that His enemies called him ‘the seducer’ (Mt 27:63), and that crowds, enchanted by them, followed Him into the wilderness and cried: ‘Never did man speak like this man’ (Jn 7:46). The happy disciples of Emmaus, after talking with Him by the way, could well say: ‘Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the way?’ (Lk 24:32).”
“Who of us has not felt his heart touched by an utterance full of the spirit of God? Whether it be spoken from the pulpit, or whether it be said in private, it has the power, if it be divinely inspired, of reviving the mind and heart.”
“Books, too, though to a lesser extent, have the power of awakening souls, and of giving richness to their life. . . . It was for believers, who had never heard Christ and yet desired to feed upon His words day by day, that the Gospels were written; since then, how many Saints in solitude, how many apostolic men, how many persons engaged in worldly affairs, have maintained themselves and made progress in the Christian spirit by familiarity with these divine pages! The same breath of Jesus Christ inspires the lives of the Saints as well as their spiritual writings. The books which narrate their history, or which contain their writings, are inexhaustible springs from which souls athirst for progress may drink deep of divine gifts.”
Quotations from Jean Guibert, On the Exercises of Piety (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1911).