'Man is like a tree, bodily asceticism is the foliage, interior vigilance the fruit. According to that which is written, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire" (Matt. 3:10) it is clear that all our care should be directed toward the fruit, that is to say, guard of the spirit; but it needs the protection and the embellishment of the foliage, which is bodily asceticism.'
'Your soul needs a brief winter. The winter purifies the air and the earth of foul vapors; it even invigorates the human body. If it strips the trees of their leaves, it is only to the end that they take deeper roots. The spring comes afterwards, and clothes them again with verdure and blossoms.'
St. Paul of the Cross
'Blessed Francis Patrizi, who had the greatest devotion to the "Hail Mary" used to recite five hundred a day. Mary announced the hour of his death to him, and he died as a saint. After forty years, a beautiful lily grew out of his mouth, and on each of the leaves was written the "Hail Mary" in letters of gold. This lily was afterwards taken to France.'
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The winter here was long and hard, the hardest here I've had. It is surprising to me how some old weeds and flowers have not fallen down through it all. The ivy is still green. The new bamboo.. has faded to tan, it was green through most of the winter, but the very end of it was too much and it gave out.
The Lord is gracious, hard winters and easy, long and short.. It is all in Providence, all in God's good time.