Each individual Christian and each new age of the Church has to make this rediscovery, this return to the source of Christian life.
Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice.
Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.
This is the crucifixion of Christ: in which He dies again and again in the individuals who were made to share the joy and freedom of His grace, and who deny Him.
We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full.
They were in the world and not of it -- not because they were saints, but in a different way: because they were artists. The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.
To hope is to risk frustration. Make up your mind to risk frustration.
Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable our nests get with all that metal in them.
The camera does not know what it takes; it captures materials with which you reconstruct, not so much what you saw as what you thought you saw. Hence the best photography is aware, mindful, of illusion and uses illusion, permitting and encouraging it -- especially unconscious and powerful illusions that are not usually admitted on the scene.
We too often forget that faith is a matter of questioning and struggle before it becomes one of certitude and peace. You have to doubt and reject everything else in order to believe firmly in Christ, and after you have begun to believe, your faith itself must be tested and purified. Christianity is not merely a set of forgone conclusions. Faith tends to be defeated by the burning presence of God in mystery, and seeks refuge from him, flying to comfortable social forms and safe convictions in which purification is no longer an inner battle but a matter of outward gesture.
One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life solves them for you.
In any case, his religious teaching consisted mostly in more or less vague ethical remarks, an obscure mixture of ideals of English gentlemanliness and his favorite notions of personal hygiene. Everybody knew that his class was liable to degenerate into a demonstration of some practical points about rowing, with Buggy sitting on the table and showing us how to pull an oar.
Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.
I refuse to be misled by any kind of a mirage about any alleged success of what I write. Those things are too easily exaggerated, and even when they are true, they always mean less than they seem to.
Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual... And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform.
I would call the attention of the reader to the difference between "reason" and "reasoning." Reason is a light, reasoning a process. Reason is a faculty, reasoning an exercise of that faculty. Reasoning proceeds from one truth to another by means of argumentation. This generally involves the whole mind in labor and complexity. But reason does not exist merely in order to engage in reasoning. The process is a means to an end. The true fulfillment of reason as a faculty is found when it can embrace the truth simply and without labor in the light of single intuition.
Our real journey in life is interior.
Now anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. It is the fruit of unanswered questions. But questions cannot go unanswered unless they first be asked.
Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited.
Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn't already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.
One thing is certain: the humility of faith, if it is followed by the proper consequences-by the acceptance of the work and sacrifice demanded by our providential task-will do far more to launch us into the full current of historical reality than the pompous rationalizations of politicians who think they are somehow the directors and manipulators of history.
What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows! Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.
There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom, the mother of us all, "natura naturans." There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness, and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being.
There is not true intimacy between souls who do not know how to respect one another's solitude.
It is true to say that for me sanctity consists in being myself and for you sanctity consists of being yourself and that, in the last analysis, your sanctity will never be mine and mine will never be yours, except in the communism of charity and grace. For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.
One opens the inner doors of one's heart to the infinite silences of the Spirit, out of whose abysses love wells up without fail and gives itself to all.
Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty.
The married man and the mother of a Christian family, if they are faithful to their obligations, will fulfill a mission that is as great as it is consoling: that of bringing into the world and forming young souls capable of happiness and love, souls capable of sanctification and transformation in Christ.
Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are. It is only this realization that can open to us the real nature of our duty, and of right action.
The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.
See, see Who God is, see the glory of God, going up to Him out of this incomprehensible and infinite Sacrifice in which all history begins and ends, all individual lives begin and end, in which every story is told, and finished, and settled for joy or for sorrow: the one point of reference for all the truths that are outside of God, their center, their focus: Love.
My own personal task is not simply that of poet and writer (still less commentator, pseudo-prophet); it is basically to praise God out of an inner center of silence, gratitude, and 'awareness.' This can be realized in a life that apparently accomplishes nothing. Without centering on accomplishment or nonaccomplishment, my task is simply the breathing of this gratitude from day to day, in simplicity, and for the rest turning my hand to whatever comes, work being part of praise, whether splitting logs or writing poems, or best of all simple notes.
Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or the particular monk they are intended to be by God. They never become the man or the artist who is called for by all the circumstances of their individual lives. They waste their years in vain efforts to be some other poet, some other saint...They wear out their minds and bodies in a hopeless endeavor to have somebody else's experiences or write somebody else's poems.
Saints are what they are not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else.
May God prevent us from becoming "right-thinking men"-that is to say men who agree perfectly with their own police.
The only way to make a man worthy of love is by loving him.
For the birds there is not a time that they tell, but the point vierge between darkness and light, between being and nonbeing. You can tell yourself the time by their waking, if you are experienced. But that is your folly, not theirs.
The simplicity that all this presupposes is not easy to attain. I find that my life constantly threatens to become complex and divisive. A life of prayer is basically a very simple life. This simplicity, however, is the result of asceticism and effort: it is not a spontaneous simplicity.
The importance of detachment from things, the importance of poverty, is that we are supposed to be free from things that we might prefer to people. Wherever things have become more important than people, we are in trouble. That is the crux of the whole matter.
The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
Lovely morning! How lovely life can be!
We cannot possess the truth fully until it has entered into the very substance of our life by good habits, and by a certain perfection of moral activity.
The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows; not by clarity and substance, but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor in intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything.
Place no hope in the feeling of assurance, in spiritual comfort. You may well have to get along without this. Place no hope in the inspirational preachers of Christian sunshine, who are able to pick you up and set you back on your feet and make you feel good for three or four days-until you fold up and collapse into despair. Self-confidence is a precious natural gift, a sign of health. But it is not the same thing as faith. Faith is much deeper, and it must be deep enough to subsist when we are weak, when we are sick, when our self-confidence is gone, when our self-respect is gone.
The gate of heaven is everywhere.
Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.
The art of our time, sacred art included, will necessarily be characterized by a certain poverty, grimness and roughness which correspond to the violent realities of a cruel age.
Each particular being, in its individuality, its concrete nature and entity, with all its own characteristics and its private qualities and its own inviolable identity, gives glory to God by being precisely what He wants it to be here and now, in the circumstances ordained for it by His Love and His infinite Art.
God does not give his joy to us for ourselves alone, and if we could possess him for ourselves alone we would not possess him at all. Any joy that does not overflow from our souls and help other men to rejoice in God does not come to us form God. (But do not think that you have to see how it overflows into the souls of others. In the economy of his grace, you may be sharing his gifts with someone you will never know until you get to heaven.).
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the donkey understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today.
We must slow down to a human tempo and we'll begin to have time to listen.
There is something in the depths of our being that hungers for wholeness and finality. Because we are made for eternal life, we are made for an act that gathers up all the powers and capacities of our being and offers them simultaneously and forever to God. The blind spiritual instinct that tells us obscurely that our owns lives have a particular importance and purpose, and which urges us to find out our vocation, seeks in so doing to bring us to a decision that will dedicate our lives irrevocably to their true purpose. The man who loses this sense of his own personal destiny, and who renounces all hope of having any kind of vocation in life has either lost all hope of happiness or else has entered upon some mysterious vocation that God alone can understand.
The mission of Christian humility in social life is not merely to edify, but to keep minds open to many alternatives. The rigidity of a certain type of Christian thought has seriously impaired this capacity, which nonviolence must recover.
We do not see God in contemplation -- we know Him by love: for his pure love and when we taste the experience of loving God for his own sake alone, we know by experience who and what he is.
The center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth.
The friends of Job appear on the scene as advisers and "consolers," offering Job the fruits of their moral scientia. But when Job insists that his sufferings have no explanation and that he cannot discover the reason for them through conventional ethical concepts, his friends turn into accusers, and curse Job as a sinner. Thus, instead of consolers, they become torturers by virtue of their very morality, and in so doing, while claiming to be advocates of God, they act as instruments of the devil.
To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.
If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.
But the man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God's love precisely because of his shortcomings, can begin to be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his own illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God.
Not all of us are called to be hermits, but all of us need enough silence and solitude in our lives to enable the deeper voice of our own self to be heard at least occasionally.
Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular.
The soul of man, left to its own natural level, is a potentially lucid crystal left in darkness. It is perfect in its own nature, but it lacks something that it can only receive from outside and above itself. But when the light shines in it, it becomes in a manner transformed into light and seems to lose its nature in the splendor of a higher nature, the nature of the light that is in it.
it is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.
Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, and fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent, and infinitely abundant source.
All men who live only according to their five senses, and seek nothing beyond the gratification of their natural appetites for pleasure and reputation and power, cut themselves off from that charity which is the principle of all spiritual vitality and happiness because it alone saves us from the barren wilderness of our own abominable selfishness.
While some men see ordinary happenings, others see divine light and guidance.
In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart.
It is almost impossible to overestimate the value of true humility and its power in the spiritual life. For the beginning of humility is the beginning of blessedness and the consummation of humility is the perfection of all joy. Humility contains in itself the answer to all the great problems of the life of the soul. It is the only key to faith, with which the spiritual life begins: for faith and humility are inseparable. In perfect humility all selfishness disappears and your soul no longer lives for itself or in itself for God: and it is lost and submerged in Him and transformed into Him.
If we live with possibilities we are exiles from the present which is given us by God to be our own, homeless and displaced in a future or a past which are not ours because they are always beyond our reach. The present is our right place, and we can lay hands on whatever it offers us.
For now, oh my God, it is to You alone that I can talk, because nobody else will understand. I cannot bring any other man on this earth into the cloud where I dwell in Your light, that is, Your darkness, where I am lost and abashed. I cannot explain to any other man the anguish which is Your joy nor the loss which is the Possession of You, nor the distance from all things which is the arrival in You, nor the death which is the birth in You because I do not know anything about it myself and all I know is that I wish it were over -- I wish it were begun.
In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for finding himself. If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.
But it certainly is a wonderful thing to wake up suddenly in the solitude of the woods and look up at the sky and see the utter nonsense of everything including all the solemn stuff given out by professional asses about the spiritual life; and simply to burst out laughing, and laugh and laugh, with the sky and the trees because God is not in words, and not in systems, and not in liturgical movements, and not in "contemplation" with a big "C," or in asceticism or in anything like that, not even in the apostolate.
Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed -- but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
What do I mean by loving ourselves properly? I mean first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and a great good, not because of what it gives us, but because of what it enables us to give to others.
Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny....To work out our identity in God.
Humility sets us free to do what is really good, by showing us our illusions and withdrawing our will from what was only an apparent good.
The psychological impotence of our enraged generation must be traced to the overwhelming accusation of insincerity which every man and woman has to confront, in the depths of his own soul, when he seeks to love merely for his own pleasure.And yet the men of our time do not love with enough courage to risk even discomfort or inconvenience.
It's a risky thing to pray and the danger is that our very prayers get between God and us. The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God... The fact is, though, that if you descend into the depths of your own spirit and arrive somewhere near the center of what you are, you are confronted with the inescapable truth that, at the very root of your existence, you are in constant and immediate contact with the infinite power of God.
His justice is the love that gives to each one of His creatures the gifts that His mercy has previously decreed. And His mercy is His love, doing justice to its own exigencies, and renewing the gift which we had failed to accept.
In the natural order no matter what ideals may be theoretically possible, most people more or less live for themselves and for their own interests and pleasures or for those of their own family or group, and therefore they are constantly interfering with one another's aims, and hurting one another and injuring one another, whether they mean it or not.
The whole function of the life of prayer is, then, to enlighten and strengthen our conscience so that it not only knows and perceives the outward, written precepts of the moral and divine laws, but above all lives God's law in concrete reality by perfect and continual union with His will.
The whole business was so completely unthinkable that my mind, like almost all the other minds that were in the same situation, simply stopped trying to cope with it, and refixed its focus on the ordinary routine of life.
In the devil's theology, the important thing is to be absolutely right and to prove that everybody else is absolutely wrong.
In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity. We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work with expecting immediate reward, to love without an instant satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition. It is only when we are detached from ourselves that we can be at peace with ourselves.
Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice �out there� calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice �in here� calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.
Business is not the supreme virtue, and sanctity is not measured by the amount of work we accomplish. Perfection is found in the purity of our love for God, and this pure love is a delicate plant that grows best where there is plenty of time for it to mature.
The gift of love is the gift of the power and capacity to love, and therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.
No matter how ruined man and his world may seem to be, and no matter how terrible man's despair may become, as long as he continues to be a man his very humanity continues to tell him that life has a meaning.
The great thing, and the only thing, is to adore and praise GOD.
Contemplation means rest, suspension of activity, withdrawal into the mysterious interior solitude in which the soul is absorbed in the immense and fruitful silence of God and learns something of the secret of His perfections less by seeing than by fruitive love.
There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.
We who claim to love peace and justice must always be careful that we do not use our righteousness to provoke the violent, and in this way bring about the conflict for which we, too, like other men, are hungering in secret, and with suppressed barbarity.
There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.
To be alone by being part of the universe-fitting in completely to an environment of woods and silence and peace. Everything you do becomes a unity and a prayer. Unity within and without.
The goal of fasting is inner unity.
If it so happened that I had once written a best-seller, this was a pure accident, due to inattention and naivete, and I would take very good care never to do the same again. If I had a message for my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success.
The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it.
Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand.
Love is free; it does not depend on the desirability of its object, but loves for love's sake.
We must suffer. Our five sense are dulled by inordinate pleasure. Penance makes them keen, gives them back their natural vitality, and more. Penance clears the eye of conscience and of reason. It helps think clearly, judge sanely. It strengthens the action of our will.
It is therefore of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. When we do this we will be able first of all to face and accept our own limitations. As long as we secretly adore ourselves, our own deficiencies will remain to torture us with an apparent defilement. But if we live for others, we will gradually discover that no expects us to be 'as gods'. We will see that we are human, like everyone else, that we all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and that these limitations of ours play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.
We are obliged to love one another. We are not strictly bound to 'like' one another. Love governs the will: 'liking' is a matter of sense and sensibility. Nevertheless, if we really love others it will not be too hard to like them also.
If we wait for some people to become agreeable or attractive before we begin to love them, we will never begin. If we are content to give them a cold impersonal 'charity' that is merely a matter of obligation, we will not trouble to understand them or to sympathize with them at all. And in that case we will not really love them, because love implies an efficacious will not only to do good to others exteriorly but also to find some good in them to which we can respond.
Silence has many dimensions. It can be a regression and an escape, a loss of self, or it can be presence, awareness, unification, self-discovery. Negative silence blurs and confuses our identity, and we lapse into daydreams or diffuse anxieties. Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between these two.
Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda. The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis.
Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true.
We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through it all the time. God manifests Himself everywhere, in everything -- in people and in things and in nature and in events ... The only thing is we don't see it ... I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.
Things that are good are good, and if one is responding to that goodness one is in contact with a truth from which one is getting something. The truth is doing us good. The truth of the sunshine, the truth of the rain, the truth of the fresh air, the truth of the wind in the trees, these are truths. And they are always accessible!
Spread abroad the name of Jesus in humility and with a meek heart; show him your feebleness, and he will become your strength.
We must be willing to accept the bitter truth that, in the end, we may have to become a burden to those who love us. But it is necessary that we face this also. The full acceptance of our abjection and uselessness is the virtue that can make us and others rich in the grace of God. It takes heroic charity and humility to let others sustain us when we are absolutely incapable of sustaining ourselves. We cannot suffer well unless we see Christ everywhere, both in suffering and in the charity of those who come to the aid of our affliction.
What does it mean to know and experience my own "nothingness?" It is not enough to turn away in disgust from my illusions and faults and mistakes, to separate myself from them as if they were not, and as if I were someone other than myself. This kind of self-annihilati on is only a worse illusion, it is a pretended humility which, by saying "I am nothing" I mean in effect "I wish I were not what I am.
Contemplation is also the response to a call: a call from Him who has no voice, and yet who speaks in everything that is, and who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: for we ourselves are words of his. But we are words that are meant to respond to him, to answer to him, to echo him, and even in some way to contain him and signify him. Contemplation is this echo. It is a deep resonance in the inmost center of our spirit in which our very life loses its separate voice and re-sounds with the majesty and the mercy of the Hidden and Living One. He answers himself in us and this answer is divine life, divine creativity, making all things new. We ourselves become his echo and his answer. It is as if in creating us God asked a question, and in awakening us to contemplation he answered the question, so that the contemplative is at the same time, question and answer.
Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more.
Love winter when the plant says nothing.
When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, you do your work well.
Gratitude takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder.
The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.
True happiness is not found in any other reward than that of being united with God. If I seek some other reward besides God Himself, I may get my reward but I cannot be happy.
Before we can realize who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger.
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the other.... The whole purpose of life is to live by love.
Conscience is the light by which we interpret the will of God in our own lives.
True encounter with Christ liberates something in us, a power we did not know we had, a hope, a capacity for life, a resilience, an ability to bounce back when we thought we were completely defeated, a capacity to grow and change, a power of creative transformation.
October is a fine and dangerous season in America. It is dry and cool and the land is wild with red and gold and crimson, and all the lassitudes of August have seeped out of your blood, and you are full of ambition. It is a wonderful time to begin anything at all.
October is a fine and dangerous season in America. It is dry and cool and the land is wild with red and gold and crimson, and all the lassitudes of August have seeped out of your blood, and you are full of ambition. It is a wonderful time to begin anything at all. You go to college, and every course in the catalogue looks wonderful. The names of the subjects all seem to lay open the way to a new world. Your arms are full of new, clean notebooks, waiting to be filled. You pass the doors of the library, and the smell of thousands of well-kept books makes your head swim with a clean and subtle pleasure.
What is 'grace'? It is God's own life, shared by us. God's life is love. Deus caritas est. By grace we are able to share in the infinitely selfless love of Him Who is such pure actuality that He needs nothing and therefore cannot conceivably exploit anything for selfish ends. Indeed, outside of Him there is nothing, and whatever exists exists by His free gift of its being, so that one of the notions that is absolutely contradictory to the perfection of God is selfishness.
True contemplation is not a psychological trick but a theological grace. It can come to us ONLY as a gift, and not as a result of our own clever use of spiritual techniques.
First, the desert is the country of madness. Second, it is the refuge of the devil, thrown out into the "wilderness of upper Egypt" to "wander in dry places." Thirst drives man mad, and the devil himself is mad with a kind of thirst for his own lost excellence -- lost because he has immured himself in it and closed out everything else. So the man who wanders into the desert to be himself must take care that he does not go mad and become the servant of the one who dwells there in a sterile paradise of emptiness and rage.
The devil makes many disciples by preaching against sin. He convinces them that the great evil of sin, induces a crisis of guilt by which "God is satisfied," and after that he lets them spend the rest of their lives meditating on the intense sinfulness and evident reprobation of other men.
Contemplation is the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is a spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being.
There are crimes which no one would commit as an individual which he willingly and bravely commits when acting in the name of his society, because he has been (too easily) convinced that evil is entirely different when it is done 'for the common good.'...one might point to the way in which racial hatreds and even persecution are admitted by people who consider themselves, and perhaps in some sense are, kind, tolerant, civilized and even humane.
God, have mercy on me in the blindness in which I hope I am seeking You!
Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself.
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the rays of God's light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man. ... Through the glass of His Incarnation He concentrates the rays of His Divine Truth and Love upon us so that we feel the burn, and all mystical experience is communicated to men through the Man Christ.
The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow. The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility.
Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.
Humility is the surest sign of strength.
Love is not a mere emotion or sentiment. It is the lucid and ardent responses of the whole person to a value that is revealed to him as perfect.
We are not converted only once in our lives but many times and this endless series of conversions and inner revolutions leads to our transformation.
And of course most non-Catholics imagine that the Church is immensely rich, and that all Catholic institutions make money hand over fist, and that all the money is stored away somewhere to buy gold and silver dishes for the Pope and cigars for the College of Cardinals.
The biggest disease in North America is busyness.
I am against war, against violence, against violent revolution, for peaceful settlement of differences, for nonviolent but nevertheless radical changes. Change is needed, and violence will not really change anything: at most it will only transfer power from one set of bull-headed authorities to another.
After all, what is your personal identity? It is what you really are, your real self. None of us is what he thinks he is, or what other people think he is, still less what his passport says he is. And it is fortunate for most of us that we are mistaken. We do not generally know what is good for us. That is because, in St. Bernard's language, our true personality has been concealed under the 'disguise' of a false self, the ego, whom we tend to worship in place of God.
Pardon all runners, All speechless, alien winds, All mad waters. Pardon their impulses, Their wild attitudes, Their young flights, their reticence. When a message has no clothes on How can it be spoken.
Even when it speaks, humility listens.
The man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free.
The least of the work of learning is done in classrooms.
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of others and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.
He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.
We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others.
The real hope is not in something we think we can do, but in God, who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see.
The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.
We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong. They give us peace in any suffering. They teach us to laugh at despair. And we may have to.
We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.
I will no longer wound myself with the thoughts and questions that have surrounded me like thorns: that is a penance You do not ask of me.
The only influence that can really upset the injustice and iniquity of men is the power that breathes in the Christian tradition, renewing our participation in the Life that is the Light of men.
Prayer is an expression of who we are...We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment.
But there is no substance under the things I have gathered together about me. I am hollow, and my structure of pleasures and ambitions has no foundation. I am objectified in them. But they are all destined by their very contingency to be destroyed. And when they are gone there will be nothing left of me but my own nakedness and emptiness and hollowness, to tell me that I am a mistake.
A superficial freedom to wander aimlessly here or there, to taste this or that, to make a choice of distractions, is simply a sham. It claims to be a freedom of "choice" when it has evaded the basic task of discovering who it is that chooses.
The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.
The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.
We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
I just remember their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity. They inspired real reverence, and I think, in a way, they were certainly saints. And they were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within.
Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities, but in the end when we become used to the new light, we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.
One of the effects of original sin is an instinctive prejudice in favour of our own selfish desires. We see things as they are not, because we see them centered on ourselves. Fear, anxiety, greed, ambition and our hopeless need for pleasure all distort the image of reality that is reflected in our minds. Grace does not completely correct this distortion all at once: but it gives us a means of recognizing and allowing for it. And it tells us what we must do to correct it. Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right.
Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false Self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves.
My best writing has always been in journals.
Nonviolence seeks to ‘win' not by destroying or even by humiliating the adversary, but by convincing the adversary that there is a higher and more certain common good than can be attained by bombs and blood. Nonviolence, ideally speaking, does not try to overcome the adversary by winning over them, but to turn them from an adversary into a collaborator by winning them over.
We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
The true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion, from indistinction, from immersion in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent.
Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm.
For pride, which is the inordinate attribution of goods and values and glories to one's own contingent self, cannot exist where there is no contingent self to which anything can be attributed.
The illusion that mechanical progress means human improvement ... alienates us from our own being and our own reality. It is precisely because we are convinced that our life, as such, is better if we have a better car, a better TV set, better toothpaste, etc., that we condemn and destroy our own reality and the reality of our natural resources. Technology was made for man, not man for technology. In losing touch with being and thus with God, we have fallen into a senseless idolatry of production and consumption for their own sakes.
Contemplative living is living in true relationship with oneself, God, others and nature, free of the illusions of separateness.
For perfect hope is achieved on the brink of despair, when instead of falling over the edge, we find ourselves walking on air.
All theology is a kind of birthday
Each one who is born Comes into the world as a question For which old answers Are not sufficient.
The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness. But it does not matter much because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.
The modern child may early in his or her existence have natural inclinations toward spirituality. The child may have imagination, originality, a simple and individual response to reality, and even a tendency to moments of thoughtful silence and absorption. All these tendencies, however, are soon destroyed by the dominant culture. The child becomes a yelling, brash, false little monster, brandishing a toy gun or dressed up like some character he has seen on television.
To know the Cross is not merely to know our own sufferings. For the Cross is the sign of salvation, and no man is saved by his own sufferings. To know the Cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more, it is to know the love of Christ Who underwent suffering and death in order to save us. It is, then, to know Christ.
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly
themselves. Longer Version:
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
How deluded we sometimes are by the clear notions we get out of books. They make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all.
How deluded we sometimes are by the clear notions we get out of books. They make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all. I remember how learnedly and enthusiastically I could talk for hours about mysticism and the experiential knowledge of God, and all the while I was stoking the fires of the argument with Scotch and soda.
On Pride: This sickness is most dangerous when it succeeds in looking like humility. When a proud man thinks he is humble his case is hopeless.
If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.
And yet with every wound You robbed me of a crime,
And as each blow was paid with Blood, You paid me also each great sin with greater graces. For even as I killed You, You made Yourself a greater thief than any in Your company, Stealing my sins into Your dying life, Robbing me even of my death.
The basic problem is not political, it is apolitical and human. One of the most important things to do is to keep cutting deliberately through political lines and barriers and emphasizing the fact that these are largely fabrications and that there is another dimension, a genuine reality, totally opposed to the fictions of politics: the human dimension which politics pretend to arrogate entirely to themselves. This is the necessary first step along the long way toward the perhaps impossible task of purifying, humanizing and somehow illuminating politics themselves.
Love triumphs, at least in this life, not by eliminating evil once for all, but by resisting and overcoming it anew every day.
It is the will of God that we live not only as rational beings, but as "new men" regenerated by the Holy Spirit in Christ. It is His will that we reach out for our inheritance, that we answer His call to be His sons. We are born men without our consent, but the consent to be sons of God has to be elicited by our own free will.
To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything.
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us -- and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty. Ghandi, quoted in Merton, p. 68.
I once thought that would be the consummation of all joy--to be united by a bond of love--to be lost in His presence there as if nothing else mattered.
"And now--there is much more. Instead of myself and my Christ and my love and my prayer, there is the might of a prayer stronger than thunder and milder than the flight of doves rising up from the Priest who is the Center of every priest, shaking the foundations of the universe and lifting up--me, Host, altar, sanctuary, people, church, abbey, forest, cities, continents, seas and worlds to God and plunging everything into Him.
We thank Him less by words than by the serene happiness of silent acceptance. It is our emptiness in the presence of His reality, our silence in the presence of His infinitely rich silence, our joy in the bosom of the serene darkness in which His light holds us absorbed, it is all this that praises Him.
None of our prayers should ever be petitions for our own needs: for this is only another subtle way of trying to put ourselves on the same plane as God -- acting as if we had no needs, as if we were not creatures, not dependent on Him.
And it is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure.
We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.
Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another.
The world of men has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude, which is necessary, to some extent, for the fullness of human living. Man cannot be happy for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is exiled constantly from his own home, locked out of his spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person.
The fruitfulness of our lives depends in large measure in our ability to doubt our own words and to question the value of our own work. The man who completely trusts his own estimate of himself is doomed to sterility.
When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, then society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.
The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
When your tongue is silent, you can rest in the silence of the forest. When your imagination is silent, the forest speaks to you. It tells you of its unreality and of the Reality of God. But when your mind is silent, then the forest suddenly becomes magnificently real and blazes transparently with the Reality of God.
This is the greatest stumbling block in our spiritual discipline, which, in actuality, consists not in getting rid of the self but in realizing the fact that there is no such existence from the first.
Modern man believes he is fruitful and productive when his ego is aggressively affirmed, when he is visibly active, and when his action produces obvious results.
At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our life, which is inaccessable to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us.
If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity, we must first of all overcome the fear of not being loved.
The truth that many people never understand until it is too late is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer.
Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.
Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.
You are certainly one of the joys of life for all who have ever come within a mile of you.
Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us and see the beauty in ordinary things.
New eyes awaken.
I send Love's name into the world with wings And songs grow up around me like a jungle. Choirs of all creatures sing the tunes Your Spirit played in Eden. Zebras and antelopes and birds of paradise Shine on the face of the abyss And I am drunk with the great wilderness Of the sixth day in Genesis. But sound is never half so fair As when that music turns to air And the universe dies of excellence. Sun, moon and stars Fall from their heavenly towers. Joys walk no longer down the blue world's shore. Though fires loiter, lights still fly on the air of the gulf, All fear another wind, another thunder: Then one more voice Snuffs all their flares in one gust. And I go forth with no more wine and no more stars And no more buds and no more Eden And no more animals and no more sea: While God sings by himself in acres of night And walls fall down, that guarded Paradise.
Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost.
When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children.
When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash -- at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.
Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.
If we examine ourselves carefully we shall see most of us have an enormous amount of unfinished business...We have to be free so that we can just step across the line and that's it. That is what real freedom is.
The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear.
If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.
If you have love you will do all things well.
Zen is consciousness unstructured by particular form or particular system, a trans-cultural, trans-religious, transformed consciousness.
Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right.
There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.
O love-why can't you leave me alone? Which is a rhetorical question meaning: for heaven's sake, don't.
I stand among you as one who offers a small message of hope... there are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free-floating existence under a state of risk.
The thing about Zen is that it pushes contradictions to their ultimate limit where one has to choose between madness and innocence. And Zen. suggests that we may be driving toward one or the other on a cosmic scale. Driving toward them because, one way or the other, as madmen or innocents, we are already there. It might be good to open our eyes and see.
When men live huddled together without true communication, there seems to be a greater sharing, and a more genuine communion. But this is not communion, only immersion in the general meaninglessness of countless slogans and clichés repeated over and over again so that in the end one listens without hearing and responds without thinking. The constant din of empty words and machine noises, the endless booming of loudspeakers end by making true communication and true communion almost impossible.
Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By "they" I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness.
I believe we are going to have to prepare ourselves for the difficult and patient task of outgrowing rigid and intransigent nationalism, and work slowly towards a world federation of peaceful nations. How will this be possible? Don't ask me. I don't know. But unless we develop a moral, spiritual, and political wisdom that is proportionate to our technological skill, our skill may end us.
Grains of error planted innocently in a well-kept greenhouse can become giant poisonous trees.
How can I be sincere if I am constantly changing my mind to conform with the shadow of what I think others expect of me?
There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.
There are days when I am convinced that Heaven starts already, now, in this ordinary life just as it is, in all its incompleteness, yet, this is where Heaven starts.. see within yourself, if you can find it. I walked through the field in front of the house, lots of swallows flying, everywhere! Some very near me..it was magical. "We are already one, yet we know it not.
To enter into the realm of contemplation one must in a certain sense die: but this death is in fact the entrance to a higher life. It is a death for the sake of life, which leaves behind all that we can know or treasure as life, as thought, as experience, as joy, as being.
The true contemplative is one who has discovered the art of finding leisure even in the midst of his work, by working with such a spirit of detachment and recollection that even his work is a prayer.
Let me rest in Your will and be silent. Then the light of Your joy will warm my life. Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory. This is what I live for. Amen, amen.
But precisely this illusion that everything is "clear" is what is blinding us all. It is a serious temptation, and it is a subtle form of pride and worldly love of power and revenge.
A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.
If we seek paradise outside ourselves, we cannot have paradise in our hearts.
I brought all the instincts of a writer with me into the monastery.
To love our nothingness we must love everything in us that the proud man loves when he loves himself. But we must love it all for exactly the opposite reason.
Day after day I read Freud, thinking myself to be very enlightened and scientific when, as a matter of fact, I was about as scientific as an old woman secretly poring over books about occultism, trying to tell her own fortune, and learning how to dope out the future form the lines in the palm of her hand. I don't know if I ever got very close to needing a padded cell: but if I ever had gone crazy, I think psychoanalysis would have been the one thing chiefly responsible for it.
Since no man ever can, or could, live by himself and for himself alone, the destinies of thousands of other people were bound to be affected, some remotely, but some very directly and near-at-hand, by my own choices and decisions and desires, as my own life would also be formed and modified according to theirs.
The pleasure of a good act is something to be remembered -- not in order to feed our complacency but in order to remind us that virtuous actions are not only possible and valuable, but that they can become easier and more delightful and more fruitful than the acts of vice which oppose and frustrate them.
It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers.
To pray and work in the morning and to labor and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars. This is a true and special vocation. There are few who are willing to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into their bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn the very substance of their life into a living and vigilant silence.
It is not merely our own desire but the desire of Christ in His Spirit that drives us to grow in love. Those who seldom or never feel in their hearts the desire for the love of God and other men, and who do not thirst for the pure waters of desire which are poured out in us by the strong, living God, are usually those who have drunk from other rivers or have dug for themselves broken cisterns.
A purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for actions. The activity proper to man is purely mental because man is not just a disembodied mind. Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.
This act of total surrender is not merely a fantastic intellectual and mystical gamble; it is something much more serious. It is an act of love for this unseen person, who, in the very gift of love by which we surrender ourselves to his reality also makes his presence known to us.
What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we cannot cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?
What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.
To those who have no personal experience of this revolutionary aspect of Christian truth, but who see only the outer crust of dead, human conservatism that tends to form around the Church the way barnacles gather on the hull of a ship, all this talk about dynamism sounds foolish.
Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God: for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled his faith.
Ash Wednesday is full of joy...The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.
The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of contemporary violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activity neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
The complacency of the individual who admires his own excellence is bad enough, but it is more respectable than the complacency of the man who has no self-esteem because he has not even a superficial self which he can esteem. He is not a person, not an individual, only an atom. This atomized existence is sometimes praised as humility or as self-sacrifice, some-times it is called obedience, sometimes it is devotion to the dialectic of class war. It produces a kind of peace which is not peace, but only the escape from an immediately urgent sense of conflict. It is the peace not of love but of anesthesia. It is the peace not of self-realization and self-dedication, but of flight into irresponsibility.
True happiness is found in unselfish Love, A love which increases in proportion as it is shared.
The sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
If there was no other proof of the infinite patience of God, a very good one could be found in His toleration of the pictures that are painted of Him.
We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life!
I shall lead you through the loneliness, the solitude you will not understand; but it is my shortcut to your soul.
God does not demand that every man attain to what is theoretically highest and best. It is better to be a good street sweeper than a bad writer, better to be a good bartender than a bad doctor, and the repentant thief who died with Jesus on Calvary was far more perfect than the holy ones who had Him nailed to the cross. And yet, abstractly speaking, what is more holy than the priesthood and less holy than the state of a criminal? The dying thief had, perhaps, disobeyed the will of God in many things: but in the most important event of his life he listened and obeyed. The Pharisees had kept the law to the letter and had spent their lives in the pursuit of a most scrupulous perfection. But they were so intent upon perfection as an abstraction that when God manifested His will and His perfection in a concrete and definite way they had no choice but to reject it.
The meaning of life is found in openness to being and "being present" in full awareness.
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, now I realize what we all are . If only they people could all see themselves as they really are I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth This little point is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.
We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, nor rests in any visible end. He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.
For every gain in deep certitude there is a corresponding growth of superficial "doubt." This doubt is by no means opposed to genuine faith, but it mercilessly examines and questions the spurious "faith" of everyday life, the human faith which is nothing but the passive acceptance of conventional opinion.
Paradoxically, I have found peace because I have always been dissatisfied. My moments of depression and despair turn out to be renewals, new beginnings. If I were once to settle down and be satisfied with the surface of life, with its divisions and its cliches, it would be time to call in the undertaker... So, then, this dissatisfaction which sometimes used to worry me and has certainly, I know, worried others, has helped me in fact to move freely and even gaily with the stream of life.
The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence -- it is unshakeable.
For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.
The primordial blessing, 'increase and multiply', has suddenly become a hemorrhage of terror. We are numbered in billions, and massed together, marshalled, numbered, marched here and there, taxed, drilled, armed, worked to the point of insensibility, dazed by information, drugged by entertainment, surfeited with everything, nauseated with the human race and with ourselves, nauseated with life.
Consequently, the truth of God lives in our souls more by the power of superior moral courage than by the light of an eminent intelligence. Indeed, spiritual intelligence itself depends on the fortitude and patience with which we sacrifice ourselves for the truth, as it is communicated to our lives concretely in the providential will of God.
You are made in the image of what you desire.