Henri Nouwen (quotes)

  • Forgiveness indeed heals memories
  • A happy life is a life for others.
  • Emit gratitude as though it was done
  • Your heart is greater than your wounds.
  • Peace is first of all the art of being.
  • Forgiveness changes the way we remember.
  • Solitude is the furnace of transformation.
  • Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply.
  • Community is where humility and glory touch.
  • The soul of the artist cannot remain hidden.
  • Life is a gift, not to possess, but to share.
  • As long as we have our stories there is hope.
  • I had a deep experience of God’s love for me.
  • Be sure that you make a difference in the world.
  • Who can take away suffering without entering it?
  • The world is evil only when you become its slave.
  • I feel the problems I have are meant to purify me.
  • Life is not entertainment. Life is not distraction.
  • Every time you reject yourself, you idealize others
  • By prayer, community is created as well as expressed.
  • Yes, it’s a competitive world, but where is your heart?
  • It’s good to have a prayer on your lips wherever you go.
  • Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God.
  • Mysticism is for all, not just for a few special people.
  • The only feelings that do not heal are the ones you hide.
  • People forget ideas; they don’t forget the real presence.
  • In solitude we realize that nothing human is alien to us.
  • To learn patience is not to rebel against every hardship.
  • You don’t have to run around world proving you’re lovable.
  • Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.
  • In God’s eyes the most significant is often the most hidden.
  • There are as many ways to pray as there are moments in life.
  • It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends.
  • It is God’s passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer.
  • Keep a space where God can let something totally new take place.
  • If fear is the great enemy of intimacy, love is its true friend.
  • Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
  • God wants you to live for others and to live that presence well.
  • In our own woundedness, we can become sources of life for others.
  • Too many of us are lonely ministers practicing a lonely ministry.
  • Life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared.
  • Somewhere we know that without silence, words lose their meaning.
  • Friendship and love are impossible without a mutual vulnerability.
  • a spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.
  • Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey.
  • Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved.
  • It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called.
  • Writing is not just a job. It helps me to pray. It’s a way of being.
  • Precisely where I feel my poverty is where I discover God’s blessing.
  • If you are not able to be silent, you will not be able to speak well.
  • One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are
  • The Church is the body of Christ fashioned by baptism & the Eucharist.
  • I have found it very important…to let go of my wishes and start hoping.
  • Friends share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand.
  • That’s the temptation of the devil: “Turn stones into bread! Be relevant!”
  • Prayer is not a pious decoration of life but the breath of human existence.
  • When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.
  • To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer.
  • In solitude we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.
  • I always try to turn my personal struggles into something helpful for others.
  • Our life is…a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment.
  • Trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.
  • I trust in you, Lord, but keep helping me in my moments of distrust and doubt.
  • There is nothing so important in the family as the sacred quality of the meal.
  • People who read your ideas tend to think that your writings reflect your life.
  • Peacemaking is a full-time vocation that includes each member of God’s people.
  • Hope means to keep living amid desperation and to keep humming in the darkness.
  • Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.
  • As we are involved in unceasing thinking, so we are called to unceasing prayer.
  • The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it
  • When I was teaching, I didn’t feel I had a home, a place where I truly belonged.
  • The university has become a place that prepares you for the fights in the world.
  • We cannot make it rain but we can see to it that the rain falls on prepared soil.
  • The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inward journey must be.
  • Where true inner freedom is, there is God. And where God is, there we want to be.
  • The real question is: how can I live so that my death will be fruitful for others?
  • As a general remark, I would say we must move from the moral to the mystical life.
  • Prayer is not what is done by us, but rather what is done by the Holy Spirit in us.
  • Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work, and not mine.
  • A life without a lonely place, that is, without a quiet center, becomes destructive.
  • By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.
  • The beginning and the end of all Christian leadership is to give your life for others.
  • The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.
  • When we give generously, with an abundance mentality, what we give away will multiply.
  • Our first responsibility in the midst of violence is to prevent it from destroying us.
  • The mystery of one man is too immense and too profound to be explained by another man.
  • Life is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say, “I love you, too.”
  • When we keep claiming the light, we will find ourselves becoming more and more radiant.
  • Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.
  • When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close.
  • Jesus said Communion first, community comes out of that, and out of community, ministry.
  • Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.
  • I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found.
  • Beneath our frantic activities, there’s a deep desire to show the world we are worthwhile.
  • Waiting is a dry desert between where we are and where we want to be. (Finding My Way Home)
  • Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence — priceless and irreplaceable.
  • In their poverty, the mentally handicapped reveal God to us and hold us close to the gospel.
  • I feel strongly that the God we meet in solitude is always the God who calls us to community.
  • Everything changes radically from the moment you know yourself as being sent into this world.
  • Every time I take a step in the direction of generosity, I know I am moving from fear to love.
  • The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark.
  • If you meet God in solitude, you discover the God you meet is the God who embraces all people.
  • Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.
  • The spiritual life is a reaching out to our innermost self, to our fellow human and to our God.
  • This brief lifetime is my opportunity to receive love, deepen love, grow in love, and give love.
  • Take prayer with you wherever you go. Say it anytime, and then focus your mind and heart on God.
  • You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking.
  • To live in the present, we must deeply believe that what is most important is in the here and now.
  • Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared.
  • Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own.
  • Our brokenness has no other beauty but the beauty that comes from the compassion that surrounds it.
  • What makes us human is not our mind but our heart, not our ability to think but our ability to love.
  • If you feel loved, you can do a thousand things. If you feel rejected, everything becomes a problem.
  • Spiritual maturity is not knowing what to do with your whole life, but just knowing what to do next.
  • We must ask ourselves how many times others would benefit more from our silence than from our words.
  • Is my growing old making me any closer to Christ? Am I only getting older or am I getting more godly?
  • The real ‘work’ of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me.
  • Our glory is hidden in our pain, if we allow God to bring the gift of himself in our experience of it.
  • The beatitudes say, “Blessed are the poor”. They don’t say, “Blessed are those who care for the poor.”
  • …real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.
  • Solitude does not pull us away from our fellow human beings but instead makes real fellowship possible.
  • The journey from teaching about love to allowing myself to be loved proved much longer than I realised.
  • Pay attention to the people God puts in your path if you want to discern what God is up to in your life.
  • We are all healers who can reach out and offer health, and we are all patients in constant need of help.
  • Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting.
  • From the moment we claim the truth of being the beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are.
  • God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment, be that moment hard or easy, joyful and painful.
  • Waiting time is not wasting time. Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.
  • I often wonder if my knowledge about God has not become my greatest stumbling block to my knowledge of God.
  • The great conversion  called for by Jesus is to move from belonging to the world to belonging to God.
  • Good families always ritualize the table. You can say, “This is a Christmas meal; this is a birthday meal.”
  • Prayer is first of all listening to God. It’s openness. God is always speaking; he’s always doing something.
  • The fruits of your labors may be reaped two generations from now. Trust, even when you don’t see the results.
  • Gratitude flows from the recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts to be received and shared.
  • Reading with children is an enormous gift to them. It’s a great honor to invite children to read with adults.
  • What is forgotten cannot be healed, and that which cannot be healed easily becomes the cause of greater evil.
  • Asking people for money is giving them the opportunity to put their resources at the disposal of the Kingdom.
  • The main question is not, how can we hide our wounds…but how can we put our woundedness in service to others.
  • Prayer is the center of the Christian life. It is the only necessary thing. It is living with God, here and now.
  • Although I am a committed Catholic priest, and nowhere hide that fact, my focus is very much a spiritual journey.
  • If I were to let my life be taken over by what is urgent, I might very well never get around to what is essential.
  • Solitude is the place of purification and transformation, the place of the great struggle and the great encounter.
  • I choose L’Arche; L’Arche chooses me. I would be dead if I weren’t here. I need people to love me and care for me.
  • Learning to weep, learning to keep vigil, learning to wait for the dawn. Perhaps this is what it means to be human.
  • What is important is how well we love. God will make our love fruitful, whether we see that fruitfulness or not.
  • Solitude, community, and ministry are certainly not just for celibates! Celibates also have a hard time keeping up.
  • The crisis of our prayer life is that our minds may be filled with ideas of God while our hearts remain far from him.
  • Ministry is the least important thing. You cannot not minister if you are in communion with God and live in community.
  • The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.
  • Forgiveness changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a blessing. Forgiveness indeed heals memories . . .
  • We just have to recognize life for what it is: a gift to be grateful for, not a property to cling to, hoard, or defend.
  • For many, religion has to do with what we are allowed to do and not allowed to do. In the end, that doesn’t bear fruit.
  • This sounds very simple and maybe even trite, but very few people know that they are loved without condition or limits.
  • Joy and laughter are the gifts of living in the presence of God and trusting that tomorrow is not worth worrying about.
  • One way to express the spiritual crisis of our time is to say that most of us have an address but cannot be found there.
  • Those who keep speaking about the sun while walking under a cloudy sky are messengers of hope, the true saints of our day.
  • The gospel word of the day can become like a painting on the walls. of your inner room, the inner room that is your heart.
  • Solitude is the place where we can connect with profound bonds that are deeper than the emergency bonds of fear and anger.
  • Through discipline, discipline is the other side of discipleship. If you want to follow Jesus, you have to have discipline.
  • The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation.
  • There are areas I have to work on. I had some questions and some struggles, but it was an enormously important time for me.
  • Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the Beloved.
  • When you recognize the festive and the still moments as moments of prayer, then you gradually realize that to pray is to live.
  • I want my work to create space where people can meet God, rather than give them something they can “apply” to their daily life.
  • Ministry in no way is a privilege…it is the core of the Christian life. No Christian is a Christian without being a minister.
  • The best of community does give one a deep sense of belonging and well-being; and in that sense community takes away loneliness.
  • Let’s dare to enter into an intimate relationship with God without fear, trusting that we will receive love and always more love.
  • I’ve had a tremendous problem with depression in my life. I’d rather not talk about it, because it’s over. But depression is real.
  • Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world.
  • Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal of all peacemaking.
  • The church is not an institution forcing us to follow rules but a community inviting us to still our hunger and thirst at its table.
  • Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. Fear makes us run away from each other or cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.
  • My writing has developed drastically . The Return of the Prodigal Son is the most important thing I’ve done, and my most mature book.
  • My hope is that the description of God’s love in my life will give you the freedom and the courage to discover… God’s love in yours.
  • When you have loved deeply, that love can grow even stronger after the death of the person you love. That is the core message of Jesus.
  • The difference between rich and poor is not that the rich sin is more than the poor, that the rich find it easier to call sin a virtue.
  • God doesn’t give us just enough. God gives us more than enough: more bread and fish than we can eat, more love than we dared to ask for.
  • …the word that seems best to summarize the desire of the human heart is ‘communion.’ …wherever we look it is communion that we seek.
  • I have always felt that if I am very personal and connected with what I myself am living, my writing will transcend ecclesial boundaries.
  • The pain that comes from deep love makes your love more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root.
  • Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
  • Community means that people come together around the table, not just to feed their bodies, but to feed their minds and their relationships.
  • Once you are in communion with God, you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear other people in whom God has also found a dwelling place.
  • The great challenge is to discover that we are truly invited to participate in the divine life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • In a strange way the spiritual life isn’t “useful” or “successful.” But it is meant to be fruitful. And fruitfulness comes out of brokenness.
  • When I could no longer cling to my normal supports I discovered that true support and real safety lie far beyond the structures of our world.
  • My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.
  • It is precisely in times of spiritual dryness that we must hold on to our spiritual discipline so that we can grow into new intimacy with God.
  • Community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another.
  • We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.
  • The most important thing I’ve come to believe in is that people with mental handicaps have a unique mission to bring God’s blessing to the World.
  • One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite, that do not create conflict but unity, that do not hurt but heal.
  • People who pray stand receptive before the world. They no longer grab but caress, they no longer bite but kiss, they no longer examine but admire.
  • When we have sold our identity to the judges of this world, we are bound to become restless, because of a growing need for affirmation and praise.
  • I am working on three things: on being a prayerful person; on staying close to the handicapped; and on my writing. These are my constant concerns.
  • I was forced to enter the basement of my soul and look directly at what was hidden there, and to choose, in the face of it all, not death but life.
  • Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us.
  • Active waiting means present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.
  • Spiritual identity means we are not what we do or what people say about us. And we are not what we have. We are the beloved daughters and sons of God.
  • The evangelical movement has become just a bit victimized by a success-oriented culture, wanting the church – like the corporation – to be successful.
  • The tragedy of our lives is that, while we suffer from the wounds afflicted on us by those who love us, we cannot avoid wounding those we want to love.
  • [The Return of the Prodigal book] came out of my emotional and spiritual journey during the four months I was gone from Daybreak because of depression.
  • Often we come home from a sharing session with a feeling that something precious has been taken away from us or that holy ground has been trodden upon.
  • Compassion can never coexist with judgement because judgement creates the distance, the distinction, which prevents us from really being with the other.
  • How do you pray? Take the gospel of each day and spend ten minutes with it. Read it, and read it again. Walk into the world with the gospel in your heart.
  • The question is not: How many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show some results? but: Are you in love with Jesus?
  • […]when two people have become present to each other, the waiting of one must be able to cross the narrow line between the living or dying of the other.
  • Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.
  • The great teachers are always those who can live the tension. They are not criticizing everybody, they’re not complaining. They give young people a vision.
  • I don’t pray enough, but I pray more now. Every morning at six o’clock have a half hour of meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. I pray with others too.
  • The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.
  • Television is obviously an enormous intruder. Quite often people say they have no time, but in fact they waste a lot of time on things that are not healthy.
  • Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.
  • We need to remind each other that the cup of sorrow is also the cup of joy, that precisely what causes us sadness can become the fertile ground for gladness.
  • ‘How much longer will I live?’… Only one thing seems clear to me. Every day should be well-lived. What a simple truth! Still, it is worthy of my attention.
  • While my friend always spoke about the sun, I kept speaking about the clouds, until one day I realized that it was the sun that allowed me to see the clouds.
  • Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you the freedom to go and stay where you wish and to find the many signs which point out the way to a new land.
  • For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.
  • Once we deeply trust that we ourselves are precious in God’s eyes, we are able to recognize the preciousness of others and their unique places in God’s heart.
  • Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.
  • One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.
  • The more we touch the intimate love of God which creates, sustains, and guides us, the more we recognize the multitude of fruits that come forth from that love.
  • The world is waiting for new saints, ecstatic men and women who are so deeply rooted in the love of God that they are free to imagine a new international order.
  • You are the heir to the Kingdom. Prosperity is your birth right and you hold the key to more abundance in every area of your life then you can possibly imagine.
  • God is your safety and your home. You are well embraced.” Start living the multi-formity of life from this place. If you can hold on to that, it all becomes one.
  • God’s Kingdom is a place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the world.
  • The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.
  • Our tendency is to run from the painful realities or try to change them as soon as possible. But cure without care makes us into rulers, controllers, manipulators.
  • The great call for the Church is to not just be concerned about right or wrong behavior, which is moral life, but about communion with God, which is mystical life.
  • People with handicaps teach me that being is more important than doing, the heart is more important than the mind, and caring together is better than caring alone.
  • That’s prayer to let God’s Word speak deep within you and tell you, “You are my beloved. You don’t have to take an eye for an eye. No, no you’re too rich for that.”
  • In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.
  • That is our vocation: to convert the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.
  • Those who think that they have arrived, have lost their way. Those who think they have reached their goal, have missed it. Those who think they are saints, are demons.
  • Theological formation is the gradual and often painful discovery of God’s incomprehensibility. You can be competent in many things, but you cannot be competent in God.
  • If you want to know anything about community, you have to realize that the contemplative side is essential. Community without retreating and quiet time never survives.
  • Community always calls us back to solitude, and solitude always calls us to community. Community and solitude, both, are essential elements of ministry and witnessing.
  • For me the university has always been an ideal context for spiritual formation. I always felt that if you want to offer spiritual formation at the university, you can.
  • We are not the healers, we are not the reconcilers, we are not the givers of life. We are sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for.
  • Intimacy is not a happy medium. It is a way of being in which the tension between distance and closeness is dissolved and a new horizon appears. Intimacy is beyond fear.
  • Aging does not need to be hidden or denied, but can be understood, affirmed and experienced as a process of growth by which the mystery of life is slowly revealed to us.
  • The spiritual life is a life beyond moods. It is a life in which we choose joy and do not allow ourselves to become victims of passing feelings of happiness or depression.
  • To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude.
  • The people who most affected me were the ones who got right in there with me, who cried with me, but who also had a certain authority, who dared to say what needed saying.
  • Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God’s guidance.
  • As ministers our greatest temptation is toward too many words. They weaken our faith and make us lukewarm.  But silence is a sacred discipline, a guard of the Holy Spirit.
  • …we all want to hear stories, from the moment we are born to the moment we die. Stories connect our little lives with the world around us and help us discover who we are.
  • Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.
  • Becoming the beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am, in fact, thinking of, talking about and doing from hour to hour.
  • I still believe that the university is a place where people can develop their minds and learn skills, but also they can develop their personalities and their spiritual life.
  • True Hospitality is welcoming the stranger on her own terms. This kind of hospitality can only be offered by those who’ve found the center of their lives in their own hearts.
  • Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering end up disconnecting our suffering from God’s suffering for us. The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.
  • The resistance to praying is like the resistance of tightly clenched fists. This image shows a tension, a desire to cling tightly to yourself, a greediness which betrays fear.
  • Someday I would love to write about Vincent van Gogh – his paintings and letters continue to inspire me very much. But it remains hard to find the time and inner rest to write.
  • You have to listen to the one who calls you beloved. That has to be affirmed over and over again. That is prayer – listening to the voice of the one who calls you “the beloved.”
  • Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
  • Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.
  • The joy that compassion brings is one of the best-kept secrets of humanity. It is a secret known only to a very few people, a secret that has to be rediscovered over and over again.
  • Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing-sicknes s, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death–can take that love away.
  • Your life is not going to be easy, and it should not be easy. It ought to be hard. It ought to be radical; it ought to be restless; it ought to lead you to places you’d rather not go.
  • Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. …We do not take the spiritual life seriously if we do not set aside some time to be with God and listen to him.
  • Jesus says, “Keep your heart on the kingdom first. Keep your heart on God’s love. Keep focused on the fact that you are God’s beloved daughter or son. That’s the truth of who you are.
  • It’s an incredible mystery of God’s love that the more you know how deeply you are loved, the more you will see how deeply your sisters and your brothers in the human family are loved.
  • To be baptized means to make the passage with the people of Israel and with Jesus from slavery to freedom and from death to new life. It is a commitment to a life in and through Jesus.
  • I loved to teach, I loved my students, but I wanted to find a community. I prayed: “Lord, show me where you want me to go. I will go wanted wherever you call me – but please be clear.”
  • It is very hard to stay in touch with our true identity because those who want our money, our time, and our energy profit more from our insecurity and fears than from our inner freedom.
  • In solitude we become aware that we were together before we came together and that life is not a creation of our will but rather an obedient response to the reality of our being united.
  • God, help me to see others not as enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to offer your Living Water, which alone quenches deep thirst.
  • Solitude is an essential element for the spiritual health of a child. If we only stimulate our children – keep them busy with endless stories with no space to be alone – that’s not good.
  • What once seemed such a curse has become a blessing. All the agony that threatened to destroy my life now seems like the fertile ground for greater trust, stronger hope, and deeper love.
  • If you believe you are the beloved of God, you need to spend time listening to his voice – period! You can’t say, “Yes God calls me the beloved, but I have to go out to do something now.”
  • The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord
  • To the degree that we embrace the truth that our identity is not rooted in our success, power, or popularity, but in God’s infinite love, to that degree can we let go of our need to judge.
  • It is not that the university as such is against spiritual formation. It is just that often the university does not know how to integrate spiritual formation within its academic disciplines.
  • When we learn to move through suffering, rather than avoid it, then we greet it differently. We become willing to let it teach us. We even begin to see how God can use it for some larger end.
  • The third discipline is community. Whom do you choose as your companions? Whom do you choose to be friends with, to live with? Are they people who love you, and care for you, and nurture you?
  • To receive spiritual direction is to recognize that God does not solve our problems or answer all our questions, but leads us closer to the mystery of our existence where all questions cease.
  • The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters. In fact, it matters more than pain, illness, or even death.
  • Christian life is not a life divided between times for action and times for contemplation. No. Real social action is a way of contemplation, and real contemplation is the core of social action.
  • The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of the here and now.
  • Obviously a child can never conceive solitude if his parents aren’t living it somewhere themselves. I don’t mean that to be alone you have to get down on your knees for an hour in a yoga posture.
  • Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going?-are not questions with an answer but questions that open us up to new questions which lead us deeper into the unshakeable mystery of existence.
  • We have to keep asking ourselves: ‘What does it all mean? What is God trying to tell us? How are we called to live in the midst of all this?’ Without such questions our lives become numb and flat.
  • The man who can articulate the movements of his inner life need no longer be a victim of himself, but is able slowly and consistently to remove the obstacles that prevent the spirit from entering.
  • The real enemies of our life are the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ifs.’ They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now.
  • Ministry means the ongoing attempt to put one’s own search for God, with all the moments of pain and joy, despair and hope, at the disposal of those who want to join this search but do not know how.
  • Community life is not easy for somebody like me, who is used to living by himself and doing what he wants. It’s a demanding life, and you quickly get in touch with your own handicaps and weaknesses.
  • Prayer and action…can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows into powerless pietism, and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation.
  • Which questions guide our lives? Which questions do we make our own? Which questions deserve our undivided and full personal commitment? Finding the right questions is crucial to finding the answers.
  • when the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian.
  • Feelings of guilt dominate our work as peacemakers we cannot last long. But when we have opened each other’s eyes to the great human gifts among all people we can indeed make peacemaking a way of being.
  • When we become aware that we do not have to escape our pains, but that we can mobilize them into a common search for life, those very pains are transformed from expressions of despair into signs of hope.
  • I am learning that the best cure for hypocrisy is community. Hypocrisy is not so much the result of not living what I preach but much more of not confessing my inability to fully live up to my own words.
  • To be a Christian who is willing to travel with Christ on his downward road requires being willing to detach oneself constantly from any need to be relevant, and to trust ever more deeply the Word of God.
  • You are a Christian only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in, so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo, and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.
  • His (Christ’s) appearance in our midst has made it undeniably clear that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.
  • I really believe that what we finally want is to know God, as God has come to be known through Jesus. Knowledge is knowledge of the heart – the Spirit – I would say. It is the Spirit in us who reveals God.
  • Lifting our cup means sharing our life so we can celebrate it. When we truly believe we are called to lay down our lives for our friends, we must dare to take the risk to let others know what we are living.
  • A prayerful life is not a life in which we say many prayers, but a life in which nothing, absolutely nothing, is done, said, or understood independently of him who is the origin and purpose of our existence.
  • I am deeply convince that the necessity of prayer, and to pray unceasingly, is not as much based on our desire for God as on God’s desire for us. It is God’s passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer.
  • Real greatness is often hidden, humble, simple, and unobtrusive. It is not easy to trust ourselves and our actions without public affirmation. We must have strong self-confidence combined with deep humility.
  • A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
  • I’m learning that the blessing is located in our poor people, in people who are weak; they are the ones we should stay close to, not because they need us but because we need to receive from them the blessing.
  • The members – mentally handicapped people who are marginal in society and not useful in an economic sense – welcomed me into their lives. And I was loved, not because of what s doing but because of who I was.
  • As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God’s voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through our words.
  • Resentment and gratitude cannot coexist, since resentment blocks the perception and experience of life as a gift. My resentment tells me that I don’t receive what I deserve. It always manifests itself in envy.
  • We want to prove we are good writers or good business, good parents or good teachers. The world is very competitive and catches us in this frenzy. It wants us to go here, be there, and be part of this or that.
  • In the face of the oppressed I recognize my own face, and in the hands of the oppressor I recognize my own hands. Their flesh is my flesh, their blood is my blood, their pain is my pain, their smile is my smile.
  • We are called to be fruitful – not successful, not productive, not accomplished. Success comes from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness comes from vulnerability and the admission of our own weakness.
  • Jesus didn’t say, ‘Blessed are those who care for the poor.’ He said, ‘Blessed are we where we are poor, where we are broken.’ It is there that God loves us deeply and pulls us into deeper communion with himself.
  • Those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. LOVE is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.
  • Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity- an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: ‘You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.
  • The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing…that is a friend who cares.
  • We need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.
  • The deepest satisfaction of writing is precisely that it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware before we started to write. To write is to embark on a journey whose final destination we do not know.
  • It is not easy to enter into the silence and reach beyond the many boisterous and demanding voices of our world and to discover there the small intimate voice saying: ‘You are my Belived Child, on you my favor rests.’
  • I am very grateful that I am in touch with so many different church groups. I am always very moved by the fact that so many people – practically over the spectrum of the Christian world – are responding to my writing.
  • Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life…all of our life.
  • So I am praying while not knowing how to pray. I am resting while feeling restless, at peace while tempted, safe while still anxious, surrounded by a cloud of light while still in darkness, in love while still doubting.
  • Where are you getting your affection? Who’s touching you? Who’s holding you? Who makes you feel alive? Who says, “You are a beautiful person, you are the beloved of God, don’t forget it”? That’s an important discipline.
  • To be a minister means above all to become powerless, or in more precise terms, to speak with our powerlessness to the condition of powerlessness which is so keenly felt but so seldom expressed by the people of our age.
  • Live, work, and travel with handicapped people, so I can stay close to them. But since I am often busy with many things, it’s a constant struggle to keep the handicapped members of our community in the center of my life.
  • Jesus didn’t live alone. He had Peter, John, and James around him. There were the Twelve and the other disciples. They formed circles of intimacy around Jesus. We too need these circles of intimacy, but it’s a discipline.
  • As peacemakers, we must resist all the powers of war and destruction and proclaim that peace is the divine gift offered to all who affirm life. Resistance means saying ‘No’ to all the forces of death, wherever they may be.
  • Ministers are powerless people who have nothing to boast of except their weaknesses. But when the Lord whom they serve fills them with His blessing they will move mountains and change the hearts of people wherever they go.
  • No one person can fulfill all your needs. But the community can truly hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that, beyond your anguish, there are human hands that hold you and show you God’s faithful love.
  • Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown. Hope makes you see God’s guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness.
  • Based or our baptism, all are called to a mystical life, to communion with God. We need to claim that, to taste it and feel it, to trust that the deeper we live this communion, the more our behavior will witness to the truth.
  • It is freeing to become aware that we do not have to be victims of our past and can learn new ways of responding. Forgiveness is love practiced among people who love poorly. It sets us free without wanting anything in return.
  • Any dance of celebration must weave both the sorrows and the blessings into a joyful step….To heal is to let the Holy Spirit call me to dance, to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life.
  • I can choose to grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly.
  • Distance never seperates two hearts that really care, for our memories span the miles and in seconds we are there. But whenever I start feeling sad cuz I miss you I remind myself how lucky I am to have someone so special to miss.
  • I have an increasing sense that the most important crisis of our time is spiritual and that we need places where people can grow stronger in the spirit and be able to integrate the emotional struggles in their spiritual journeys.
  • Joy is hidden in sorrow and sorrow in joy. If we try to avoid sorrow at all costs, we may never taste joy, and if we are suspicious of ecstasy, agony can never reach us either. Joy and sorrow are the parents of our spiritual growth.
  • Our inclination is to show our Lord only what we feel comfortable with. But the more we dare to reveal our whole trembling self to him, the more we will be able to sense that his love, which is perfect love, casts out all our fears.
  • As long as we relate to the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the fields and the oceans as properties which we can manipulate according to our real or fabricated needs, nature remains opaque, and does not reveal to us its true being.
  • Each individual human being can claim the Spirit of Jesus as the guiding spirit of his or her life. In that Spirit we can speak and act freely and confidently with the knowledge that the same Spirit that inspired Jesus is inspiring us.
  • It is in solitude that we discover that being is more important than having and that we are worth more than the results of our efforts. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended but a gift to be shared.
  • Be surprised by joy, be surprised by the little flower that shows its beauty in the midst of a barren desert, and be surprised by the immense healing power that keeps bursting forth like springs of fresh water from the depth of our pain.
  • In 1970 I felt so lonely that I could not give; now I feel so joyful that giving seems easy. I hope that the day will come when the memory of my present joy will give me the strength to keep giving even when loneliness gnaws at my heart.
  • Silence is a very concrete, practical, and useful discipline in all our ministerial tasks. It can be seen as a portable cell taken with us from the solitary place into the midst of our ministry.  Silence is solitude practiced in action.
  • Most Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships and have opted for power and control instead. Many Christian empire-builders have been people unable to give and receive love.
  • The immense joy in welcoming back the lost son hides in the immense sorrow that has gone before….our brokenness may appear beautiful, but our brokenness has no other beauty but the beauty that comes from the compassion that surrounds it.
  • Jesus invites us to abide in his love. That means to dwell with all that I am in him. It is an invitation to a total belonging, to full intimacy, to an unlimited being-with. The light of the Spirit reveals to us that love conquers all fear.
  • In our production-oriented society, being busy, having an occupation, has become one of the main ways, if not the main way, of identifying ourselves. Without an occupation, not just our economic security but our very identity is endangered.
  • The dance of life finds its beginnings in grief……Here a completely new way of living is revealed. It is the way in which pain can be embraced, not out of a desire to suffer, but in the knowledge that something new will be born in the pain.
  • Our society is so fragmented, our family lives so sundered by physical and emotional distance, our friendships so sporadic, our intimacies so ‘in-between’ things and often so utilitarian, that there are few places where we can feel truly safe.
  • When we approach fundraising in a spirit of gratitude, our confidence in our mission does not depend on how the person we are with responds to our request! We are free to remain secure in God’s love with our hearts set joyfully on the kingdom.
  • Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives.
  • Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.
  • When we have nothing to cling to as our own and cease thinking of ourselves as people who must defend privileges, we can open ourselves freely to others with the faithful expectation that our strength will manifest itself in our shared weakness.
  • Every time there are losses, there are choices to be made. You choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression and resentment, or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, and deeper.
  • …When you can look into the face of human beings and you have enough light to recognize them as your brothers and sisters. Up until then it is night and darkness is still with us. Let us pray for the light. It is the peace the world cannot give.
  • Living a spiritual life requires a change of heart, a conversion. Such a conversion may be marked by a sudden inner change, or it can take place through a long, quiet process of transformation. But it always involves an inner experience of oneness.
  • Fundraising is a very rich and beautiful activity. It is a confident, joyful and hope-filled expression of ministry. In ministering to each other, each from the riches that he or she possesses, we work together for the full coming of God’s Kingdom.
  • Ministry is a very confronting service. It does not allow people to live with illusions of immortality and wholeness. It keeps reminding others that they are mortal and broken, but also that with the recognition of this condition, liberation starts.
  • Simply being with someone is difficult because it asks of us that we share in the other’s vulnerability, enter with him or her into the experience of weakness and powerlessness, become part of the uncertainty, and give up control and self-determination.
  • Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people’s response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule.
  • A sense of solitude is one of the most beautiful things that parents can give a child. It doesn’t mean leaving the child alone, but it does mean creating safe spaces where the child can be with other people. It does mean directing their attention to God.
  • When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand.

 

  • Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.
  • the real “work” of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me. To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing– that demands real effort.
  • Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched.
  • Living in a community with very wounded people, I came to see that I had lived most of my life as a tightrope artist trying to walk on a high, thin cable from one tower to the other, always waiting for the applause when I had not fallen off and broken my leg.
  • If you start with community and want to be faithful to community, you have to realize that what binds you together is not mutual compatibility or common tasks, but God. In order to stay in touch with that call to community, we always have to return to solitude.
  • Today’s reading was “if they ask you to walk a mile, walk two. Don’t take an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.” You have chances every second to live this Word, but it has to be in you. It can’t just be an idea; it has to sink from the mind into the heart.
  • Our Western society is showing its technological muscles in ever more threatening ways, but the experience of fear, anxiety and even despair has increased in equal proportion. Indeed, the paradox is that the powerful giants feel as powerless as a new-born babe.
  • Without Pentecost the Christ-event – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now.
  • Through prayer we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies, all torture and war, all hunger, loneliness and misery, not because of some great psychological or emotional capacity, but because God’s heart has become one with ours.
  • As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their “right” place.
  • What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.
  • The Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. God loves us, not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love.
  • The central question is, Are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God’s presence, to listen to God’s voice, to look at God’s beauty, to touch God’s incarnate Word and to taste fully God’s infinite goodness.
  • I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find him, but instead as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding.
  • What is Hope?Hope is that inner dynamic that compels us to explore and pursue the expectations built into the human condition. Hope was born the day the first human beings discovered the first bridge and decided not to jump off the bridge in despair, but to cross it
  • Ministers are tempted to join the ranks of those who consider it their primary task to keep other people busy.¶ But our task is the opposite of distraction‚¶ how to keep them from being so busy that they can no longer hear the voice of God who speaks in silence.
  • As those who are chosen, blessed, broken, and given, we are called to live our lives with a deep inner joy and peace. It is the life of the Beloved, lived in a world constantly trying to convince us that the burden is on us to prove that we are worthy of being loved.
  • Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.
  • Prayer is the way to both the heart of God and the heart of the world – precisely because they have been joined through the suffering of Jesus Christ Praying is letting one’s own heart become the place where the tears of God’s children merge and become tears of hope.
  • The more you are called to speak for God’s love, the more you will need to deepen the knowledge of that love in your own heart. The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inward journey must be. Only when your roots are deep can your fruits be abundant.
  • Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, ‘Come Lord Jesus!’
  • Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and him alone. If we really believe not only that God exists but also that he is actively present in our lives; healing, teaching, and guiding we need to set aside a time and space to give him our undivided attention.
  • The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go.
  • The Christian leaders of the future have to be theologians, persons who know the heart of God and are trained – through prayer, study, and careful analysis – to manifest the divine event of God’s saving work in the midst of the many seemingly random events of their time.
  • . says, ‘Let go of your complaints, forgive those who loved you poorly, step over your feelings of being rejected, and have the courage to trust that you won’t fall into an abyss of nothingness but into the safe embrace of a God whose love will heal all your wounds.
  • It is precisely when you are loved a lot that you might realize a second loneliness which is not to be solved but lived. This second loneliness is an existential loneliness that belongs to the basis of our being. It’s where we are unfulfilled because only God can fill us.
  • Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me.
  • Our spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, expecting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination or prediction. This, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.
  • Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.
  • I know that I have to move from speaking about Jesus to letting him speak within me, from thinking about Jesus to letting him think within me, from acting for and with Jesus to letting him act through me. I know the only way for me to see the world is to see it through his eyes.
  • In community, where you have all the affection you could ever dream of, you feel that there is a place where even community cannot reach. That’s a very important experience. In that loneliness, which is like a dark night of the soul, you learn that God is greater than community.
  • One of the most beautiful ways for spiritual formation to take place is to let your insecurity lead you closer to the Lord. Natural hypersensitivity can become an asset; it makes you aware of your need to be with people and it allows you to be more willing to look at their needs.
  • In this crazy world, there’s an enormous distinction between good times and bad, between sorrow and joy. But in the eyes of God, they’re never separated. Where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is mourning, there is dancing. Where there is poverty, there is the kingdom.
  • If we want other people to give us something that only God can give, we become a demon. We say, “Love me!” and before you know it we become violent and demanding and manipulative. It’s so important that we keep forgiving one another – not once in a while, but every moment of life.
  • I speak of God’s love and grace and redemption and freedom, but when I say “in the context of this community,” it is heard differently. To be with people so obviously broken, so obviously handicapped, and here to discover real joy and peace – that makes the Word of God come alive.
  • We can be unhappy about many things, but jy can still be there… It is important to become aware that at every moment of our life we have an opportunity to choose joy… It is in the choice that our true freedom lies, and that freedom is, in the final analysis, the freedom to love.
  • All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. Let’s live with hope.
  • To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, welcome, to accept.
  • Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on.
  • It is hard to bear with people who stand still along the way, lose heart, and seek their happiness in little pleasures which they cling to…You feel sad about all that self-indulgence and self-satisfaction, for you know with an indestructible certainty that something greater is coming.
  • When people show you their boundaries (“I can’t do this for you”) you feel rejected…part of your struggle is to set boundaries to your own love. Only when you are able to set your own boundaries will you be able to acknowledge, respect and even be grateful for the boundaries of others.
  • A few years ago I met an old professor at the University of Notre Dame. Looking back on his long life of teaching, he said with a funny wrinkle in his eyes: I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work.
  • The Question is not how much are you going to accomplish? Or can you show some results? But are you in love with Jesus? In our world of brokeness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God; a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out and wants to heal.
  • Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.
  • [Praying] demands that you take to the road again and again, leaving your house and looking forward to a new land for yourself and your [fellow human]. This is why praying demands poverty, that is, the readiness to live a life in which you have nothing to lose so that you always begin afresh.
  • Although many, we might even say most, strangers in this world become easily the victim of a fearful hostility, it is possible for men and women and obligatory for Christians to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings.
  • Prayer requires that we stand in God’s presence with open hands, naked and vulnerable, proclaiming to ourselves and to others that without God we can do nothing. As disciples, we find not some but all of our strength, hope, courage, and confidence in God. Therefore, prayer must be our first concern.
  • When we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.
  • We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with him and him alone. Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a singleminded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature.
  • The Church will always be renewed when our attention shifts from ourselves to those who need our care. The blessing of Jesus always comes to us through the poor. The most remarkable experience of those who work with the poor is that, in the end, the poor give more than they receive. They give food to us.
  • Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love?’ These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will be many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.
  • Prayer is not one of the many things the community does. Rather, it is its very beingBut when prayer is no longer its primary concern, and when its many activities are no longer seen and experienced as part of prayer itself, the community quickly degenerates into a club with a common cause but no common vocation.
  • Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not ‘How am I to find God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be found by him?’ The question is not ‘How am I to love God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be loved by God?’
  • Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.
  • I kept running around it in large or small circles, always looking for someone or something able to convince me of my Belovedness. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved”. Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.
  • Solitude is very different from a ‘time-out’ from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.
  • Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.
  • While optimism makes us live as if someday soon things will soon go better for us, hope frees us from the need to predict the future and allows us to live in the present, with the deep trust that God will never leave us alone but will fulfill the deepest desires of our heart… Joy in this perspective is the fruit of hope.
  • It is good to have a prayer on your lips wherever you go. There are so many moments in life when you are free to pray. When you are waiting for the cashier in the supermarket, getting mad because he or she doesn’t hurry, say a little prayer: ‘Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.’ Take that prayer with you wherever you go.
  • Somehow, somewhere, I know that God loves me, even though I do not feel that love as I can feel a human embrace, even though I do not hear a voice as I hear human words…God is greater than my senses, greater than my thoughts, greater than my heart. I do believe that He touches me in places that are unknown even to myself.
  • The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace… We must dare to opt consciously for our chosenness and not allow our emotions, feelings, or passions to seduce us into self-rejection.
  • L’Arche is not a service institution or a group home. It is a community that exists to reveal God’s love. Our people are given to the world to tell others about peace and forgiveness and celebration, to make them aware that in the midst of their brokenness, there is joy; in the midst of their wounded nature, there is healing.
  • The way of Jesus is radically different. It is the way not of upward mobility but of downward mobility.  It is going to the bottom, staying behind the sets and choosing the last place!  Why is the way of Jesus worth choosing?  Because it is the way to the Kingdom, the way Jesus took, and the way that brings everlasting life.
  • When I trust deeply that today God is truly with me and holds me safe in a divine embrace, guiding every one of my steps I can let go of my anxious need to know how tomorrow will look, or what will happen next month or next year. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God’s love within me and around me.
  • Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking our words more seriously and discovering their true selves.
  • We seldom realize fully that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks. We act as if we were simply dropped down in creation and have to decide to entertain ourselves until we die. But we were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was. Once we start living our lives with that conviction, we will soon know what we were sent to do.
  • Indeed, when God’s glory dwells in me, there is nothing too far away, nothing too painful, nothing too strange or too familiar that it cannot contain and renew by its touch. Every time I recognize the glory of God in me and give it space to manifest itself to me, all that is human can be brought there and nothing will be the same again.
  • Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God’s people.
  • Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: ‘You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests’ – the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light.
  • Those who are marginal in the world are central in the Church, and that is how it is supposed to be! Thus we are called as members of the Church to keep going to the margins of our society. The homeless, the starving, parentless children, people with AIDS, our emotionally disturbed brothers and sisters – they require our first attention.
  • You have to dare to live through the pain and struggle. Acknowledge your anguish but do not let it pull you out of yourself. Hold on to your chosen direction, your discipline, your prayer, your work, your guides, and trust that one day love will have conquered enough of you that even the most fearful part will allow love to cast out all fear.
  • Just as people can watch spellbound a circus artist tumbling through the air in a phosphorized costume, so they can listen to a preacher who uses the Word of God to draw attention to himself. But a sensational preacher stimulates the senses and leaves the spirit untouched. Instead of being the way to God, his ‘being different’ gets in the way.
  • When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don’t say to yourself “All is lost. I have to start all over again.” This is not true. What you have gained you have gained….When you return to the the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.
  • Forgiveness means that I continually am willing to forgive the other person for not being God for not fulfilling all my needs. I, too, must ask forgiveness for not being able to fulfill other people’s needs.¶ The interesting thing is that when you can forgive people for not being God, then you can celebrate that they are a reflection of God.
  • In other words, first we must call people to communion with God, to intimacy with God, to a sense of belonging. Most people are lost, confused, alienated. They suffer and struggle immensely in relationships. We have to proclaim loudly and clearly in our actions and in our words that God loves us that we belong to him. That’s a call to the mystical life.
  • This is what life is about. It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made. When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home.
  • Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.
  • When everything is dark, when we are surrounded by despairing voices, when we do not see any exits, then we can find salvation in a remembered love, a love which is not simply a recollection of a bygone past but a living force which sustains us in the present. Through memory, love transcends the limits of time and offers hope at any moment of our lives.
  • People have filled an enormously important role in my life – more than books! For me, it’s not the formal advising or the therapy that meant so much. It was more the fact that someone committed himself or herself to me. They were really interested in my life; they wanted to know what I was doing; they followed me; they dared to confront and challenge me.
  • It’s not easy to sit and trust that in solitude God will speak to you – not as a magical voice but that God will let you know something gradually over the years. And in that word from God you will find the inner place from which to live your life. Solitude is where spiritual ministry begins. That’s where Jesus listened to God. That’s where we listen to God.
  • Suffering invites us to place our hurts in larger hands. In Christ we see God suffering for us. And calling us to share in God’s suffering love for a hurting world. The small and even overpowering pains of our lives are intimately connected with the greater pains of Christ. Our daily sorrows are anchored in a greater sorrow and therefore a larger hope.
  • A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive. When we cling to the results of our actions as our only way of self-identifiction, then we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life.
  • When you are still young and not yet adult, you want to hold everything in your own hands, but if you have your hands open toward prayer, you are able to stretch out your arms and let yourself be led without knowing where. You know only the freedom which God’s breath has brought you will lead to new life, even if the cross is the only sign of it you can see.
  • I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. I am finding that when I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen for me. (Finding My Way Home)
  • The life-converting experience is not the discovery that I have choices to make that determine the way I live out my existence, but the awareness that my that my existence itself is not in the center. Once I ‘know’ God, that is, once I experience God’s love as the love in which all my human experiences are anchored, I can desire only one thing: to be in that love.
  • Jesus was a revolutionary, who did not become an extremist, since he did not offer an ideology, but Himself. He was also a mystic, who did not use his intimate relationship with God to avoid the social evils of his time, but shocked his milieu to the point of being executed as a rebel. In this sense he also remains for nuclear man the way to liberation and freedom.
  • We have probably wondered in our many lonesome moments if there is one corner in this competitive, demanding world where it is safe to be relaxed, to expose ourselves to someone else, and to give unconditionally. It might be very small and hidden, but if this corner exists, it calls for a search through the complexities of our human relationships in order to find it.
  • The great spiritual task facing me is to so fully trust that I belong to God that I can be free in the world–free to speak even when my words are not received; free to act even when my actions are criticized, ridiculed, or considered useless…. I am convinced that I will truly be able to love the world when I fully believe that I am loved far beyond its boundaries.
  • Your body needs to be held and to hold, to be touched and to touch. None of these needs is to be despised, denied, or repressed.  But you have to keep searching for your body’s deeper need, the need for genuine love.  Every time you are able to go beyond the body’s superficial desires for love, you are bringing your body home and moving toward integration and unity.
  • We may be little, insignificant servants in the eyes of a world motivated by efficiency, control and success. But when we realize that God has chosen us from all eternity, sent us into the world as the blessed ones, handed us over to suffering, can’t we, then, also trust that our little lives will multiply themselves and be able to fulfill the needs of countless people?
  • However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own. The question, therefore, is not ‘How can we make community?’ but, ‘How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?’
  • I wrote to my bishop, the Archbishop of Utrecht, Holland, and explained that I wanted not just permission to stay longer, but a mission. He met me at the Trosly L’Arche community and we spent a few days together . . . I wanted him to get to know L’Arche, to understand what I was doing there. Afterward he said, “I understand now, Henri. You have found a home for your self.”
  • Real greatness is often humble, simple, and unobtrusive. It is not easy to trust ourselves and our actions without public affirmation. Some of the greatest works of art and the most important works of peace were created by people who had no need for the limelight. They knew that what they were doing was their call, and they did it with great patience, perseverance, and love.
  • Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.
  • Let’s start with Jesus’ answer: “Look for the kingdom first and all else will come together.” Life is fragmenting, fragmented. I have a thousands things to do, others do too. We can live our life as if the main question is, “How can keep it together? How do I juggle all the balls? But the real question is, “How can I stay home – interiorly home – while I do these many things?
  • Nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not, ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?’ When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.
  • When we no longer pray, no longer listen to the voice of love that speaks to us in the moment, our lives become absurd lives in which we are thrown back and forth between the past and the future. If we could just be, for a few minutes each day, fully where we are, we would indeed discover that we are not alone and that the One who is with us wants only one thing: to give us love
  • In 1984, Jean Vanier invited me me to visit L’Arche community in Trosly, France. He didn’t say “We need a priest” or “We could use you.” He said, “Maybe our community can offer you a home.” I visited several times, then resigned from Harvard and went to live with the community for a year. I loved it! I didn’t have much to do. I wasn’t pastor or anything. I was just a friend of the Community.
  • Where is peace to be found? The answer is surprising but clear. In weakness. Why there? Because in our weakness, our familiar ways of controlling and manipulating our world are being stripped away, and we are forced to let go from doing much, thinking much, and relying on our self-sufficiency. Right there where we are most vulnerable, the peace that is not of this world is mysteriously hidden.
  • Prayer is first of all listening to God. It’s openness. God is always speaking; he’s always doing something. Prayer is to enter into that activity… Convert your thoughts into prayer. As we are involved in unceasing thinking, so we are called to unceasing prayer. The difference is not that prayer is thinking about other things, but that prayer is thinking in dialogue,… a conversation with God.
  • For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that only in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self.
  • Nuclear man is the man who realizes that his creative powers hold the potential for self-destruction. He sees that in this nuclear age vast new industrial complexes enable man to produce in one hour that which he labored over for years in the past, but he also realizes that these same industries have disturbed the ecological balance and, through air and noise pollution, have contaminated his own milieu.
  • Do not despair, thinking that you cannot change yourself after so many years. Simply enter into the presence of Jesus as you are and ask him to give you a fearless heart where he can be with you. You cannot make yourself different. Jesus came to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body. Let him transform you by his love and so enable you to receive his affection in your whole being.
  • Jesus has to be and become ever more the center of my life. It is not enough that Jesus is my teacher, my guide, my source of inspiration.  It is not even enough that he is my companion on they journey, my friend and my brother.  Jesus must become the heart of my heart, the fire of my life, the love of my soul, the bridegroom of my spirit.  He must become my only thought, my only concern, my only desire.
  • Only in the context of the great encounter with Jesus can a real authentic struggle take place. The encounter with Christ does not take place before, after, or beyond the struggle with our false self and its demons.  No, it is precisely in the midst of this struggle that our Lord comes to us and says, as he said to the old man in the story: As soon as you turned to me again, you see I was beside you.’
  • There is a Wonderful story in the Gospel of Luke (6:12-26). Jesus went up to the mountain to pray at night; in the morning he came down from the mountain and called his twelve apostles around him. In the afternoon he went out on the plain with them to preach the Good News and heal the sick. He had communion with God first, then he had community, and then he went out to do the work of God. That’s the order of things.
  • Why is it important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It’s important because it’s the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you ‘my beloved daughter,’ ‘my beloved son,’ ‘my beloved child.’ To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being.
  • Gratitude goes beyond the ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.
  • Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
  • When you’re on the bus or subway or in your car, why busy your mind with all the garbage of advertisements? Why fill your mind with television and radio? Somehow you have to decide what your mind will receive. I don’t mean you shouldn’t ever go to movies or watch television, but control what enters your mind and heart. It’s not just a question of pushing bad things out but also a question of holding on to something really good.
  • People who have known the joy of God point each other to flashes of light here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real Presence of God. They discover that there are people who heal each other’s wounds, forgive each other’s offenses, share their possessions, foster the spirit of community, celebrate the gifts they have received, and live in constant anticipation of the full manifestation of God’s Glory.
  • When you pray, you open yourself to the influence of the power which has revealed itself as love. The power gives you freedom and independence.  Once touched by this power, you are no longer swayed back and forth by the countless opinions, ideas, and feelings which flow through you.  You have found a center for your life that gives you a creative distance so that everything you see, hear, and feel can be tested against the source.
  • Think of each wound as you would of a child who has been hurt by a friend. As long as that child is ranting and raving, trying to get back at the friend, one wound leads to another. But when the child can experience the consoling embrace of a parent, she or he can live through the pain, return to the friend, forgive, and build up a new relationship. Be gentle with yourself, and let your heart be your loving parent as you live your wounds through.
  • To forgive another from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. As long as we do not forgive we pull them with us, or worse, as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies & then define ourselves as being offended & wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.
  • To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit,l from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.
  • Life is precious. Not because it is unchangeable, like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable, like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support. Life and death are connected by vulnerability. The newborn child and the dying elder both remind us of the preciousness of our lives. Let’s not forget the preciousness and vulnerability of life during the times we are powerful, successful, and popular.
  • Jesus does not respond to our worry-filled way of living by saying that we should not be so busy with worldly affairs. He does not try to pull us away from the many events, activities, and people that make up our lives. . . . He asks us to shift the point of gravity, to relocate the center of our attention, to change our priorities. Jesus does not speak about a change of activities, a change in contacts, or even a change of pace. He speaks about a change of heart.
  • Teaching, therefore, asks first of all the creation of a space where students and teachers can enter into a fearless communication with each other and allow their respective life experiences to be their primary and most valuable source of growth and maturation. It asks for a mutual trust in which those who teach and those who want to learn can become present to each other, not as opponents, but as those who share in the same struggle and search for the same truth.
  • Compassion- which means, literally, “to suffer with”- is the way to the truth that we are most ourselves, not when we differ from others, but when we are the same. Indeed the main spiritual question is not, “What difference do you make?” but “What do you have in common?” It is not “excelling” but “serving” that makes us most human. It is not proving ourselves to be better than others but confessing to be just like others that is the way to healing and reconciliation.
  • The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because of your love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. The pain of rejection, absence, and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear.
  • Of one thing I am sure. Complaining is self-perpetuating and counterproductive. Whenever I express my complaints in the hope of evoking pity and receiving the satisfaction I so much desire, the result is always the opposite of what I tried to get. A complainer is hard to live with, and very few people know how to respond to the complaints made by a self-rejecting person. The tragedy is that, often, the complaint, once expressed, leads to that which is most feared: further rejection.
  • The more I think about the human suffering in our world and my desire to offer a healing response, the more I realize how crucial it is not to allow myself to become paralyzed by feelings of helplessness and guilt. More important than ever is to be very faithful to my vocation to do well the few things I am called to do and hold on to the joy and peace they bring me. I must resist the temptation to let the forces of darkness pull me into despair and make me one more of their many victims.
  • …marriage is foremost a vocation. Two people are called together to fulfill a mission that God has given them. Marriage is a spiritual reality. That is to say, a man and a woman come together for life, not just because they experience deep love for each other, but because they believe that God loves each of them with an infinite love and has called them to each other to be living witnesses of that love. To love is to embody God’s infinite love in a faithful communion with another human being.
  • Real grief is not healed by time… if time does anything, it deepens our grief. The longer we live, the more fully we become aware of who she was for us, and the more intimately we experience what her love meant for us. Real, deep love is, as you know, very unobtrusive, seemingly easy and obvious, and so present that we take it for granted. Therefore, it is only in retrospect – or better, in memory – that we fully realize its power and depth. Yes, indeed, love often makes itself visible in pain.
  • When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
  • The mystery of the spiritual life is that Jesus desires to meet us in the seclusion of our own heart, to make his love known to us there, to free us from our fears, and to make our own deepest self known to us Each time you let the love of God penetrate deeper into your heart it leads to a love of ourselves that enables us to give whole-hearted love to our fellow human beings. In the seclusion of our hearts we learn to know the hidden presence of God; and with that spiritual knowledge we can lead a loving life.
  • Friendship is one of the greatest gifts a human being can receive. It is a bond beyond common goals, common interests, or common histories. It is a bond stronger than sexual union can create, deeper than a shared fate can solidify, and even more intimate than the bonds of marriage or community. Friendship is being with the other in joy and sorrow, even when we cannot increase the joy or decrease the sorrow. It is a unity of souls that gives nobility and sincerity to love. Friendship makes all of life shine brightly.
  • But what I would like to say is that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says something else, that says, “You are the beloved and on you my favour rests.”… I want you to hear that voice. It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice. It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle. I want you to gradually hear that voice. We both have to hear that voice and to claim for ourselves that that voice speaks the truth, our truth. It tells us who we are.
  • A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, “Isn’t that beautiful,” or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don’t have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.
  • One of the remarkable qualities of the story is that it creates space. We can dwell in a story, walk around, find our own place. The story confronts but does not oppress; the story inspires but does not manipulate. The story invites us to an encounter, a dialogue, a mutual sharing. As long as we have stories to tell to each other there is hope. As long as we can remind each other of the lives of men and women in whom the love of God becomes manifest, there is reason to move forward to new land in which new stories are hidden.
  • Through compassion it is possible to recognize that the craving for love that people feel resides also in our own hearts, that the cruelty the world knows all too well is also rooted in our own impulses. Through compassion we also sense our hope for forgiveness in our friends’ eyes and our hatred in their bitter mouths. When they kill, we know that we could have done it; when they give life, we know that we can do the same. For a compassionate person nothing human is alien: no joy and no sorrow, no way of living and no way of dying.
  • Jesus’ whole life and mission involve accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God’s love. Here we see what compassion means. It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.
  • One of the experiences of prayer is that it seems that nothing happens. But when you start with it and look back over a long period of prayer, you suddenly realize that something has happened.  What is most close, most intimate, most present, often cannot be experienced directly but only with a certain distance.  When I think that I am only distracted, just wasting my time, something is happening too Immediate for knowing, understanding, and experiencing.  Only in retrospect do I realize that something very important has taken place.
  • A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depressed. A little praise raises my spirits, and a little success excites me. It takes very little to raise me up or thrust me down. Often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of its waves. All the time and energy I spend in keeping some kind of balance and preventing myself from being tipped over and drowning shows my life is mostly a struggle for survival: not a holy struggle, but an anxious struggle resulting from the mistaken idea that it is the world that defines me.
  • Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it. What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.
  • It is this nothingness (in solitude) that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • If you feel a great loneliness and a deep longing for human contact, you have to be extremely discerning…and ask yourself whether this situation is truly God given. Because where God wants you to be, God holds you safe and gives you peace, even when there is pain. To live a disciplined life is to live in such a way that you want only to be where God is with you. The more deeply you live your spiritual life, the easier it will be to discern the difference between living with God and living without God, and the easier it will be to move away from the places where God is no longer with you.

 

Martin Luther (quotes)

  • The devil is God’s ape!
  • Pray, and let God worry.
  • Unthankfulness is theft.
  • Music is the 5th gospel.
  • Reason is the enemy of faith.
  • Forgiveness is God’s command.
  • Faith is the yes of the heart.
  • Animals are footprints of God.
  • Faith is under the left nipple.
  • Nothing is easier than sinning.
  • A unjust law, is no law at all.
  • Each betrayal begins with trust.
  • The cross alone is our theology.
  • Here I stand; I can do no other.
  • Your God is altogether too human.
  • Beer is made by men, wine by God.
  • There is no wisdom save in truth.
  • Thoughts are not subject to duty.
  • Despair makes priests and friars.
  • Your thoughts of God are too human
  • God may delay, but He always comes.
  • I did nothing. The Word did it all.
  • Every evening brings us nearer God.
  • No great saint lived without errors.
  • Nothing good ever comes of violence.
  • We should die relying on grace alone
  • A woman has no control over herself.
  • Christians are rare people on earth.
  • When the Scripture speaks, God speaks
  • Peace if possible, truth at all costs.
  • When schools flourish, all flourishes.
  • Take away the Mass, destroy the Church.
  • I would rather obey than work miracles.
  • Sin is essentially a departure from God.
  • Blood alone moves the wheels of history.
  • Whatever we make the most of is our God.
  • Against the flying ball no valor avails.
  • Whatever you love most, that is your god.
  • I cannot neglect prayer for a single day.
  • We are at fault for not slaying the Jews.
  • The defects of a preacher are soon spied.
  • To pray well is the better half of study.
  • The hair is the richest ornament of women.
  • The devil won’t stay where there is music.
  • To do so no more is the truest repentance.
  • My conscience is captive to the Word of God
  • The fewer the words, the better the prayer.
  • Prayer, study, and suffering make a pastor.
  • Teaching is of more importance than urging.
  • God’s mark is on everything that obeys Him.
  • Prayer is climbing up into the heart of God.
  • A man cannot do good before he is made good.
  • Some people need a fig-leaf on their mouths.
  • The devil doesn’t stay where there is music.
  • A penny saved is better than a penny earned.
  • You have as much laughter as you have faith.
  • Christian life consists of faith and charity
  • I have to hurry all day to get time to pray.
  • A wicked tyrant is better than a wicked war.
  • Stubbornness should have been my middle name.
  • Reason should be destroyed in all Christians.
  • A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God
  • A happy fart never comes from a miserable ass.
  • The Clergy is the greatest hindrance to faith.
  • To pray diligently is more than half the task.
  • All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance.
  • The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.
  • My temptations have been my Masters of Divinity.
  • Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.
  • Make sure to send a lazy man the angel of death.
  • Obedience is the crown and honour of all virtue.
  • Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools.
  • When I am angry I can pray well and preach well.
  • As long as we live there is never enough singing.
  • Faith is the master, and reason the maid-servant.
  • God can be found only in suffering and the cross.
  • The Gospel is nothing less than laughter and joy.
  • How can a reason which hates God be called sound?
  • …Hope endures and overcomes misfortune and evil.
  • The organ in the worship service is a sign of Baal.
  • Brief let me be. The fewer words the better prayer.
  • The fool will upset the whole science of astronomy.
  • Come, let us sing a psalm, and drive away the devil.
  • To progress is always to begin always to begin again
  • The God of this world is riches, pleasure and pride.
  • The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation
  • The heart of religion lies in its personal pronouns.
  • Faith ever says, “If Thou wilt,” not “If Thou canst.
  • Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God.
  • Riches, understanding, beauty, are fair gifts of God.
  • Faith is a living, daring, confidence in God’s grace.
  • Our loving God wills that we eat, drink and be merry.
  • What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?
  • A penny saved is of more value than a penny paid out.
  • I see a word that hates evil more than it loves good.
  • Many pass for saints on earth whose souls are in hell.
  • Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.
  • The Holy Ghost must here be our only master and tutor.
  • Of whom shall I be afraid? One with God is a majority.
  • False preachers are worse than deflowerers of virgins.
  • Great thieves go Scott-free, as the Pope and his crew.
  • God is not hostile to sinners, but only to unbelievers.
  • Demons live in many lands, but particularly in Prussia.
  • Ah, if I could only pray the way that dog looks at meat.
  • The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.
  • I do not admit that my doctrine can be judged by anyone.
  • We should throw the Epistle of James out of this school.
  • To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason.
  • Before every great opportunity God gave me a great trial.
  • There are two days in my calendar: This day and that Day.
  • One Book is enough, but a thousand books is not too many!
  • The law works fear and wrath; grace works hope and mercy.
  • The law of God cannot be fulfilled by external obedience.
  • No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.
  • The irony is I stopped going to church a few weeks later.
  • God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.
  • Nothing in the world causes so much misery as uncertainty.
  • In this Revolution no plans have been written for retreat.
  • Christ is the master; the Scriptures are only the servant.
  • Divinity consists in use and practice, not in speculation.
  • The church converteth the whole world by blood and prayer.
  • Women should remain at home, sit still, and bear children.
  • Scripture is the manger in which we find the Christ child.
  • I more fear what is within me than what comes from without.
  • Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scriptures.
  • Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise.
  • Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God.
  • Though in midst of life we be Snares of death surround us.
  • If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.
  • Remove Christ from the Scriptures and there is nothing left.
  • We are but the instruments or assistants, by whom God works.
  • Without images we can neither think nor understand anything.
  • Christ desires nothing more of us than that we speak of him.
  • All who call on God in true faith…will certainly be heard.
  • Mary was not only holy. She was also the mother of the Lord.
  • I know not the way God leads me, but well do I know my Guide.
  • You should point to the whole man Jesus and say, That is God.
  • All we who believe on Christ are kings and priests in Christ.
  • Now just behold these miserable, blind, and senseless people.
  • The Law is for the proud and the Gospel for the brokenhearted.
  • If a man serves not God only, then surely he serves the devil.
  • Can he who understands not God’s word, understand God’s works?
  • The Holy Spirit has a way of His own to say much in few words.
  • Every book is a great action and every great action is a book!
  • It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.
  • No other God have I but thee, born in a manger, died on a tree.
  • This is true faith, a living confidence in the goodness of God.
  • One drop of Christ’s blood is worth more than heaven and earth.
  • Here again you confuse and mix everything up in your usual way.
  • The gospel cannot be truly preached without offense and tumult.
  • A safe stronghold our God is still. A trusty shield and weapon.
  • Pure Christian love is not derived from the merit of the object.
  • Let Christ’s righteousness and grace, not yours, be your refuge.
  • This error of free will is a special doctrine of the Antichrist.
  • Strange, though I am saved from sin, I am not saved from sinning.
  • It is neither safe nor prudent to do anything against conscience.
  • If I am not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.
  • To turn one’s eyes away from Jesus means to turn them to the Law.
  • Christ wants to slay reason and subdue the arrogance of the Jews.
  • For what God gives I thank indeed; What He withholds I do not need
  • what is sought by means of free choice is to make room for merits.
  • There never yet have been, nor are there now, too many good books.
  • The man who has the will to undergo all labor may win to any good.
  • Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works.
  • God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is.
  • The more a person loves, the closer he approaches the image of God.
  • I had rather be in hell with Christ, than be in heaven without him.
  • I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist.
  • Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.
  • Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.
  • Our Lord God doesn’t do great things except by violence, as they say
  • The quest for glory can never be satisfied, it must be extinguished.
  • We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it every day.
  • We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.
  • A lie is like a snow-ball; the longer it is rolled, the larger it is.
  • I should have no compassion on these witches; I should burn them all.
  • May the Lord fill you with His blessings and with hatred of the Pope.
  • Blessed is he who submits to the will of God; he can never be unhappy.
  • I have so many things to do today, I dare not ignore my time with God.
  • God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all.
  • Those with prodigious skill in music are better suited for all things.
  • Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.
  • Show me where a man spends his time & money, and I’ll show you his god.
  • Whoever does not know God hidden in suffering does not know God at all.
  • The Devil fears the word of God, He can’t bite it; it breaks his teeth.
  • Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason.
  • The devil should not be allowed to keep all the best tunes for himself.
  • They are trying to make me into a fixed star. I am an irregular planet.
  • There are only two days on my calendar… today and the day of judgment
  • I have so much to do today, I’ll need to spend another hour on my knees.
  • A lie is like a snowball: the further you roll it the bigger it becomes.
  • War for the sake of war is sin, but war for the sake of defense is duty.
  • I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.
  • If you could understand a single grain of wheat you would die of wonder.
  • After theology I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.
  • When the gospel flourishes in the church, everything flourishes with it.
  • For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.
  • The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes.
  • The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart
  • We find no rest for our weary bones unless we cling to the word of grace.
  • Prayer is a powerful thing; for God has bound and tied himself thereunto.
  • We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force.
  • No man understands the Scriptures, unless he be acquainted with the Cross.
  • He who loves not women, wine, and song Remains a fool his whole life long.
  • Drive them [Jews] like mad dogs from our land… let not one of them live.
  • If we esteem them too highly, good works can become the greatest idolatry.
  • A simple man with Scripture has more authority than the Pope or a council.
  • Is it not wonderful news to believe that salvation lies outside ourselves?
  • The only saving faith is that which casts itself on God for life or death.
  • I must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain.
  • Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten
  • Whoever wishes to be a Christian, let him pluck out the eyes of his reason.
  • They gave our Master a crown of thorns, why do we hope for a crown of roses?
  • Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things that we do not see.
  • A good servant is a real godsend, but truly this is a rare bird in the land.
  • It is not the imitation that makes sons; it is sonship that makes imitators.
  • I’d rather see heaven crash from the skies than one grain of God’s truth die.
  • Faith is the ‘yes’ of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.
  • It’s not what I don’t know that bothers me – it’s what I do know and don’t do!
  • Religion is not ‘doctrinal knowledge,’ but wisdom born of personal experience.
  • We are nothing with all our gifts be they ever so great, except God assist us.
  • It is God who creates, effects, and preserves all things through his almighty.
  • I have so much to do today that I must set apart more time than usual to pray.
  • A gospel that doesn’t deal with the issues of the day is not the gospel at all.
  • You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say
  • Undoubtedly they do more and viler things than those which we know and discover
  • All creatures are merely veils under which God hides Himself and deals with us.
  • Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness.
  • The Lord commonly gives riches to foolish people, to whom he gives nothing else.
  • Let him who wants a true church cling to the Word by which everything is upheld.
  • After the devil himself, there is no worse folk than the pope and his followers.
  • So preach that those who do not fall out with their sins may fall out with thee.
  • What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good.
  • If ever the church is to flourish again, one must begin by instructing the young.
  • Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a begging.
  • Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.
  • Earth has nothing more tender than a woman’s heart when it is the abode of piety.
  • I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kulenberg did.
  • A Christian is never in a state of completion but always in a process of becoming.
  • A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it
  • Grace was not given to heal the spiritually sick but to decorate spiritual heroes!
  • All the cunning of the devil is exercised in trying to tear us away from the word.
  • There is no gown or garment that worse becomes a woman than when she will be wise.
  • The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,  His Kingdom is forever.
  • Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.
  • If I could today become king or emperor, I would not give up my office as preacher.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…their homes also should be razed and destroyed.
  • Our God is the God from whom cometh salvation: God is the Lord by who escape death.
  • The conscience is eternal and never dies. Peace if possible, but truth at any rate.
  • The devil flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God.
  • A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.
  • Medicine makes people ill, mathematics make them sad and theology makes them sinful.
  • By faith we began, by hope we continue, and by revelation we shall obtain the whole.
  • Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.
  • If I could believe that God was not angry with me, I would stand on my head for joy.
  • Personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist.
  • It cannot, indeed, be denied, that a good man is more worthy of love than a bad one.
  • God is a blank sheet upon which nothing is found but what you yourself have written.
  • The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing.
  • The saved are singled out not by their own merits, but by the grace of the Mediator.
  • Nothing is more beautiful in the eyes of God than a soul that loves to hear His Word.
  • Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed so is the body.
  • In a mouse we admire God’s creation and craft work. The same may be said about flies.
  • The gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough.
  • Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.
  • God is entirely and personally present in the wilderness, in the garden, in the field.
  • I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture.
  • Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control.
  • Wealth is the smallest thing on earth, the least gift that God has bestowed on mankind.
  • Mankind has a free will; but it is free to milk cows and to build houses, nothing more.
  • I’ve got so much work to do today, I’d better spend two hours in prayer instead of one.
  • If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them.
  • To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.
  • Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.
  • Truly, if faith is there, the believer cannot hold back… he breaks out into good works.
  • Let us keep to Christ, and cling to Him, and hang on Him, so that no power can remove us.
  • Jews and papists are ungodly wretches; they are two stockings made of one piece of cloth.
  • Thus every matter, if it is to be done well, calls for the attention of the whole person.
  • Let your holy Angel have charge concerning us, that the wicked one have no power over us.
  • It is better to think of church in the ale-house than to think of the ale-house in church.
  • The authority of Scripture is greater than the comprehension of the whole of man’s reason.
  • True faith will no more fail to produce [good works] than the sun can cease to give light.
  • To have peace and love in marriage is a gift which is next to the knowledge of the Gospel.
  • Works indeed are good, and God strictly requires them of us, but they do not make us holy.
  • What would it matter if, for the sake of the Christian Church, one were to tell a big lie?
  • Sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
  • What do we older folks live for if not for the care of the young, to teach and train them?
  • Every week I preach justification by faith to my people, because every week they forget it.
  • Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God.
  • How is God’s name hallowed among us? When both our doctrine and living are truly Christian.
  • Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things.
  • The curses of the ungodly are more pleasing to God’s ears than the hallelujahs of the pious
  • Pray like it all depends on God, then when you are done, go work like it all depends on you.
  • If you see yourself as a “little sinner” you will inevitably see Jesus as a “little savior”.
  • Our works do not generate righteousness, rather our righteousness in Christ generates works.
  • The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God’s law and to show the nature of sin.
  • Married love burns as fire, and seeks nothing more than the mate. It says, “I want only you”
  • When Satan tells me I am a sinner he comforts me immeasurably, since Christ died for sinners.
  • Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
  • Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
  • Faith is a free surrenderand a joyous wager on the unseen, unknown, untested goodness of God.
  • Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.
  • Whoever does not accept my teaching may not be saved – for it is God’s teaching and not mine.
  • If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.
  • I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
  • Nothing is more sweet than harmony in marriage, and nothing more distressing than dissension.
  • Sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive.
  • It is a tremendously hard thing to pray aright, yea, it is verily the science of all sciences.
  • Be a sinner and sinÔªøÔªø boldly,Ôªø but believe andÔªøÔªø rejoice in Christ even more boldly.
  • The will of man without grace is not free, but is enslaved, and that too with its own consent.
  • A man must completely despair of himself in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ.
  • Holy Christendom has, in my judgment, no better teacher after the apostles than St. Augustine.
  • Bewilderment is the true comprehension. Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge.
  • We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished.
  • Who waits until circumstances completely favor his undertaking, will never accomplish anything.
  • God creates out of nothing. Therefore, until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.
  • Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God, your functional savior.
  • The winds are nothing else but good or bad spirits. Hark! how the Devil is puffing and blowing.
  • Anything that one imagines of God apart from Christ is only useless thinking and vain idolatry.
  • The truth is mightier than eloquence, the Spirit greater than genius, faith more than education.
  • It is pleasing to the dear God whenever thou rejoicest or laughest from the bottom of thy heart.
  • We know, on the authority of Moses, that longer than six thousand years the world did not exist.
  • I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing. The Word of God did it all.
  • The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.
  • God has set the type of marriage through creation. Each creature seeks its perfection in another.
  • It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last of the evening.
  • I have done nothing; the Word has done and accomplished everything…. I let the Word do its work!
  • Our bodies are always exposed to Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but Devil’s spells.
  • The bible is the cradle that holds the Christ, without him it is nothing more than wood and straw.
  • Whenever the word is rightly preached, and attentively heard, it never fails to bring forth fruit.
  • I compare it with a lie, which like to a snowball, the longer it is rolled the greater it becomes.
  • I would not have preachers torment their hearers, and detain them with long and tedious preaching.
  • That the Creator himself comes to us and becomes our ransom – this is the reason for our rejoicing.
  • At Sussen, the Devil carried off, last Good Friday, three grooms who had devoted themselves to him.
  • Therefore we Christians, in turn, are obliged not to tolerate their wanton and conscious blasphemy.
  • Christians fight best on their knees. Whatever good may be done is done and brought about by prayer.
  • Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.
  • The whole Turkish empire is nothing else but a crust cast by Heaven’s great Housekeeper to His dogs.
  • God created the world out of nothing, and so long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.
  • The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.
  • A theologian is born by living, nay dying and being damned, not by thinking, reading, or speculating.
  • True Christian love is not derived from things without, but floweth from the heart, as from a spring.
  • Prayer is a very precious medicine, one that certainly helps and never fails, if you will only use it.
  • Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.
  • Whoever sees Christ as a mirror of the Father’s heart, actually walks through the world with new eyes.
  • I maintain that some Jew wrote it who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any.
  • The bible is a remarkable fountain: the more one draws and drinks of it, the more it stimulates thirst.
  • There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
  • Everything is from God himself, both commandment and fulfillment. He alone commands; he alone fulfills.
  • We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old.
  • Not only the words (vocabula) which the Holy Spirit and Scripture use are divine, but also the phrasing
  • As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars.
  • Many demons are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark poolly places ready to hurt…people.
  • I can’t keep the sparrows from flying around my head, but I can keep them from making a nest in my hair.
  • I put the Scriptures above all the sayings of the fathers, angels, men and devils. Here I take my stand.
  • Human reason is like a drunken man on horseback; set it up on one side, and it tumbles over on the other
  • Adam and Eve derived the fullness of joy and bliss from their contemplation of all the animal creatures.
  • When I was a child there were many witches, and they bewitched both cattle and men, especially children.
  • God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
  • What man, if he were God, would humble himself to lie in the feedbox of a donkey or to hang upon a cross?
  • Those who lapse from the Gospel to the Law are no better off than those who lapse from grace to idolatry.
  • I am so busy now that if I did not spend three hours each day in prayer, I could not get through the day.
  • We must beat the Gospel into peoples’ heads incessantly because it’s the one thing we’re prone to forget.
  • Ambition begat simony; simony begat the pope and his brethren, about the time of the Babylonish captivity
  • If it were art to overcome heresy with fire, the executioners would be the most learned doctors on earth.
  • We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
  • We do not become righteous by doing righteous deed but, having been made righteous, we do righteous deeds.
  • When God creates faith in a man, that is as great a work as if He created heaven and earth all over again.
  • All laws and philosophy merely tell us what should be done, but they do not provide the strength to do it.
  • To worship God in spirit is the service and homage of the heart, and implies fear of God and trust in Him.
  • If I had power over the Jews, as our princes and cities have, I would deal severely with their lying mouth
  • For they who think they make an end of temptation by yeilding to it, only set themselves on fire the more.
  • I have such hatred of divorce that I prefer bigamy to divorce. Anyway, I think we should see other people.
  • And I myself, in Rome, heard it said openly in the streets, “If there is a hell, then Rome is built on it.
  • God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.
  • If the earth is fit for laughter then surely heaven is filled with it. Heaven is the birthplace of laughter.
  • Whoever has skill in music is of good temperament and fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools.
  • People must have righteous principals in the first, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.
  • God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers-not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful.
  • Rough, boisterous, stormy and altogether warlike, I am born to fight against innumerable monsters and devils.
  • My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.
  • It is a miracle how God has so long preserved His Book! How great and glorious it is to have the Word of God!
  • I have grounded my preaching upon the literal word; he that pleases may follow me; he that will not may stay.
  • To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer.
  • A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing: our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
  • The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that he sunk himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.
  • Marriage is a civic matter. It is really not, together with all its circumstances, the business of the church.
  • Human nature is like a drunk peasant. Lift him into the saddle on one side, over he topples on the other side.
  • It is not I that smite, stab, and slay, but God and my prince, for my hand and my body are now their servants.
  • I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.
  • The certain mark by which a Christian community can be recognized is the preaching of the gospel in its purity.
  • We must not regard what or how the world esteems us, so we have the Word pure, and are certain of our doctrine.
  • He that has but one word of God before him, and out of that word cannot make a sermon, can never be a preacher.
  • Whoso hearkens not to God’s voice, is an idolator, though he perform the highest and most heavy service of God.
  • As for the demented, I hold it certain that all beings deprived of reason are thus afflicted only by the Devil.
  • When asked what he would do if he knew the world would end tomorrow, Martin Luther said, “I would plant a tree.”
  • Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.
  • God freely forgives us on account of Christnot on account of our works, contrition, confession, or satisfactions.
  • Put thou thy trust in God; In duty’s path go on; Fix on His word thy steadfast eye; So shall thy work be done.
  • God’s love does not love that which is worthy of being loved, but it creates that which is worthy of being loved.
  • An angel is a spiritual creature created by God without a body, for the service of Christendom and of the church.
  • In our sad condition our only consolation is the expectancy of another life. Here below all is incomprehensible.
  • Always preach in such a way that if the people listening do not come to hate their sin, they will instead hate you
  • It would be a good thing if young people were wise and old people were strong, but God has arranged things better.
  • To preach Christ is to feed the soul, to justify it, to set it free, and to save it, if it believes the preaching.
  • Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have always received more than I asked for. God may delay, but He always comes.
  • The soul can do without everything except the word of God, without which none at all of its wants are provided for.
  • so it is with human reason, which strives not against faith, when enlightened, but rather furthers and advances it.
  • None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience.
  • It is impossible to separate works from faith- yea, just as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews.
  • This is the reason why our Theology is certain: because it seizes us from ourselves and places us outside ourselves.
  • Twas a special gift of God that speech was given to mankind; for through the Word, and not by force, wisdom governs.
  • The whole being of any Christian is faith and love. Faith brings the person to God, love brings the person to people.
  • There are three conversions necessary (for the Christian life): the conversion of the heart, the mind, and the purse.
  • When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  • Every doer of the law and every moral worker is accursed, for he walketh in the presumption of his own righteousness.
  • If God were willing to sell His grace, we would accept it more quickly and gladly than when He offers it for nothing.
  • In a delightful garden, sowing, planting or digging are not hardship but are done with a zeal and a certain pleasure.
  • The hair is the finest ornament women have. Of old, virgins used to wear it loose, except when they were in mourning.
  • People give ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus]…this fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy
  • The slender capacity of man’s heart cannot comprehend the unfathomable depth and burning zeal of God’s love toward us.
  • As is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.
  • To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.
  • Faith cannot be inherited or gained by being baptized into a Church. Faith is a matter between the individual and God.
  • Without armaments peace cannot be kept; wars are waged not only to repel injustice but also to establish a firm peace.
  • Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?
  • I cannot believe that my illness is natural. I suspect Satan, and therefore I am the more inclined to take it lightly.
  • Spare the rod and spoil the child – that is true. But, beside the rod, keep an apple to give him when he has done well.
  • Thus, dear friends, I have said it clearly enough, and I believe you ought to understand it and not make liberty a law.
  • True humility does not know that it is humble. If it did, it would be proud from the contemplation of so fine a virtue.
  • Leave the ass burdened with laws behind in the valley. But your conscience, let it ascend with Isaac into the mountain.
  • Nothing is more unbecoming to a teacher of the Word than flippancy. He must be serious and should not act like a clown.
  • Let a man be endowed with ten virtues and have but one fault and the one fault will eclipse and darken all the virtues.
  • One learns more of Christ in being married and rearing children than in several lifetimes spent in study in a monastery.
  • Though we be active in the battle, if we are not fighting where the battle is the hottest, we are traitors to the cause.
  • The Bible is the book that makes fools of the wise of this world; it is only understood by the plain and simple hearted.
  • Men are so delving into the mysteries of things that today a boy of twenty knows more than twenty doctors formerly knew.
  • Adam was created, as it were, intoxicated with rejoicing toward God and was delighted also with all the other creatures.
  • Christianity can be summed up in the two terms faith and love…receiving from above [faith] and giving out below [love].
  • God works by contraries so that a man feels himself to be lost in the very moment when he is on the point of being saved.
  • An earthly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons. Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects.
  • Feelings come, and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving. My warrant is the Word of God, naught else is worth believing.
  • If you young fellows were wise, the devil couldn’t do anything to you, but since you aren’t wise, you need us who are old.
  • Should anyone knock at my heart and say, ‘Who lives here?’ I should reply, ‘Not Martin Luther, but the Lord Jesus Christ.’
  • [The Psalms are] a Little Bible, wherein everything contained in the entire Bible is beautifully and briefly comprehended.
  • Dearest Jesus, holy child, make thee a bed, soft, undefiled, within my heart, that it may be a quiet chamber kept for thee.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings…are to be taken from them.
  • So great are the effectiveness and power of the Word of God that the more it is persecuted the more it flourishes and grows.
  • Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.
  • The forces of good and evil are working within and around me, I must choose, and in a free will universe I do have a choice.
  • Sin cannot tear you away from him [Christ] even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders.
  • I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word, till soul and body sever. For though all things pass away, His Word shall stand forever.
  • Someone asked Luther, “Do you feel that you’ve been forgiven?” He answered, “No, but I’m as sure As there’s a God in Heaven!”
  • Lord God…use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.
  • I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
  • Father and Mother are apostles, bishops and priests to their children, for it is they who make them acquainted with the gospel.
  • All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself
  • The Holy Ghost has called me by the gospel and illuminated me with his gifts and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith.
  • God doesn’t slack his promises because of our sins or hasten them because of our righteousness. He pays no attention to either.
  • You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.
  • Love is an image of God, and not a lifeless image, but the living essence of the divine nature which beams full of all goodness.
  • If you want to interpret well and confidently, set Christ before you, for He is the man to whom it all applies, every bit of it.
  • Either God must be unjust, or you, Jews, wicked and ungodly. You have been, about fifteen hundred years, a race rejected of God.
  • Christ designed that the day of his coming should be hid from us, that being in suspense, we might be as it were upon the watch.
  • If men only believe enough in Christ they can commit adultery and murder a thousand times a day without periling their salvation.
  • You may as well quit reading and hearing the Word of God, and give it to the devil, if you do not desire to live according to it.
  • The Devil has a great advantage against us inasmuch as he has a strong bastion and bulwark against us in our own flesh and blood.
  • Faith looks to the word and the promise; that is, to the truth. But hope looks to that which the word has promised, to the gift .
  • Some plague the people with too long sermons; for the faculty of listening is a tender thing, and soon becomes weary and satiated.
  • When God wants to speak and deal with us, he does not avail himself of an angel but of parents, or the pastor, or of our neighbor.
  • God uses lust to impel men to marry, ambition to office, avarice to earning, and fear to faith. God led me like an old blind goat.
  • We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman.
  • God does not give grace freely in the sense that He will demand no satisfaction, but He gave Christ to be the satisfaction for us.
  • We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.
  • When questioned whether the Blessed will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest tortured answers, “Not in the least.”
  • We need not invite the Devil to our table; he is too ready to come without being asked. The air all about us is filled with demons.
  • Whenever the true message of the cross is abolished, the anger of hypocrites and heretics eases and all things seem to be at peace.
  • Faith does not inquire whether there are good works to be done, but even before asking questions, faith has done the works already.
  • He that will maintain that man’s free will is able to do or work anything in spiritual cases, be they never so small, denies Christ.
  • Godly people are waiting for the Lord; therefore they live, therefore they are saved, therefore they receive what has been promised.
  • We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs ‘down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’
  • When God contemplates some great work, He begins it by the hand of some poor, weak, human creature, to whom He afterwards gives aid.
  • The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.
  • Singing has nothing to do with the affairs of this world: it is not for the law. Singers are merry, and free from sorrows and cares.
  • Whoever teaches differently from what I have taught, or whoever condemns me therein, he condemns God and must remain a child of hell.
  • I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joy and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.
  • Two devils rose from the water, and flew off through the air, crying, ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ and turning one over another, in sportive mockery.
  • Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times.
  • A preacher should have the skill to teach the unlearned simply roundly, and plainly; for teaching is of more importance than exhorting.
  • It is impossible for a man to be a Christian without having Christ; and if he has Christ he has at the same time all that is in Christ.
  • Grace remits sin, and peace quiets the conscience. Sin and conscience torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever.
  • He who hears this name [God] from a Jew must inform the authorities, or else throw sow dung at him when he sees him and chase him away.
  • For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.
  • All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.
  • Of all deadly sins, this is the most deadly, namely, that any one should think he is not guilty of a damnable and deadly sin before God.
  • The fact that the biblical book Hebrews is not an epistle of St Paul, or of any other apostle, is proved by what it says in chapter two.
  • Jesus Christ never died for our good works. They were not worth dying for. But he gave himself for our sins, according to the Scriptures.
  • Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable.
  • Glory to God in highest heaven, Who unto man His Son hath given;  While angels sing with tender mirth,  A glad new year to all the earth.
  • There is no rustic so rude but that, if he dreams or fancies anything, it must be the whisper of the Holy Ghost, and he himself a prophet.
  • Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!
  • Now the Church is not wood and stone, but the company of believing people; one must hold to them, and see how they believe, live and teach.
  • Angels are our true and trusty servants, performing offices and works that one poor miserable mendicant would be ashamed to do for another.
  • The article of justification is fragile. Not in itself, of course, but in us. I know how quickly a person can forfeit the joy of the Gospel.
  • Music must be supported by the king and the princes, for the maintenance of the arts is their duty no less than the maintenance of the laws.
  • God’s entire divine nature is wholly and entirely in all creatures, more deeply, more inwardly, more present than the creature is to itself.
  • And though this world with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
  • Some will object that the Law is divine and holy. Let it be divine and holy. The Law has no right to tell me that I must be justified by it.
  • When Jesus Christ utters a word, He opens His mouth so wide that it embraces all Heaven and earth, even though that word be but in a whisper.
  • The Holy Ghost is not a Sceptic, and He has not inscribed in our hearts uncertain opinions, but, rather, affirmations of the strongest sorts.
  • In many countries there are particular places to which devils more especially resort. In Prussia there is an infinite number of evil spirits.
  • The world says of marriage: A short joy and a long displeasure. But he who understands it finds in it delight, love, and joy without ceasing.
  • Count it one of the highest virtues upon earth to educate faithfully the children of others, which so few, and scarcely any, do by their own.
  • People go through three conversions: The conversion of their head, their heart, and their pocketbook. Unfortunately, not all at the same time.
  • He who receives a sacrament does not perform a good work; he receives a benefit. In the mass we give Christ nothing; we only receive from Him.
  • How often have not the demons called ‘Nix,’ drawn women and girls into the water, and there had commerce with them, with fearful consequences.
  • The inner man cannot be forced to do out of his own free will, what he should do, except the grace of God change the heart and make it willing.
  • Good works are the seals and proofs of faith; for even as a letter must have a seal to strengthen the same, even so faith must have good works.
  • In the Church, great wonders daily occur, such as the forgiveness of sins, triumph over death . . . the gift of righteousness and eternal life.
  • A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject of all, subject to all.
  • The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.
  • What can only be taught by the rod and with blows will not lead to much good; they will not remain pious any longer than the rod is behind them.
  • A preacher must be both soldier and shepherd. He must nourish, defend, and teach; he must have teeth in his mouth, and be able to bite and fight.
  • The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.
  • I pray that God would open the mouth in me and the heart in you and that he would be the teacher in the midst of us who may in us speak and hear.
  • The Devil…clutched hold of the miserable young man…and flew off with him through the ceiling, since which time nothing has been heard of him.
  • Wer nicht liebt Wein,Weib und Gesang, Der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang. Who loves not woman, wine and song Remains a fool his whole life long.
  • women and girls begin to bare themselves behind and in front, and there is nobody to punish and hold in check, and besides, God’s word is mocked.
  • God delights in our temptations and yet hates them. He delights in them when they drive us to prayer; he hates them when they drive us to despair.
  • Music is a fair and glorious gift of God. I am strongly persuaded that after theology, there is no art which can be placed on the level with music.
  • The worship of God….should be free at table, in private rooms, downstairs, upstairs, at home, abroad, in all places, by all peoples, at all times
  • It is the most ungodly and dangerous business to abandon the certain and revealed will of God in order to search in to the hidden mysteries of God.
  • Good news from heaven the angels bring, Glad tidings to the earth they sing: To us this day a child is given, To crown us with the joy of heaven.
  • God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing
  • Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. No merchant or tradesman would set himself to work if he did not hope to reap benefit thereby.
  • A great variety of reading confuses and does not teach. It makes the student like a man who dwells everywhere and, therefore, nowhere in particular.
  • He [Christ] died for me. He made His righteousness mine and made my sin His own; and if He made my sin His own, then I do not have it, and I am free.
  • The will of man without the grace of God is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good.
  • I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.
  • Let us not flutter too high, but remain by the manger and the swaddling clothes of Christ, ‘in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.’
  • There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason…Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
  • The church that preaches the gospel in all of its fullness, except as it applies to the great social ills of the day, is failing to preach the gospel.
  • We ought first to know that there are no good works except those which God has commanded, even as there is no sin except that which God has forbidden.
  • When God works in us, the will, being changed and sweetly breathed upon by the Spirit of God, desires and acts, not from compulsion, but responsively.
  • War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity, it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.
  • I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell.
  • We ought not to criticize, explain, or judge the Scriptures by our mere reason, but diligently, with prayer, meditate thereon, and seek their meaning.
  • Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him. In Hebrew, “Be silent in God, and let Him mould thee.” Keep still, and He will mould thee to the right shape.
  • If by any effort of reason I could conceive how God, Who shows so much anger and iniquity, could be merciful and just, there would be no need of faith.
  • Christ is no Moses, no exactor, no giver of laws, but a giver of grace, a Savior; he is infinite mercy and goodness, freely and bountifully given to us.
  • If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues which deal specifically with your time, you are not preaching the gospel at all.
  • If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country.
  • I shall never be a heretic; I may err in dispute, but I do not wish to decide anything finally; on the other hand, I am not bound by the opinions of men.
  • I have before me God’s Word which cannot fail, nor can the gates of hell prevail against it; thereby will I remain, though the whole world be against me.
  • If God is to create or to preserve a creature, God must be present and must make and preserve God’s creation both in its innermost and outermost aspects.
  • The fool will upset the whole science of astronomy, but as the Holy Scripture shows, it was the sun and not the earth which Joshua ordered to stand still.
  • A Christian is free and independent in every respect, a bond servant to none. A Christian is a dutiful servant in every respect, owing a duty to everyone.
  • There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.
  • It is the nature of all hypocrites and false prophets to create a conscience where there is none, and to cause conscience to disappear where it does exist.
  • I have undertaken to translate the Bible into German. This was good for me; otherwise I might have died in the mistaken notion that I was a learned fellow.
  • Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.
  • If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.
  • He who loses sight of the word of God, falls into despair; the voice of heaven no longer sustains him; he follows only the disorderly tendency of his heart.
  • Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the way of the Sacramentarians, nor sat in the seat of the Zwinglians, nor followed the Council of the Zurichers.
  • The sin underneath all our sins is to trust the lie of the serpent that we cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into our own hands
  • One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ.
  • For from the error of not knowing, or understanding, what sin is, there necessarily arises another error, that people cannot know or understand what grace is.
  • Let every man recognize what he is, and be certain that we are all equally priests, that is, we have the same power in the word and in any sacrament whatever.
  • Snakes and monkeys are subjected to the demon more than other animals. Satan lives in them and possesses them. He uses them to deceive men and to injure them.
  • God wants to be praised for nourishing and cherishing, for He cherishes all creatures. He is not only the Creator, but He is also the Sustainer and Nourisher.
  • Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?
  • Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brethren.
  • Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
  • The two chief things are faith and love. Faith receives the good; love gives the good. Faith offers us God as our own; love gives us to our neighbor as his own.
  • Exhort your household to learn [the Ten Commandments] word for word, that they should obey God. ¶For if you teach and urge your families things will go forward.
  • Astrology is framed by the devil, to the end people may be scared from entering into the state of matrimony, and from every divine and human office and calling.
  • what the situation will be like in the world before the Lord returns, namely, Christ will be despised, and the preachers of the Gospel will be regarded as fools.
  • Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
  • Maternity is a glorious thing, since all mankind has been conceived, born, and nourished of women. All human laws should encourage the multiplication of families.
  • You parents can provide no better gift for your children than an education in the liberal arts. House and home burn down, but an education is easy to carry along.
  • I often laugh at Satan, and there is nothing that makes him so angry as when I attack him to his face, and tell him that through God I am more than a match for him
  • Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?
  • The Holy Spirit is no Skeptic, & the things He has written in our hearts are not doubts or opinions, but assertions – surer & more certain than sense & life itself.
  • Next to theology I give to music the highest place and honor. And we see how David and all the saints have wrought their godly thoughts into verse, rhyme, and song.
  • If the heart has been reformed by the spirit, it makes use of both the useful and delightful things created and given by God in a holy manner and with thanksgiving.
  • He who is well acquainted with the text of scripture, is a distinguished theologian. For a Bible passage or text is of more value than the comments of four authors.
  • Our Lord God doeth work like a printer who setteth the letters backwards; we see and feel well his setting, but we shall see the print yonder – in the life to come.
  • from you, my dear Erasmus, let me obtain this request, that just as I bear with your ignorance in these matters, so you in turn will bear with my lack of eloquence.
  • We refuse to have our conscience bound by any work or law, so that by doing this or that we should be righteous, or leaving this or that undone we should be damned.
  • Isaiah calls the Church barren because her children are born without effort by the Word of faith through the Spirit of God. It is a matter of birth, not of exertion.
  • That which the sober man keeps in his breast, the drunken man lets out at the lips. Astute people, when they want to ascertain a man’s true character, make him drunk.
  • If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.
  • Nothing on earth is so well-suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music.
  • Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.
  • No one may forsake their neighbors when they are in trouble. Everybody is under obligation to help and support their neighbors as they would themselves like to be helped.
  • What is it to serve God and to do His will? Nothing else than to show mercy to our neighbor. For it is our own neighbor who needs our service; God in heaven needs it not.
  • When we hear that Christ was made a curse for us, let us believe it with joy and assurance. By faith Christ changes places with us. He gets our sins, we get His holiness.
  • To comfort a sorrowful conscience is much better than to possess many kngdoms; yet the world regards it not; nay, condemns it, calling us rebels, dissturbers of the peace.
  • I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.
  • It seems to me that the most delightful walk of life is to be found in a household of moderate means, to live there with an obliging spouse and to be satisfied with little.
  • If I had to baptise a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe, hang a stone around his neck and push him over with the words ‘I baptise thee in the name of Abraham’.
  • You should be certain that angels are protecting you when you go to sleep. Yea, that they are protecting you also in all your business, whether you enter or leave your home.
  • When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.
  • Those who love music are gentle and honest in their tempers. I always loved music, and would not, for a great matter, be without the little skill which I possess in the art.
  • It is impossible for one man both to labor day and night to get a living, and at the same time give himself to the study of sacred learning as the preaching office requires.
  • The Mass is the greatest blasphemy of God, and the highest idolatry upon earth, an abomination the like of which has never been in Christendom since the time of the Apostles.
  • The Pope is a mere tormentor of conscience. The assembly of his greased and religious crew in praying was altogether like the croaking of frogs, which edified nothing at all.
  • Oh, what thoughts man might have had about the fact that God is in all creatures, and so might have reflected on the power and the wisdom of God in even the smallest flowers!
  • Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
  • Even like as St. Paul was converted, just so are all others converted; for we all resist God, but the Holy Ghost draws the will of mankind, when he pleases, through preaching.
  • The state of matrimony is the chief in the world after religion; but people shun it because of its inconveniences, like one who, running out of the rain, falls into the river.
  • The true despisers of the world are the people who accept what God sends them, gratefully use all things when they have them, and gladly do without them if God takes them away
  • Antichrist is the pope and the Turk [Muslim] together. A beast full of life must have a body and soul. The spirit or soul of Antichrist is the pope, his flesh or body the Turk.
  • Christ sayeth not, Abstain from the flesh, from marrying, from housekeeping, etc., as the Papists teach, for that were even to invite the devil and all his fellows to a feast.
  • Christ ought to be preached with this goal in mind–that we might be moved to faith in him so that he is not just a distant historical figure but actually Christ for you and me.
  • The truth of the matter is rather as Christ says, “He who is not with me is against me.” … He does not say “He who is not with me is not against me either, but merely neutral.
  • The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man was the idea that somehow he could make himself good enough to deserve to live with an all-holy God.
  • Poverty hath slain a thousand, but riches have slain ten thousand. They are very uncertain, they promise that which they cannot perform, neither can they afford a contented mind.
  • I frankly confess that even if it were possible I should not wish to have free choice given to me, or to have anything left in my own hands by which I might strive for salvation.
  • The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift, not a right. Next to faith this is the highest art – to be content with the calling in which God has placed you.
  • The Devil, too, sometimes steals human children; it is not infrequent for him to carry away infants within the first six weeks after birth, and to substitute in their place imps.
  • Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am your sin. You took on you what was mine; yet set on me what was yours. You became what you were not, that I might become what I was not.
  • Even though they (women) grow weary and wear themselves out with child-bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for.
  • Christ and his word can hardly be recognized because of the great vermin of human ordinances. However, let this suffice for the time being on their lies against doctrine or faith.
  • No man should be alone when he opposes Satan. The Church and the ministry of the Word were instituted for this purpose, that hands may be joined together and one may help another.
  • How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God.
  • First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.
  • Sheep, cattle, men-servants were all possessions to be sold as it pleased their masters. It were a good thing were it still so. For else no man may compel nor tame the servile folk.
  • In Switzerland, on a high mountain, not far from Lucerne, there is a lake they call Pilate’s Pond, which the Devil has fixed upon as one of the chief residences of his evil spirits.
  • If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.
  • Even if all the world were to combine forces, they could not bring about the conception of a single child in any woman’s womb nor cause it to be born; that is wholly the work of God.
  • This is the mystery of the riches of divine grace for sinners; for by a wonderful exchange our sins are now not ours but Christ’s, and Christ’s righteousness is not Christ’s but ours.
  • God wants our conscience to be certain and sure that it is pleasing to Him. This cannot be done if the conscience is led by its own feelings, but only if it relies on the Word of God.
  • Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy; for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow, and the fascination of evil thoughts.
  • Those who turn proud when their praise is sounded, who seek their own glory, not Christ’s, or those who are moved by slanders and by infamy, had better leave the ministry of the Word.
  • Cujus region, ejus rligio (Whoever’s reign, his religion) … He who owns the country owns the Church, and he that makes your laws for you has the right to make your religion for you.
  • Heaven and earth, all the emperors, kings, and princes of the world, could not raise a fit dwelling-place for God; yet, in a weak human soul, that keeps His Word, He willingly resides.
  • Let whatsoever will or can befall me, I will surely cleave by my sweet Savior Christ Jesus, for in Him am I baptized; I can neither do nor know anything but only what He has taught me.
  • God does not work salvation for fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin vigorously… Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice; sin must be committed.
  • This is the most dangerous trial of all, when there is no trial and every thing goes well; for then a man is tempted to forget God, to become too bold and to misuse times of prosperity.
  • O, when it comes to faith, what a living, creative, active, powerful thing it is. It cannot do other than good at all times. It never waits to ask whether there is some good work to do.
  • The highest and most precious treasure we receive of God is, that we can speak, hear, see, etc.; but how few acknowledge these as God’s special gifts, much less give God thanks for them.
  • For the devil is better pleased with coarse blockheads and with folks who are useful to nobody; because where such characters abound, then things do not go on prosperously here on earth.
  • For God is wholly present in all creation, in every corner, he is behind you and before you. Do you think he is sleeping on a pillow in heaven? He is watching over you and protecting you.
  • I am bound by the texts of the Bible, my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I neither can nor will recant anything, since it is neither right nor safe to act against my conscience.
  • Men are not made religious by performing certain actions which are externally good, but they must first have righteous principles, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.
  • Our faith is an astounding thing-astounding that I should believe him to be the Son of God who is suspended on the cross, whom I have never seen, with whom I have never become acquainted.
  • I know that a Christian should be humble, but against the Pope I am going to be proud and say to him: “You, Pope, I will not have you for my boss, for I am sure that my doctrine is divine.
  • Our office…subjects us to great burdens and labors, dangers and temptations, with little reward or gratitude from the world. But Christ himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully.
  • [Our] plan is to follow the example of the prophets and the ancient fathers of the church, and to compose psalms…so that the Word of God may be among the people also in the form of music.
  • The mad mob does not ask how it could be better, only that it be different. And when it then becomes worse, it must change again. Thus they get bees for flies, and at last hornets for bees.
  • Whatever man loves, that is his god. For he carries it in his heart; he goes about with it night and day; he sleeps and wakes with it, be it what it may – wealth or self, pleasure or renown.
  • Like the early Christians, we must move into a sometime hostile world armed with the revolutionary gospel of Jesus Christ. With this powerful gospel we shall boldly challenge the status quo.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…set fire to their synagogues or schools and bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them.
  • My counsel is, that we draw water from the true source and fountain, that is, that we diligently search the Scriptures. He who wholly possesses the text of the Bible, is a consummate divine.
  • I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!
  • God is not a God of sadness, death, etc., but the devil is. Christ is a God of joy, and so the Scriptures often say that we should rejoice … A Christian should and must be a cheerful person.
  • All these things He must be in me, abiding, living, speaking in me; that I may be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. v. 21); not in love, nor in gifts and graces which follow; but in Him.
  • A large number of deaf, crippled and blind people are afflicted solely through the malice of the demon. And one must in no wise doubt that plagues, fevers and every sort of evil come from him.
  • A Christian has no need of any law in order to be saved, since through faith we are free from every law. Thus all the acts of a Christian are done spontaneously, out of a sense of pure liberty.
  • A man who has no part in the grace of God, cannot keep the commandments of God, or prepare himself, either wholly or in part, to receive grace; but he rests of necessity under the power of sin.
  • The fruit does not make the tree good or bad but the tree itself is what determines the nature of the fruit. In the same way, a person first must be good or bad before doing a good or bad work.
  • The reproduction of mankind is a great marvel and mystery. Had God consulted me in the matter, I should have advised him to continue the generation of the species by fashioning them out of clay.
  • The great unthankfulness, contempt of God’s word, and wilfulness of the world, make me fear that the divine light will soon cease to shine on man, for God’s word has ever had its certain course.
  • The offering of [the body] is called a spiritual sacrifice because it is freely sacrificed through the Spirit, the Christian being uninfluenced by the constrainst of the Low or the fear of hell.
  • The Holy Spirit is no skeptic. He has written neither doubt nor mere opinion into our hearts, but rather solid assurances, which are more sure and solid than all experience and even life itself.
  • Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness does not reign over us, but that your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty, and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us. Amen
  • … we must drive them [Jews] out like mad dogs, so that we do not become partakers of their abominable blasphemy and all the their other vices and thus merit God’s wrath and be damned with them.
  • As when my little son John offendeth: if then I should not whip him, but call him to the table unto me, and give him sugar and plums, thereby, I should make him worse, yea should quite spoil him.
  • I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us.
  • I hate myself, that I cannot believe it so constantly and surely as I should; but no human creature can rightly know how mercifully God is inclined toward those that steadfastly believe in Christ.
  • The confidence that God is mindful of the individual is of tremendous value in dealing with the disease of fear, for it gives us a sense of worth, of belonging, and of at homeness in the universe.
  • We should consider the histories of Christ three manner of ways; first, as a history of acts or legends; second, as a gift or a present; thirdly, as an example, which we should believe and follow.
  • In his life Christ is an example showing us how to live in his death he is a sacrifice satisfying our sins in his resurrection a conqueror in his ascension a king in his intercession a high priest.
  • The best way to get rid of the Devil, if you cannot kill it with the words of Holy Scripture, is to rail at and mock him. Music, too, is very good; music is hateful to him, and drives him far away.
  • This doctrine (justification) is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour.
  • The Devil, it is true, is not exactly a doctor who has taken degrees, but he is very learned, very expert for all that. He has not been carrying on his business during thousands of years for nothing.
  • At the last, when we die, we have the dear angels for our escort on the way. They who can grasp the whole world in their hands can surely also guard our souls, that they make that last journey safely.
  • God scorns and mocks the devil, in setting under his very nose a poor, weak, human creature, mere dust and ashes, yet endowed with the firstfruits of the Spirit, against whom the devil can do nothing.
  • One is not righteous who does much, but the one who, without work, believes much in Christ. The law says, ‘Do this,’ and it is never done. Grace says, ‘Believe in this,’ and everything is already done.
  • In the bonds of Death He lay Who for our offence was slain; But the Lord is risen to-day, Christ hath brought us life again, Wherefore let us all rejoice, Singing loud, with cheerful voice, Hallelujah!
  • Christ will remain a priest and king; though He was never consecrated by any papist bishop or greased by any of those shavelings; but he was ordained and consecrated by God Himself, and by Him anointed.
  • Albert Durer, the famous painter, used to say he had no pleasure in pictures that were painted with many colors, but in those which were painted with a choice simplicity. So it is with me as to sermons.
  • Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and … know nothing but the word of God.
  • I myself saw and touched at Dessay, a child of this sort, which had no human parents, but had proceeded from the Devil. He was twelve years old, and, in outward form, exactly resembled ordinary children.
  • If God had not permitted the people of Jerusalem to be torn asunder and driven them from the land, but had let them keep it after before, no one could convince them that they are not God`s chosen people.
  • God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.
  • Heretics cannot themselves appear good unless they depict the Church as evil, false, and mendacious. They alone wish to be esteemed as the good, but the Church must be made to appear evil in every respect.
  • Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.
  • The will is a beast of burden. If God mounts it, it wishes and goes as God wills; if Satan mounts it, it wishes and goes as Satan wills; Nor can it choose its rider… the riders contend for its possession.
  • The gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough … Moreover, our greatest task is to keep you faithful to this article and to bequeath this treasure to you when we die.
  • Believest thou? then thou wilt speak boldly. Speakest thou boldy? then thou must suffer. Sufferest thou? then thou shalt be comforted. For faith, the confession thereof, and the cross do follow one another.
  • Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then . . . we conclude that . . . the stubborn sectaries must be put to death.
  • When one is possessed with doubt, that though he call upon the Lord he cannot be heard, and that God has turned him heart from him, and is angry … he must arm himself with God’s Word, promising to hear him.
  • Look to it that you do not try to do all of it, do not try to do too much, lest your spirit grow weary. Besides, a good prayer mustn’t be too long. Do not draw it out. Prayer ought to be frequent and fervent.
  • Unto him who is able to keep us from falling, and lift us from the dark to the bright mountain of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy, to him be power and authority for ever and ever.
  • The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of mere gain.
  • Great people and champions are special gifts of God, whom He gives and preserves; they do their work, and achieve great actions, not with vain imaginations, or cold and sleepy cogitations, but by motion of God.
  • At Poltersberg, there is a lake similarly cursed. If you throw a stone into it, a dreadful storm immediately arises, and the whole neighboring district quakes to its centre. ‘Tis the devils kept prisoner there.
  • We may search long to find where God is, but we shall find Him in those who keep the words of Christ. For the Lord Christ saith, ” If any man love me, he will keep my words; and we will make our abode with him.
  • It is false that the will, left to itself, can do good as well as evil, for it is not free, but in bondage…On the side of man there is nothing that goes before grace, unless it be impotency and even rebellion.
  • Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children…If a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing – she is there to do it.
  • For God does not want to save us by our own but by an extraneous righteousness, one that does not originate in ourselves but comes to us from beyond ourselves, which does not arise on earth but comes from heaven.
  • I believe that the devil has destroyed many good books of the church, as, aforetime, he killed and crushed many holy persons, the memory of whom has now passed away; but the Bible he was fain to leave subsisting.
  • If the gospel was of a nature to be propagated or maintained by the power of the world, God would not have intrusted it to fishermen. To defend the gospel appertains not to the princes and pontiffs of this world.
  • Not only the adoration of images is idolatry, but also trust in one’s own righteousness, works and merits, and putting confidence in riches and power. As the latter is the commonest, so it also is the most noxious.
  • Christ took our sins and the sins of the whole world as well as the Father’s wrath on his shoulders, and he has drowned them both in himself so that we are thereby reconciled to God and become completely righteous.
  • Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.
  • The human heart is like a millstone in a mill: when you put wheat under it, it turns and grinds and bruises the wheat to flour; if you put no wheat, it still grinds on, but then ’tis itself it grinds and wears away.
  • Thus my learning is not my own; it belongs to the unlearned and is the debt I owe themMy wisdom belongs to the foolish, my power to the oppressed. Thus my wealth belongs to the poor, my righteousness to the sinners.
  • What are the things we should pray for? First, our personal troubles…The greatest trouble we can ever know is thinking that we have no trouble for we can become hard-hearted and insensible to what is inside of us.
  • Idiots, the lame, the blind, the dumb, are men in whom the devils have established themselves: and all the physicians who heal these infirmities, as though they proceeded from natural causes, are ignorant blockheads.
  • No man ought to lay a cross upon himself, or to adopt tribulation, as is done in popedom; but if a cross or tribulation come upon him, then let him suffer it patiently, and know that it is good and profitable for him.
  • All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with “free-will”, and these are countless…For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because “free-will” can do nothing.
  • No one would be happier than Luther to be commended by the testimony of the time that he had been neither slack nor deceitful in maintaining the course of truth, but had shown quite enough and even too much vehemence.
  • Your work is a very sacred matter. God delights in it, and through it, He wants to best His blessings on you. This praise of work should be inscribed on all tools, on the forehead and the faces that sweat from toiling.
  • He who wholly renounces himself, and relies not on mere human reason, will make good progress in the Scriptures; but the world comprehends them not, from ignorance of that mortification which is the gift of God’s word.
  • Truly speech has wonderful strength and power, that through a mere word, proceeding out of the mouth of a poor human creature, the devil, that so proud and powerful spirit, should be driven away, shamed and confounded.
  • A man would have to be an idiot to write a book of laws for an apple tree telling it to bear apples and not thorns, seeing that the apple-tree will do it naturally and far better than any laws or teaching can prescribe.
  • We believe that the very beginning and end of salvation, and the sum of Christianity, consists of faith in Christ, who by His blood alone, and not by any works of ours, has put away sin, and destroyed the power of death.
  • If I had to refute all the other articles of the Jewish faith, I should be obliged to write against them as much and for as long a time as they have used for inventing their lies – that is, longer than two thousand years.
  • How rich a God our God is! He gives enough, but we don’t notice it. He gave the whole world to Adam, but this was nothing in Adam’s eyes; he was concerned about one tree and had to ask why God had forbidden him to eat it.
  • Every man must decide whether he will walk in the creative light of altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s persistent and most urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’
  • If Church history teaches us anything, it is that we cannot afford to be a vacillating Church. We minister to a people who are in great need of hearing truth, we dare not make any attempt to soft pedal that glorious truth.
  • If obedience is not rendered in the homes, we shall never have a whole city, country, principality, or kingdom well governed. For this order in the homes is the first rule; it is the source of all other rule and government.
  • No greater mischief can happen to a Christian people, than to have God’s word taken from them, or falsified, so that they no longer have it pure and clear. God grant we and our descendants be not witness to such a calamity.
  • I have lived to see the greatest plague on earth — the condemning of God’s word, a fearful thing, surpassing all other plagues in the world; for thereupon most surely follow all manner of punishments, eternal and corporal.
  • What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.
  • The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.
  • If we Christians would join the Wise Men, we must close our eyes to all that glitters before the world and look rather on the despised and foolish things, help the poor, comfort the despised, and aid the neighbor in his need.
  • I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.
  • You see then, that Diatribe truly possesses a free choice in her handling of Scriptures, so that words of one and the same type are for her obliged to prove endeavor in one place and freedom in another, exactly as she pleases.
  • Many sweat to reconcile St Paul and St James, but in vain. ‘Faith justifies’ and ‘faith does not justify’ contradict each other flatly. If any one can harmonize them I will give him my doctor’s hood and let him call me a fool.
  • All which happens through the whole world happens through hope. No husbandman would sow a grain of corn if he did not hope it would spring up and bring forth the ear; how much more we are helped on by hope in the eternal life.
  • The universities only ought to turn out men who are experts in the Holy Scriptures, men who can become bishops and priests, and stand in the front line against heretics, the devil, and all the world. But where do you find that?
  • Many have been deceived by outward appearances and have proceeded to write and teach about good works and how they justify without even mentioning faith…. Wearying themselves with many works, they never come to righteousness.
  • Cannons and fire-arms are cruel and damnable machines; I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the Devil. If Adam had seen in a vision the horrible instruments his children were to invent, he would have died of grief.
  • I am not of the opinion that all the arts shall be crushed to earth and perish through the Gospel, as some bigoted persons pretend, but would willingly see them all, and especially music, servants of Him who gave and created them.
  • It is as if a wolf devoured a sheep and the sheep were so powerful that it transformed the wolf and turned him into a sheep. So, when we eat Christ’s flesh physically and spiritually, the food is so powerful that it transforms us.
  • The Holy Scriptures surpass in efficaciousness all the arts and all the sciences of the philosophers and jurists; these, though good and necessary to life here below, are vain and of no effect as to what concerns the life eternal.
  • God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, “Free-will” is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces.
  • A person whodoes not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.
  • The spiritual rest, which God particularly intends in this Commandment, is this: that we not only cease from our labor and trade, but much more, that we let God alone work in us and that we do nothing of our own with all our powers.
  • Why do you rant and brag with such a spate of words, as if you wanted to overwhelm me with a sort of tempest and deluge of oratory-which nevertheless falls with the greater force on your own head, while my ark rides aloft in safety?
  • Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.
  • Our suffering is not worthy the name of suffering. When I consider my crosses, tribulations, and temptations, I shame myself almost to death, thinking what are they in comparison of the sufferings of my blessed Savior Christ Jesus.
  • Farewell unhappy, hopeless, blasphemous Rome! The Wrath of God has come upon you, as you deserve. We cared for Babylon, and she is not healed; let us then leave her, that she may become the habitation of dragons, spectres, and witches.
  • World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have a God who will give me a new one.
  • I think these things [firearms] were invented by Satan himself, for they can’t be defended against with (ordinary) weapons and fists. All human strength vanishes when confronted with firearms. A man is dead before he sees what’s coming.
  • The first care of every Christian ought to be to lay aside all reliance on works, and strengthen his faith alone more and more, and by it grow in the knowledge, not of works, but of Christ Jesus, who has suffered and risen again for him.
  • My dear pope, I will kiss your feet and acknowledge you as supreme bishop if you will worship my Christ and grant that through His death and resurrection, not through keeping your traditions, we have forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
  • But the power of God cannot be so determined and measured, for it is uncircumscribed and immeasurable, beyond and above all that is or may be. On the other hand, it must be essentially present at all places, even in the tiniest tree leaf.
  • The priest is not made. He must be born a priest; must inherit his office. I refer to the new birth-the birth of water and the Spirit. Thus all Christians must became priests, children of God and co-heirs with Christ the Most High Priest.
  • Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.
  • Through faith we are restored to paradise and created anew. We have no need of works in order to be righteous; however, in order to avoid idleness and so that the body might be cared for an disciplined, works are done freely to please God.
  • That little bird has chosen his shelter. Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds.  Yet he is rocking himself to sleep without caring for tomorrow’s lodging, calmly clinging to his little twig, and leaving God to think for him.
  • Oh! how great and glorious a thing it is to have before one the Word of God! With that we may at all times feel joyous and secure; we need never be in want of consolation, for we see before us, in all its brightness, the pure and right way.
  • For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.
  • For who in fact seeks the salvation of souls through indulgences, and not instead money for his coffers? This is evident from the way indulgences are preached . For the commissioners and preachers do nothing but extol indulgences and incite.
  • However, they have not acquired a perfect mastery of the art of lying; they lie so clumsily and ineptly that anyone who is just a little observant can easily detect it. But for us Christians they stand as a terrifying example of God’s wrath.
  • Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles… We are beggars: this is true.
  • Let all the ‘free-will’ in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength.
  • Many demons are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark poolly places ready to hurt and prejudice people; some are also in the thick black clouds, which cause hail, lightning and thunder, and poison the air, the pastures and grounds.
  • In the midst of the affliction He counsels, strengthens confirms, nourishes, and favors us…. More over, when we have repented, He instantly remits the sins as well as the punishments. In the same manner parents ought to handle their children.
  • There is no wisdom save in truth. Truth is everlasting, but our ideas about truth are changeable. Only a little of the first fruits of wisdom, only a few fragments of the boundless heights, breadths and depths of truth, have I been able to gather.
  • Ultimately, however, conflict lies not in objective reality, but in people’s heads. Truth is simple one argument – perhaps a good one, perhaps not – for dealing with the difference. The difference itself exists because it exists in their thinking.
  • The kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power, that is, in works and practice. God loves the ‘doers of the word’ in faith and love, and not the ‘mere hearers,’ who, like parrots, have learned to utter certain expressions with readiness.
  • When the devil wants to cause offense against the true doctrine and faith, he does not do so through insignificant people, who do not rate highly with the world, but through those who are the very best, the wisest, the holiest, and the most learned.
  • I am of a different mind ten times in the course of a day. But I resist the devil, and often it is with a fart that I chase him away. When he tempts me with silly sins I say, ‘Devil, yesterday I broke wind too. Have you written it down on your list?
  • If any earthly institution or custom conflicts with God’s will, it is your Christian duty to oppose it. You must never allow the transitory, evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.
  • No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience. Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have been heard and have obtained more than I prayed for. God sometimes delays, but He always comes.
  • You must learn that if you are a Christian, you will without a doubt experience all kinds of opposition and evil inclinations in the flesh. For when you have faith, there will be a hundred more evil thoughts and a hundred more temptations than before.
  • If there is anything in us, it is not our own; it is a gift of God. But if it is a gift of God, then it is entirely a debt one owes to love, that is, to the law of Christ. And if it is a debt owed to love, then I must serve others with it, not myself.
  • As concerning faith we ought to be invincible, and more hard, if it might be, than the adamant stone; but as touching charity, we ought to be soft, and more flexible than the reed or leaf that is shaken with the wind, and ready to yield to everything.
  • I only ask in all kindness that the man who wishes at this time to have my books will by no means let them be a hindrance to his own study of the Scriptures, but read them as I read the orders and the ordures of the pope and the books of the sophists.
  • The Christian gospel is a two-way road. On the one hand, it seeks to change the souls of men, and thereby unite them with God; on the other hand, it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so the soul will have a chance after it is changed.
  • But then eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God’s anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!

 

  • Every occupation has its own honor before God. Ordinary work is a divine vocation or calling. In our daily work no matter how important or mundane we serve God by serving the neighbor and we also participate in God’s on-going providence for the human race.
  • Those speak foolishly who ascribe their anger or their impatience to such as offend them or to tribulation. Tribulation does not make people impatient, but proves that they are impatient. So everyone may learn from tribulation how his heart is constituted.
  • Each day of the holidays comes bringing its own gifts. Open your heart, Untie the ribbons, and enjoy the contents! Were earth a thousand times as fair Beset with gold and jewels rare She yet were far too poor to be A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.
  • This grace of God is a very great, strong, mighty and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, drives, draws, changes, works all in man, and lets itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident.
  • Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their heads in the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is the devil in disguise.
  • Take this to heart and doubt not that you are the one who killed Christ. Your sins certainly did, and when you see the nails driven through his hands, be sure that you are pondering, and when the thorns pierce his brow, know that they are your evil thoughts.
  • Over against the devil and his missionaries, the authors of false doctrines and sects, we ought to be like the Apostle, impatient, and rigorously condemnatory, as parents are with the dog that bites their little one, but the weeping child itself they soothe.
  • Original sin is in us like our beard. We are shaved today and look clean; tomorrow our beard has grown again, nor does it cease growing while we remain on earth. In like manner original sin cannot be extirpated from us; it springs up in us as long as we live.
  • Once sure that the doctrine we teach is God’s Word, once certain of this, we may build thereupon, and know that this cause shall and must remain; the devil shall not be able to overthrow it, much less the world be able to uproot it, how fiercely soever it rage.
  • A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:   For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;  His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,  On earth is not his equal.
  • When God’s righteousness is mentioned in the gospel, it is God’s action of declaring righteous the unrighteous sinner who has faith in Jesus Christ. The righteousness by which a person is justified (declared righteous) is not his own but that of another, Christ.
  • In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well.
  • The devil and temptations also do give occasion unto us somewhat to learn and understand the Scriptures, by experience and practice. Without trials and temptations we should never understand anything thereof; no, not although we diligently read and heard the same.
  • We are beginning to regain a knowledge of Creation, a knowledge forfeited by the fall of Adam. By God’s mercy we can begin to recognize His Wonderful works and wonders also in flowers when we ponder his might and goodness. Therefore we laud, magnify and thank Him.
  • When I was abandoned by everybody, in my greatest weakness, trembling and afraid of death, when I was persecuted by this wicked world, then I often felt most surely the divine power in this name, Jesus Christ… So, by God’s grace, I will live and die for that name.
  • If anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day’s sake – if anyone set up its observance on a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it, to do anything that shall remove this encroachment on Christian liberty.
  • Music is to be praised as second only to the Word of God because by her all the emotions are swayed. That is why there are so many songs and psalms. This precious gift has been bestowed on men alone to remind them that they are created to praise and magnify the Lord.
  • We know that death never skips or spares anybody and that no one ever returns. And yet we go on like the blind, who see as little at midday as in the pitch-dark night. We do not take these examples to heart; we do not realize that today or tomorrow our turn will come.
  • [It is] essentially wholesome and necessary, for a Christian to know, whether or not the will does any thing in those things which pertain unto Salvation. Nay, let me tell you, this is the very hinge upon which our discussion turns. It is the very heart of the subject
  • I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience! Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.
  • A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law.
  • It is necessary to understand that Black Power is a cry of disappointment. The Black Power slogan did not spring full grown from the head of some philosophical Zeus. It was born from the wounds of despair and disappointment. It is a cry of daily hurt and persistent pain.
  • I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyful; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.
  • The prosperity of a country depends, not on the abundance of its revenues, nor on the strength of its fortifications, nor on the beauty of its public buildings; but it consists in the number of its cultivated citizens, in its men of education, enlightenment and character.
  • In ourselves, we are sinners, and yet through faith we are righteous by the imputation of God. For we trust him who promises to deliver us, and in the meantime struggle so that sin may not overwhelm us, but that we may stand up to it until he finally take it away from us.
  • Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them.
  • The heart overflows with gladness, and leaps and dances for the joy it has found in God. In this experience the Holy Spirit is active, and has taught us in the flash of a moment the deep secret of joy. You will have as much joy and laughter in life as you have faith in God.
  • Let us not lose the Bible, but with diligence, in fear and invocation of God, read and preach it. While that remains and flourishes, all prospers with the state; ’tis head and empress of all arts and faculties. Let but divinity fall, and I would not give a straw for the rest.
  • Being by his faith replaced afresh in paradise and created anew, he (the believer)does not need works for his justification, but that he may not be idle, but that he may exercise his own body and preserve it. His works are to be done freely, with the sole object of pleasing God.
  • I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God’s word becomes corrupt. Because of this we can see what kind of people they become in the universities and what they are like now.
  • Lord God, I thank Thee that Thou hast been pleased to make me a poor and indigent man upon earth. I have neither house nor land nor money, to leave behind me. Thou hast given me wife and children, whom I now restore to Thee. Lord, nourish, teach, and preserve them as Thou hast me.
  • Here is the truly Christian life, here is faith really working by love, when a man applies himself with joy and love to the works of that freest servitude in which he serves others voluntarily and for nought, himself abundantly satisfied in the fulness and riches of his own faith.
  • A man must be able to affirm, I know for certain, that what I teach is the only Word of the high Majesty of God in heaven, his final conclusion and everlasting, unchangeable truth, and whatsoever concurs and agrees not with this doctrine, is altogether false, and spun by the devil.
  • Hereby we may understand that God, of His special grace, maketh the teachers of the gospel subject to the Cross, and to all kinds of afflicitons, for the salvation of themselves and of the people; for otherwise they could by no means beat down this beast which is called vain-glory.
  • For all works and things, which are either commanded or forbidden by God and thus have been instituted by the supreme Majesty, are ‘musts.’ Nevertheless, no one should be dragged to them or away from them by the hair, for I can drive no man to heaven or beat him into it with a club.
  • The faith towards God in Christ must be sure and steadfast, that it may solace and make glad the conscience, and put it to rest. When a man has this certainty, he has overcome the serpent; but if he be doubtful of the doctrine, it is for him very dangerous to dispute with the devil.
  • It is an unsufferable blasphemy to reject the public ministry or to say that people can become holy without sermons and Church. This involves a destruction of the Church and rebellion against ecclesiastical order; such upheavals must be warded off and punished like all other revolts.
  • God’s love gives in such a way that it flows from a Father’s heart, the well-spring of all good. The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious; as among ourselves we say of even a trifling gift, “It comes from a hand we love,” and look not so much at the gift as at the heart.
  • Amen meaneth assuredly, namely, that I am sure that petitions of this kind are accepted by my Heavenly Father, and heard by him, because he hath commanded us, that we should pray after this manner, and hath promised that he will hear us. Amen, Amen: that is, truly, certainly, so be it.
  • Daily there have to be many troubles and trials in every house, city, and country. No station in life is free of suffering and pain, both from your own, like your wife or children or household help or subjects, and from the outside, from your neighbors and all sorts of accidental trouble.
  • Sleep is a most useful and most salutary operation of nature. Scarcely any minor annoyance angers me more than the being suddenly awakened out of a pleasant slumber. I understand that in Italy they torture poor people by depriving them of sleep. `Tis a torture that cannot long be endured.
  • What shall we Christians do now with this depraved and damned people of the Jews? … I will give my faithful advice: First, that one should set fire to their synagogues. . . . Then that one should also break down and destroy their houses. . . . That one should drive them out the country.
  • We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.
  • I have many times essayed thoroughly to investigate the ten commandments, but at the very outset, “I am the Lord thy God,” I stuck fast; that very one word, I, put me to a non-plus. He that has but one word of God before him, and out of that word cannot make a sermon, can never be a preacher.
  • In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.
  • The great event on Calvary . . . is an eternal reminder to a power drunk generation that love is the most durable power in the world, and that it is at bottom the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. Only through achieving this love can you expect to matriculate into the university of eternal life.
  • There are some of us who think to ourselves, ‘If I had only been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby. I would have washed His linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!’ Why don’t we do it now? We have Christ in our neighbor.
  • Christian living does not mean to be good but to become good; not to be well, but to get well; not being but becoming; nor rest but training. We are not yet, but we shall be. It has not yet happened, but it is the way. Not everything shines and sparkles as yet, but everything is getting better.
  • I was born to fight devils and factions. It is my business to remove obstacles, to cut down thorns, to fill up quagmires and to open and make straight paths.  If I must have some failing let me rather speak the truth with too great sincerity than once to act the hypocrite and conceal the truth.
  • The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. This, of course, is a huge burden full of great cares and toils. But you have been created by God to be a husband or a wife and that you may learn to bear these troubles.
  • We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor.
  • We must make a great difference between God’s Word and the word of man. A man’s word is a little sound, that flies into the air, and soon vanishes; but the Word of God is greater than heaven and earth, yea, greater than death and hell, for it forms part of the power of God, and endures everlastingly.
  • When some say that good works are forbidden when we preach faith alone, it is as if I said to a sick man: “If you had health, you would have the use of all your limbs; but without health, the works of all your limbs are nothing”; and he wanted to infer that I had forbidden the works of all his limbs.
  • If the peasants are in open rebellion, then they are outside the law of God. Therefore let all who are able slash, strike down, and kill (those who rebel) openly and secretly, remembering that there can be nothing more venomous, harmful, or devilish than a rebel. It is exactly like killing a mad dog.
  • From the beginning of my Reformation I have asked God to send me neither dreams, nor visions, nor angels, but to give me the right understanding of His Word, the Holy Scriptures; for as long as I have God’s Word, I know that I am walking in His way and that I shall not fall into any error or delusion.
  • I have always loved music; whoso has skill in this art, is of a good temperament, fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools; a schoolmaster ought to have skill in music, or I would not regard him; neither should we ordain young men as preachers, unless they have been well exercised in music
  • For it is a horrible blasphemy to imagine that there is any work by which you should presume to pacify God, since you see that there is nothing which is able to pacify Him but this inestimable price, even the death and the blood of the Son of God, one drop of which is more precious than the whole world.
  • Man is man because he is free to operate within a framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.
  • Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it one thousand times. This confidence in God’s grace and knowledge of it makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures; and this is the work of the Holy Ghost in faith.
  • What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and work flow.
  • In human affairs we accomplish everything through prayer. What has been properly arranged we keep in order, what has gone amiss we change and improve, what cannot be changed and improved we bear, overcoming all the trouble and sustaining all the good by prayer. Against force there is no help but prayer alone.
  • He who believes in God is not careful for the morrow, but labors joyfully and with a great heart. “For He giveth His beloved, as in sleep.” They must work and watch, yet never be careful or anxious, but commit all to Him, and live in serene tranquility; with a quiet heart, as one who sleeps safely and quietly.
  • People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon….This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13]that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
  • Anyone who can be proved to be a seditious person is an outlaw before God and the emperor; and whoever is the first to put him to death does right and well. Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel.
  • It is certainly true that reason is the most important and the highest rank among all things and, in comparison with other things of this life, the best and something divine. It is the inventor and mentor of all the arts, medicines, laws, and of whatever wisdom, power, virtue, and glory men possess in this life.
  • At night always carry in your heart something from Holy Scriptures to bed with you, meditate upon it like a ruminant animal, and go softly to sleep; but this must not be too much, rather a little that may be well pondered and understood, that you may find a remnant of it in your mind when you rise in the morning.
  • What is our death but a night’s sleep? For as through sleep all weariness and faintness pass away and cease, and the powers of the spirit come back again, so that in the morning we arise fresh and strong and joyous; so at the Last Day we shall rise again as if we had only slept a night, and shall be fresh and strong.
  • Indeed, to spur your Baal to action, I will taunt and challenge you … to create as much as a single frog in the name and by the power of free choice, though the heathen and ungodly magicians in Egypt were able to create many…. I will not set you the heavy task of creating lice, which they could not produce either
  • It is the duty of a prudent minister of God to hold his ministry in honor and to see to it that it is respected by those who are in his charge. Moreoever, it is the duty of a faithful minister not to exceed his powers and not to abuse his office in pride, but, rather, to administer it for the benefit of his subjects.
  • The devil, the originator of sorrowful anxieties and restless troubles, flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God….Music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. Thus it drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. Then one forgets all wrath, impurity, and other devices.
  • So tenaciously should we cling to the world revealed by the Gospel, that were I to see all the Angels of Heaven coming down to me to tell me something different, not only would I not be tempted to doubt a single syllable, but I would shut my eyes and stop my ears, for they would not deserve to be either seen or heard.
  • And I’ll tell you, I’ve seen the lightning flash. I’ve heard the thunder roll. I felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.
  • Although the Christian is thus free from all works, he ought in this liberty to empty himself, take upon himself the form of a servant, be made in the likeness of men, be found in human form, and to serve, help and in every way deal with his neighbor as he sees that God through Christ has dealt and still deals with him.
  • As long as a man is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God. Such a man plans out for himself a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation, but which will not.
  • The believing man hath the Holy Ghost; and where the Holy Ghost dwelleth, He will not suffer a man to be idle, butstirreth him up to all exercises of piety and godliness, and of true religion, to the love of God, to the patient suffering of afflictions, to prayer, to thanksgiving, and the exercise of charity towards all men.
  • The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone…How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?
  • While we contemplate in all creatures, as in a mirror, those immense riches of His wisdom, justice, goodness and power, we should not meerly run them over cursorily, and, so to speak, with a fleeting glance, but we should ponder them at length, turn them over in our mind seriously and faithfully and recollect them repeatedly.
  • God is ready to give more quickly, and to give more than you ask; yea, he offers his treasures if we only take them. It is truly a great shame and a severe chastisement for us Christians that God should still upbraid us for our slothfulness in prayer, and that we fail to let such a rich and excellent promise incite us to pray.
  • There is on earth among all dangers, no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroid reason, especially if she enters into spiritual matters which concern the soul and God. For it is more possible to teach an ass to read than to blind such a reason and lead it right; for reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
  • It is with all these qualities that we must stand before God and intervene on behalf of those who do not have them, as though clothed with someone else’s garmentBut even before men we must, with the same love, render them service against their detractors and those who are violent toward them; for this is what Christ did for us.
  • For that purpose Christ instituted holy baptism, thereby to clothe you with his righteousness. It is tantamount to his saying, My righteousness shall be your righteousness; my innocence, your innocence. Your sins indeed are great, but by baptism I bestow on you my righteousness; I strip death from you and clothe you with my life.
  • Every country must have its own devil. Welshland its own, and France its own. Our German devil will be a good wind-pipe, and must be called drinking, being so thirsty and hell-like that no guzzling of wine and beer, however large, will cool it off, and I fear that such will ever remain Germany’s plague, until the day of judgment.
  • I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
  • The Bible is the proper book for men. There the truth is distinguished from error far more clearly than anywhere else, and one finds something new in it every day. For twenty-eight years, since I became a doctor, I have now constantly read and preached the Bible; and yet I have not exhausted it but find something new in it every day.
  • Take a look at your own heart, and you will soon find out what has stuck to it and where your treasure is. It is easy to determine whether hearing the Word of God, living according to it, and achieving such a life gives you as much enjoyment and calls forth as much diligence from you as does accumulating and saving money and property.
  • It was with good reason that God commanded through Moses that the vineyard and harvest were not to be gleaned to the last grape or grain; but something to be left for the poor. For covetousness is never to be satisfied; the more it has, the more it wants. Such insatiable ones injure themselves, and transform God’s blessings into evil.
  • All our work in the field, in the garden, in the city, in the home, in struggle, in government-to what does it all amount before God except child’s play, by means of which God is pleased to give his gifts in the field, at home, and everywhere? These are the masks of our Lord God, behind which he wants to be hidden and to do all things.
  • Where faith is not continually kept in motion and exercised, it weakens and decreases, so that it must indeed vanish; and yet we do not see nor feel this weakness ourselves, except in times of need and temptation, when unbelief rages too strongly; and yet for that very reason faith must have temptations in which it may battle and grow.
  • Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason-I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other-my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.
  • But the Jews are so hardened that they listen to nothing; though overcome by testimonies they yield not an inch. It is a pernicious race, oppressing all men by their usury and rapine. If they give a prince or magistrate a thousand florins, they extort twenty thousand from the subjects in payment. We must ever keep on guard against them.
  • If then, Moses so distinctly announces that there is in us not only a faculty, but also a facility for keeping all commandments, why are we sweating so much? … What need is there now of Christ or of Spirit? We have found a passage that asserts freedom of choice, but also distinctly teaches that the keeping of the commandments is easy.
  • This is the good and happy news, that Christ has paid for our sin, and through His suffering has redeemed us from eternal death. It is His kingdom and His ministry, to preach the Gospel to the poor; that is His purpose. For to the great and holy He cannot come. They do not wish to be counted sinners, and therefore do not need His Gospel.
  • May a merciful God preserve me from a Christian Church in which everyone is a saint! I want to be and remain in the church and little flock of the fainthearted, the feeble and the ailing, who feel and recognize the wretchedness of their sins, who sigh and cry to God incessantly for comfort and help, who believe in the forgiveness of sins.
  • When Eve was brought unto Adam, he became filled with the Holy Spirit, and gave her the most sanctified, the most glorious of appellations. He called, her Eva–that is to say, the Mother of All. He did not style her wife, but simply mother–mother of all living creatures. In this consists the glory and the most precious ornament of woman.
  • When we are inclined to boast of our position [as Christians] we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are.
  • God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another — God alone.
  • The Son of God did not want to be seen and found in heaven. Therefore he descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh, laid himself into the womb of his mother and into the manger and went on to the cross. This was the ladder that he placed on earth so that we might ascend to God on it. This is the way you must take.
  • The Jews are the most miserable people on earth. They are plagued everywhere, and scattered about all countries, having no certain resting place. They sit as on a wheelbarrow, without a country, people or government… but they are rightly served, for seeing they refused have Christ and his gospel, instead of freedom they must have servitude.
  • If the devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the gospel than that the world should fight it with force and cunning.
  • I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order….when these are concerned, neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction – to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon.
  • The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing, who would ever have been spared?
  • It is not necessary for a preacher to express all his thoughts in one sermon. A preacher should have three principles: first, to make a good beginning, and not spend time with many words before coming to the point; secondly, to say that which belongs to the subject in chief, and avoid strange and foreign thoughts; thirdly, to stop at the proper time.
  • He who knoweth and understandeth Christ’s life, knoweth and understandeth Christ Himself; and in like manner, he who understandeth not His life, doth not understand Christ Himself. And he who believeth on Christ, believeth that His life is the best and noblest life that can be, and if a man believe not this, neither doth he believe on Christ Himself.
  • Riches are the pettiest and least worthy gifts which God can give a man. What are they to God’s Word, to bodily gifts, such as beauty and health; or to the gifts of the mind, such as understanding, skill, wisdom! Yet men toil for them day and night, and take no rest. Therefore God commonly gives riches to foolish people to whom he gives nothing else.
  • A fiery shield is God’s Word; of more substance and purer than gold, which, tried in the fire, loses nought of its substance, but resists and overcomes all the fury of the fiery heat; even so, he that believes God’s Word overcomes all, and remains secure everlastingly, against all misfortunes; for this shield fears nothing, neither hell nor the devil.
  • The confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.
  • I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which means are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt.
  • Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.
  • This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.
  • But know that to serve God is nothing else than to serve your neighbor and do good to him in love, be it a child, wife, servant, enemy, friend….If you do not find yourself among the needy and the poor, where the Gospel shows us Christ, then you may know that your faith is not right, and that you have not yet tasted of Christ’s benevolence and work for you.
  • I did not learn my theology all at once, but had to search constantly deeper and deeper for it. My temptations did that for me, for no one can understand Holy Scripture without practice and temptations…I t is not by reading, writing, or speculation that one becomes a theologian. Nay, rather, it is living, dying, and being damned that makes one a theologian.
  • The world doesn’t want to be punished. It wants to remain in darkness. It doesn’t want to be told that what it believes is false. If you also don’t want to be corrected, then you might as well leave the church and spend your time at the bar and brothel. But if you want to be saved-and remember that there’s another life after this one-you must accept correction.
  • Christ is the Master; the Scriptures are only the servant. The true way to test all the Books is to see whether they work the will of Christ or not. No Book which does not preach Christ can be apostolic, though Peter or Paul were its author. And no Book which does preach Christ can fail to be apostolic, although Judas, Ananias, Pilate, or Herod were its author.
  • But Satan, the god of all dissension, stirreth up daily new sects, and last of all (which of all other I should never have foreseen or once suspected) he hath raised up a sect of such as teach that the Ten Commandments ought to be taken out of the church, and that men should not be terrified with the law, but gently exerted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.
  • We are not to look upon our sins as insignificant trifles. On the other hand, we are not to regard them as so terrible that we must despair. Learn to believe that Christ was given, not for picayune and imaginary transgressions, but for mountainous sins; not for one or two, but for all; not for sins that can be discarded, but for sins that are stubbornly ingrained.
  • [The papists] ought to have sympathy with us weak, poor Christians, and not condemn us or make fun of us because we are learning so childishly to toddle along the benches, nay, to creep in the mire, and cannot skip and dance, on such light feet and legs, over and outside of God’s commandments, as they do, the strong heroes and giants … God forbid that we should!
  • Peter erred in life and in doctrine. Paul might have dismissed Peter’s error as a matter of no consequence. But Paul saw that Peter’s error would lead to the damage of the whole Church unless it were corrected. Therefore he withstood Peter to his face. The Church, Peter, the apostles, angels from heaven, are not to be heard unless they teach the genuine Word of God.
  • This is that mystery which is rich in divine grace unto sinners: wherein by a wonderful exchange, our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s; and the righteousness of Christ is not Christ’s but ours. He has emptied himself of his righteousness that he might clothe us in it, and fill us with it: and he has taken our evils upon himself that he might deliver us from them.
  • The heavenly blessing is to be delivered from the law, sin and death; to be justified and quickened to life: to have peace with God; to have a faithful heart, a joyful conscience, a spiritual consolation; to have the knowledge of Jesus Christ; to have the gift of prophecy, and the revelation of the Scriptures; to have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to rejoice in God.
  • Now if I believe in God’s Son and remember that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, apples, as I reflect that he is Lord over all things. …God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
  • It is cheering to note that [Martin] Luther (1524) did not see why schools should not be fun as well: “Now since the young must leap and jump, or have something to do, because they have a natural desire for it which should not be restrained (for it is not well to check them in everything) why should we not provide for them such schools, and lay before them such studies?
  • Merit is a work for the sake of which Christ gives rewards. But no such work is to be found, for Christ gives by promise. Just as if a prince should say to me, “Come to me in my castle, and I will give you a hundred florins.” I do a work, certainly, in going to the castle, but the gift is not given me as the reward of my work in going, but because the prince promised it to me.
  • If I did not see that the Lord kept watch over the ship, I should long since have abandoned the helm. But I see Him! – through the storm, strengthening the tackling, handling the yards, spreading the sails – yes more, commanding the very winds! Should I not be a coward if I abandoned my post? Let Him govern, let Him carry us forward, let Him hasten or delay; we will fear nothing!
  • Feelings come and feelings go, And feelings are deceiving; My warrant is the Word of God– Naught else is worth believing. Though all my heart should feel condemned For want of some sweet token, There is One greater than my heart Whose Word cannot be broken. I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word Till soul and body sever, For, though all things shall pass away, HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!
  • The Deceiver can magnify a little sin for the purpose of causing one to worry, torture, and kill oneself with it. This is why a Christian should learn not to let anyone easily create an evil conscience in him. Rather let him say, “This error and this failing pass away with my other imperfections and sins, which I must include in the article of faith: I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
  • I [i.e., God] have given you baptism as a gift for the forgiveness of sins, and preach to you unceasingly by word of mouth concerning this treasure, sealing it with the Sacrament of my body and blood, so that you need never doubt. True, it seems little and insignificant that by the washing of water, the Word, and the Sacrament this should all be effected. But don’t let your eyes deceive you.
  • They [rulers] must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did… If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs.
  • It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business in the morning and the last in the evening. Guard yourself against such false and deceitful thoughts that keep whispering, “Wait a while. In an hour or so I will pray. I must first finish this or that.” Thinking such thoughts we get away from prayer into other things that will hold us and involve us till the prayer of the day comes to naught.
  • A theologian should be thoroughly in possession of the basis and source of faith–that is to say, the Holy Scriptures. Armed with this knowledge it was that I confounded and silenced all my adversaries; for they seek not to fathom and understand the Scriptures; they run them over negligently and drowsily; they speak, they write, they teach, according to the suggestion of their heedless imaginations.
  • God indeed tempteth no man; but yet we ask, in this petition, that he would keep and preserve us, lest the devil, the world, and our own flesh delude and draw us away from the true faith, and throw us into superstition, distrust, despair, and other grievous sins and wickedness; and that, if we should be tempted therewith even to the highest degree, we still may conquer, and at last triumph over them.
  • It is the part of a Christian to take care of his own body for the very purpose that, by its soundness and wellbeing, he may be enabled to labour, and to acquire and preserve property, for the aid of those who are in want, that thus the stronger member may serve the weaker member, and we may be children of God, and busy for one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfiling the law of Christ.
  • When my heart is cold and I cannot pray as I should I scourge myself with the thought of the impiety and ingratitude of my enemies, the Pope and his accomplices and vermin, and Zwingli, so that my heart swells with the righteous indignation and hatred and I can say with warmth and vehemence: ‘Holy be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done!’ And the hotter I grow the more ardent do my prayers become.
  • God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, … are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.
  • We can mention only one point (which experience confirms), namely, that next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. No greater commendation than this can be found, at least not by us. After all, the gift of language combined with the gift of song was only given to man to let him know that he should praise God with both word and music, namely, by proclaiming [the Word of God] through music.
  • The proverb has it that Hunger is the best cook. The Law makes afflicted consciences hungry for Christ. Christ tastes good to them. Hungry hearts appreciate Christ. Thirsty souls are what Christ wants. He invites them: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Christ’s benefits are so precious that He will dispense them only to those who need them and really desire them.
  • The Devil can so completely assume the human form, when he wants to deceive us, that we may well lie with what seems to be a woman, of real flesh and blood, and yet all the while ’tis only the Devil in the shape of a woman. ‘Tis the same with women, who may think that a man is in bed with them, yet ’tis only the Devil; and…the result of this connection is oftentimes an imp of darkness, half mortal, half devil.
  • If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
  • For God is not gracious and merciful to sinners to the end that they might not keep his Law, nor that they should remain as they were before they received grace and mercy; but he condones and forgives both sin and death for the sake of Christ, who has fulfilled the whole Law in order thereby to make the heart sweet and through the Holy Spirit to kindle and move the heart to begin to love from day to day more and more.
  • This letter [to the Romans] is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.
  • Is it not a thing most abominable, that God who feeds so many mouths, should be held in such low esteem by me, that I will not trust him to feed me? Yea, that a guilder, thirty-eight cents, should be valued more highly than God, who pours out his treasures everywhere in rich profusion. For the world is full of God and his works. He is everywhere present with his gifts, and yet we will not trust in him, nor accept his visitation.
  • In a word, the Holy Scripture is the highest and best of books, abounding in comfort under all afflictions and trials. It teaches us to see, to feel, to grasp, and to comprehend faith, hope, and charity, far otherwise than mere human reason can; and while evil oppresses us, it teaches how these virtues throw light upon the darkness, and how, after this poor, miserable existence of ours on earth, there is another and an eternal life.
  • Therefore, is thy brother a sinner? Then cover his sin and pray for him. Dost thou publish his sins, then truly thou art not a child of your merciful Father; for otherwise thou wouldst be also as he, merciful. It is certainly true that we cannot show as great mercy to our neighbor, as God has to us; but it is the true work of the devil that we do the very opposite of mercy, which is a sure sign that there is not a grain of mercy in us.
  • Accordingly if the devil should say, ‘Do not drink,’ you should reply to him, ‘On this very account, because you forbid it, I shall drink, and what is more, I shall drink a generous amount. Thus one must always do the opposite of that which Satan prohibits. What do you think is my reason for drinking wine undiluted, talking freely, and eating more often, if it is not to torment and vex the devil who made up his mind to torment and vex me.
  • I am persuaded that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure. . . . When letters have declined and lain prostrate, theology, too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate. . . . It is my desire that there shall be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible, because I see that by these studies as by no other means, people are wonderfully fitted for the grasping of sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and happily.
  • Whenever the true message of the cross is abolished, the anger of hypocrites and heretics ceases.. and all things are in peace. This is a sure token that the devil is guarding the entry to the house, and that the PURE doctrine of God’s Word has been taken away. The Church then, is in the BEST state when Satan assaileth it on every sideboth with subtle sleights, and outright violence. And likewise, it is in the WORST state when it is most at peace!
  • But what will happen even if we do burn down the Jews synagogues and forbid them publicly to praise God, to pray, to teach, to utter God’s name? They will still keep doing it in secret. If we know that they are doing this in secret, it is the same as if they were doing it publicly. for our knowledge of their secret doings and our toleration of them implies that they are not secret after all and thus our conscience is encumbered with it before God.
  • On coming to the house, they (the Magi), saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. (Matthew 2:11) [This] adoration, too, was not the same as the worship of God. In my opinion they did not yet recognize him as God, but they acted in keeping with the custom mentioned in Scripture, according to which Kings and important people were worshiped; this did not mean more than falling down before them at their feet and honoring them.
  • Let all your preaching be in the most simple and plainest manner; look not to the prince, but to the plain, simple, gross, unlearned people, of which cloth the prince also himself is made. If I, in my preaching, should have regard to Philip Melancthon and other learned doctors, then should I do but little good. I preach in the simplest manner to the unskillful, and that giveth content to all. Hebrew, Greek and Latin I spare until we learned ones come together.
  • Our preaching does not stop with the law. That would lead to wounding without binding up, striking down and not healing, killing and not making alive, driving down to hell and not bringing back up, humbling and not exalting. Therefore, we must also preach grace and the promise of forgiveness – this is the means by which faith is awakened and properly taught. Without this word of grace, the law, contrition, penitence, and everything else are done and taught in vain.
  • Then they began to say: ‘Yes, but how can we know what is God’s Word, and what is right or wrong? We must learn this from the Pope and the councils.’ Very well then, let them conclude and say what they please, yet I will reply, you cannot put your confidence in that nor thus satisfy your conscience, for you must determine this matter yourself, for your very life depends upon it. Therefore God must speak to your heart: This is God’s Word; otherwise you are undecided.
  • Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favour that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace.
  • We come to the New Testament, where again a host of imperative verbs is mustered in support of that miserable bondage of free-choice, and the aid of carnal Reason with her inferences and similes is called in, just as in a picture or a dream you might see the King of the flies with his lances of straw and shields of hay arrayed against a real and regular army of seasoned human troops. That is how the human dreams of Diatribe go to war with the battalions of divine words.
  • Our most merciful Father, seeing us to be oppressed and overwhelmed with the curse of the law . . . sent his only Son into the world and laid upon him all the sins of all men, saying, ‘You be Peter that denier, Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor, David that adulterer, that sinner who ate the apple in Paradise, that thief who hung upon the cross, and briefly, you be the person who has committed the sins of all men. See therefore that you pay and satisfy for them.’
  • Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.
  • At the center of the Christian faith is the affirmation that there is a God in the universe who is the ground and essence of all reality. A Being of infinite love and boundless power, God is the creator, sustainer, and conserver of values….In contrast to the ethical relativism of [totalitarianism], Christianity sets forth a system of absolute moral values and affirms that God has placed within the very structure of this universe certain moral principles that are fixed and immutable.
  • In Romans 7, St. Paul says, “The law is spiritual.” What does that mean? If the law were physical, then it could be satisfied by works, but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it unless everything he does springs from the depths of the heart. But no one can give such a heart except the Spirit of God, who makes the person be like the law, so that he actually conceives a heartfelt longing for the law and henceforward does everything, not through fear or coercion, but from a free heart.
  • Yes, would to God that I could persuade the rich and the mighty that they would permit the whole Bible to be painted on houses, on the inside and the outside, so that all can see it. That would be a Christian work… If it is not a sin but good to have the image of Christ in my heart, why should it be a sin to have it in my eyes? This is especially true since the heart is more important than the eyes, and should be less stained by sin because it is the true abode and dwelling place of God.
  • There can be no be no better instruction… than that every man who is to deal with his neighbor to follow these commandments. ‘Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye also unto them,’ and ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ If these were always followed, then everything would instruct and arrange itself; then no law books nor courts nor judicial actions would be required. All things would quietly and simply be set to rights, for everyone’s heart and conscience would guide them.
  • The devil is not only a liar, but also a murderer, he constantly seeks our life, and wreaks his anger whenever he can afflict our bodies with misfortune and harm. Hence it comes that he often breaks men’s necks or drives them to insanity, drowns some, and incites many to commit suicide, and to many other terrible calamities. Therefore there is nothing for us to do upon earth but to pray against this arch enemy without ceasing. For unless God preserved us, we would not be safe from him even for an hour.
  • [Christ’s] mission and work it is to help against sin and death, to justify and bring life. He has placed his help in baptism and the Sacrament [i.e., communion/Eucharist/Lord’s supper], and incorporated it in the Word and preaching. To our eyes Baptism [capitalized in original] appears to be nothing more than ordinary water, and the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood simple bread and wine, like other bread and wine, and the sermon, hot air from a man’s mouth. But we must not trust what our eyes see.
  • Whilst a man is persuaded that he has it in his power to contribute anything, be it ever so little, to his salvation, he remains in carnal self-confidence; he is not a self-despairer, and therefore is not duly humbled before God, he believes he may lend a helping hand in his salvation, but on the contrary, whoever is truly convinced that the whole work depends singly on the will of God, such a person renounces his own will and strength; he waits and prays for the operation of God, nor waits and prays in vain
  • O, this faith is a living, busy, active, powerful thing! It is impossible that it should not be ceaselessly doing that which is good. It does not even ask whether good works should be done; but before the question can be asked, it has done them, and it is constantly engaged in doing them. But he who does not do such works, is a man without faith. He gropes and casts about him to find faith and good works, not knowing what either of them is, and yet prattles and idly multiplies words about faith and good works.
  • Dear rulers … I maintain that the civil authorities are under obligation to compel the people to send their children to school. … If the government can compel such citizens as are fit for military service to bear spear and rifle, to mount ramparts, and perform other martial duties in time of war, how much more has it a right to compel the people to send their children to school, because in this case we are warring with the devil, whose object it is secretly to exhaust our cities and principalities of their strong men.
  • In short, I will preach it [the Word], teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.
  • I do not deny that medicine is a gift of God, nor do I refuse to acknowledge science in the skill of many physicians; but, take the best of them, how far are they from perfection? A sound regimen produces excellent effects. When I feel indisposed, by observing a strict diet and going to bed early, I generally manage to get round again, that is, if I can keep my mind tolerably at rest. I have no objection to the doctors acting upon certain theories, but, at the same time, they must not expect us to be the slaves of their fancies.
  • We cannot attain to the understanding of Scripture either by study or by the intellect. Your first duty is to begin by prayer. Entreat the Lord to grant you, of His great mercy, the true understanding of His Word. There is no other interpreter of the Word of God than the Author of this Word, as He Himself has said, “They shall be all taught of God” (John 6:45). Hope for nothing from your own labors, from your own understanding: trust solely in God, and in the influence of His Spirit. Believe this on the word of a man who has experience.
  • When I am assailed with heavy tribulations, I rush out among my pigs rather than remain alone by myself. The human heart is like a millstone in a mill: when you put wheat under it, it turns and grinds and bruises the wheat to flour; if you put no wheat, it still grinds on, but then ’tis itself it grinds and wears away. So the human heart, unless it be occupied with some employment, leaves space for the devil, who wriggles himself in and brings with him a whole host of evil thoughts, temptations, and tribulations, which grind out the heart.
  • Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? The sun, the moon, and the stars have been worshiped. Shall we then pluck them out of the sky? …see how much he [God] has been able to accomplish through me, though I did no more than pray and preach. The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.
  • It hath been said, that there is of nothing so much in hell as of self-will. The which is true, for there is nothing else there than self-will, and if there were no self-will, there would be no Devil and no hell. When it is said that Lucifer fell from Heaven, and turned away from God and the like, it meaneth nothing else than that he would have his own will, and would not be at one with the Eternal Will. So was it likewise with Adam in Paradise. And when we say Self-will, we mean, to will otherwise than as the One and Eternal Will of God willeth.
  • Does it follow from: ‘turn ye’ that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from “‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart’ (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the ‘free-will’ does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power….But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: “if thou wilt turn,telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it…” 164
  • The fatuous idea that a person can be holy by himself denies God the pleasure of saving sinners. God must therefore first take the sledge-hammer of the Law in His fists and smash the beast of self-righteousness and its brood of self-confidence, self wisdom, and self-help. When the conscience has been thoroughly frightened by the Law it welcomes the Gospel of grace with its message of a Savior Who came-not to break the bruised reed nor to quench the smoking flax-but to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, and to grant forgiveness of sins to all the captives.
  • Whoever would like to cherish such adders and puny devils – who are the worst enemies of Christ and us all – to befriend them and to do them honour simply in order to be cheated, plundered, robbed, disgraced, and forced to howl and curse and suffer every kind of evil, to him I would commend the Jews. And if this is not enough, let him tell the Jews to use his mouth as a privy, or else crawl into the Jew’s hind parts, and there worship the holy thing, so as afterwards to be able to boast of having been merciful, and of having helped the Devil and his progeny to blaspheme our dear Lord.

 

 

Thomas Merton (quotes)

  • Whose silence are you?
  • Love is its own reward.
  • The root of war is fear.
  • Love is our true destiny.
  • A daydream is an evasion.
  • Love is its own reward….
  • Today will never come again.
  • Love is the door to eternity.
  • We do not exist for ourselves.
  • To be a saint is to be yourself.
  • The gate of heaven is everywhere.
  • Take more time, cover less ground.
  • Perhaps I am stronger than I think.
  • The goal of fasting is inner unity.
  • Love is an intensification of life.
  • The end of the world will be legal.
  • Our real journey in life is interior.
  • Humility is a virtue, not a neurosis.
  • When ambition ends, happiness begins.
  • Love is a special way of being alive.
  • Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.
  • Lovely morning! How lovely life can be!
  • For me to be a saint means to be myself.
  • The only unhappiness is not to love God.
  • Love winter when the plant says nothing.
  • It might be good to open our eyes and see.
  • We love the things we pretend to laugh at.
  • The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
  • Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty.
  • Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.
  • My best writing has always been in journals.
  • You are made in the image of what you desire.
  • If you have love you will do all things well.
  • Love is perfect in proportion to it’s freedom.
  • Thinking prevents the unconscious from speaking.
  • Music and art and poetry attune the soul to God.
  • Infinite sharing is the law of God s inner life.
  • The biggest disease in North America is busyness.
  • We are already ONE. We just think we are separate.
  • The speech of God is silence. His Word is solitude.
  • A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book.
  • To be unknown to God is altogether too much privacy.
  • Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
  • The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.
  • Action is the stream, and contemplation is the spring.
  • When you see God in everyone, then they see God in you.
  • No one is so wrong as the man who knows all the answers.
  • There is a logic of language and a logic of mathematics.
  • The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.
  • Life reveals itself to us only in so far as well live it.
  • A faith that is afraid of other people is no faith at all.
  • You cannot be a man of faith unless you know how to doubt.
  • The least of the work of learning is done in the classroom.
  • A faith that is afraid of other people is not faith at all.
  • The only way to make a man worthy of love is by loving him.
  • A man who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly.
  • My spiritual goal is to one day walk into God and disappear.
  • The biggest human temptation is… to settle for too little.
  • Teach me to go to the country beyond words and beyond names.
  • The purpose of our lives is to find the purpose of our lives.
  • Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.
  • To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything.
  • Violence is not completely fatal until it ceases to disturb us.
  • What I wear is pants. What I do is live. How I pray is breathe.
  • What I do is live, how I pray is breathe, what I wear is pants.
  • In Silence God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience.
  • I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
  • The great thing, and the only thing, is to adore and praise GOD.
  • How far have I to go to find you in whom I have already arrived.
  • Happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found.
  • We stumble and fall constantly, even when we are most enlightened.
  • God, my God, the night has values that the day never dreamed of.
  • The problem today is that there are no deserts, only dude ranches.
  • Man was made for the highest activity, which is, in fact, his rest,
  • Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all others.
  • Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
  • Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.
  • To hope is to risk frustration. Make up your mind to risk frustration.
  • We cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great.
  • The man of faith who has never experienced doubt is not a man of faith.
  • God, have mercy on me in the blindness in which I hope I am seeking You!
  • Zen insight is not our awareness, but Being’s awareness of itself in us.
  • The closer we are to God, the closer we are to those who are close to him.
  • We must slow down to a human tempo and we’ll begin to have time to listen.
  • If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.
  • We must slow down to a human tempo and we’ll begin to have time to listen.
  • The imagination should be allowed a certain amount of time to browse around.
  • In the end, it’s the reality of personal realtionships that save everything.
  • Wheels of fire, cosmic, rich, full-bodied honest victories over desperation.
  • If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.
  • While some men see ordinary happenings, others see divine light and guidance.
  • If we seek paradise outside ourselves, we cannot have paradise in our hearts.
  • Meditation is one of the ways in which the spiritual man keeps himself awake.
  • Do not be one of those who, rather than risk failure, never attempts anything.
  • … but any fool knows that you don’t need money to get enjoyment out of life.
  • Every other man is a piece of myself, for I am a part and a member of mankind.
  • Conscience is the light by which we interpret the will of God in our own lives.
  • To be ordinary is not a choice: It is the usual freedom of men without visions.
  • The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.
  • The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly
  • In the spiritual life there is no such thing as an indifference to love or hate.
  • Duty does not have to be dull. Love can make it beautiful and fill it with life.
  • Contemplation is the loving sense of this life, this presence and this eternity.
  • When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.
  • Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
  • Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand.
  • Every breath we draw is a gift of God’s love; every moment of existence is a grace.
  • Charity is without fear: having given all that it has, it has nothing left to lose.
  • Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.
  • We are obliged to love one another. We are not strictly bound to “like” one another.
  • If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.
  • A man searching for enlightenment is like a man sitting on an Ass in search of an Ass
  • Our whole life is a meditation of our last decision – the only decision that matters.
  • Christ is born to us today, in order that he may appear to the whole world through us.
  • Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more.
  • To worship our false selves is to worship nothing. And the worship of nothing is hell.
  • God Himself begins to live in me not only as my Creator but as my other and true self.
  • Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.
  • Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
  • God has brought me to Kentucky…the precise place he has chosen for my sanctification.
  • Because of their enmity you will be left alone. They will cast you out and forsake you.
  • There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
  • The meaning of life is found in openness to being and “being present” in full awareness.
  • In our creation, God asked a question and in our truly living; God answers the question.
  • Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.
  • Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.
  • Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God.
  • The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.
  • Love not only prefers the good of another to my own, but it does not even compare the two.
  • You are certainly one of the joys of life for all who have ever come within a mile of you.
  • But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question.
  • People have no idea what one saint can do: for sanctity is stronger than the whole of hell.
  • If Zen has any preference it is for glass that is plain, has no color, and is “just glass.”
  • Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
  • Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already I am.
  • We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.
  • To find love I must enter into the sanctuary where it is hidden, which is the mystery of God.
  • Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us and see the beauty in ordinary things.
  • Grains of error planted innocently in a well-kept greenhouse can become giant poisonous trees.
  • The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence — it is unshakeable
  • Love is free; it does not depend on the desirability of its object, but loves for love’s sake.
  • There is not true intimacy between souls who do not know how to respect one another’s solitude.
  • The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence, it is unshakeable
  • True happiness is found in unselfish Love, A love which increases in proportion as it is shared.
  • I have learned that one cannot truly know hope unless he has found out how like despair hope is.
  • Actions are the doors and windows of being. Unless we act, we have no way of knowing what we are.
  • A Christian is committed to the belief that Love and Mercy are the most powerful forces on earth.
  • Gratitude takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder.
  • There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.
  • Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.
  • Prayer is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him…who loves us, who is near to us.
  • The degradation of the sense of symbol in modern society is one of its many signs of spiritual decay.
  • What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we cannot cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?
  • And that is why the man who wants to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey.
  • Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it.
  • love-why can’t you leave me alone? Which is a rhetorical question meaning: for heaven’s sake, don’t.
  • How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another man’s city?
  • A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.
  • A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless, than one that always verges on despair.
  • If we have not silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest God, does not bless our work.
  • Prayer is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him…who loves us, who is near to us…
  • Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn’t already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.
  • We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
  • Technology is not in itself opposed to spirituality and to religion. But it presents a great temptation.
  • The sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
  • Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.
  • Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.
  • I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.
  • Good moral actions are not enough. Everything in us, from the very depths, must be cleansed and reordered…
  • You pray best when the mirror of your soul is empty of every image except the Image of the Invisible Father.
  • If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity, we must first of all overcome the fear of not being loved.
  • The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.
  • It is in deep solitude and silence that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brother and sister.
  • The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.
  • A gentle sense of humor will be alert to detect anything that savors of a pious ‘act’ on the part of the penitent.
  • Violence is essentially wordless. and it can begin only where thought and rational communication have broken down.
  • I shall lead you through the loneliness, the solitude you will not understand; but it is my shortcut to your soul.
  • The simplest and most effective way to sanctity is to disappear into the background of ordinary every day routine.
  • May God prevent us from becoming “right-thinking men”-that is to say men who agree perfectly with their own police.
  • Ash Wednesday is full of joy…The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.
  • The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear.
  • People are in a hurry to magnify themselves by imitating what is popular- and too lazy to think of anything better.
  • The center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth.
  • For although God is right with us and in us and out of us and all through us, we have to go on journeys to find him.
  • The truth never becomes clear as long as we assume that each one of us, individually, is the center of the universe.
  • There is a subtle but inescapable connection between the “sacred” attitude and the acceptance of one’s in most self.
  • We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of men and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.
  • If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all.
  • The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds
  • When you reread your journal you find out that your newest discovery is something you already found out five years ago.
  • It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.
  • 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?
  • We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of others and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.
  • The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the other…. The whole purpose of life is to live by love.
  • The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
  • True encounter with Christ liberates something within us, a power we did not know we had, a capacity to grow and change.
  • He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.
  • 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.
  • I myself am part of the weather and part of the climate and part of the place … It is certainly part of my life of prayer.
  • The sacred attitude is, then, one of deep and fundamental respect for the real in whatever new form it may present itself.
  • The solution of the problem of life is life itself. Life is not attained by reason and analysis but first of all by living.
  • In the devil’s theology, the important thing is to be absolutely right and to prove that everybody else is absolutely wrong.
  • Our happiness consists in sharing the happiness of God, the perfection of His unlimited freedom, the perfection of His love.
  • The Holy Spirit is the most perfect gift of the Father to men, and yet He is the one gift which the Father gives most easily.
  • Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves.
  • For perfect hope is achieved on the brink of despair, when instead of falling over the edge, we find ourselves walking on air.
  • Prayer is an expression of who we are…We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment.
  • Our knowledge of God is perfected by gratiitude: we are thankful and rejoice in the experience of the truth that He is love…
  • Spread abroad the name of Jesus in humility and with a meek heart; show him your feebleness, and he will become your strength.
  • To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.
  • There was this shadow, this double, this writer who had followed me into the cloister. He rides my shoulders I cannot lose him.
  • For our duties and our needs, in all the fundamental things for which we were created, come down in practice to the same thing.
  • For the ones who are called saints by human opinion on earth may very well be devils, and their light may very well be darkness
  • May we all grow in grace and peace and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us.
  • The deepest of level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless … beyond speech … beyond concept.
  • Contemplative living is living in true relationship with oneself, God, others and nature, free of the illusions of separateness.
  • Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.
  • Art is not an end in itself. It introduces the soul into a higher spiritual order, which it expresses and in some sense explains.
  • …love triumphs, at least in this life, not by eliminating evil once for all, but by resisting and overcoming it anew every day.
  • 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.
  • One might say I have decided to marry the silence of the forest. The sweet dark warmth of the whole world will have to be my wife.
  • 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.
  • Today the artist has inherited the combined functions of hermit, pilgrim, prophet, priest, shaman, sorcerer, soothsayer, alchemist.
  • Each individual Christian and each new age of the Church has to make this rediscovery, this return to the source of Christian life.
  • Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right.
  • Show us your Christ, Lady, after this our exile, yes: but show Him to us also now, show Him to us here, while we are still wanderers.
  • We refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation
  • Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable our nests get with all that metal in them.
  • Zen is consciousness unstructured by particular form or particular system, a trans-cultural, trans-religious, transformed consciousness.
  • The fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the wind, and join in the general Dance.
  • For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I cannot make the universe obey me. I cannot make other people conform to my own whims and fancies. I cannot make even my own body obey me.
  • We do not want to be beginners [at prayer]. but let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything but beginners, all our life!
  • Jesus lived and died in vain if He did not teach us to regulate the whole of life by the eternal law of love. Gandhi, quoted in Merton, p. 38
  • The only right way: to love and serve the man of the modern world, but not simply to succumb, with him, to all his illusions about the world.
  • An author in a Trappist monastery is like a duck in a chicken coop. And he would give anything in the world to be a chicken instead of a duck.
  • But 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 think I am living for.
  • 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.
  • The artistic experience, at its highest, was actually a natural analogue of mystical experience. It produced a kind of intuitive of perception.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is by desiring to grow in love that we receive the Holy Spirit, and the thirst for more charity is the effect of this more abundant reception.
  • 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.
  • Life is not accomplishing some special work but attaining to a degree of consciousness and inner freedom which is beyond all works and attainments.
  • 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.
  • Others can give you a name or a number, but they can never tell you who you really are. That is something you yourself can only discover from within.
  • 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.
  • Be still: There is no longer any need of comment. It was a lucky wind That blew away his halo with his cares, A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.
  • I have only one desire, and that is the desire for solitude-to disappear into God, to be submerged in His peace, to be lost in the secret of His Face.
  • 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.
  • Stop asking yourself questions that have no meaning. Or if they have, you’ll find out when you need to — find out both the questions and the answers.
  • We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God
  • I am earth, earth My heart’s love Bursts with hay and flowers. I am a lake of blue air In which my own appointed place Field and valley Stand reflected
  • Self-conquest is really self-surrender. Yet before we can surrender ourselves we must become ourselves. For no one can give up what he does not possess.
  • 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.
  • It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes.
  • In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline and peace. In such places love can blossom.
  • A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.
  • 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.
  • Love in fact is the spiritual life, and without it all the other exercises of the spirit, however lofty, are emptied of content and become mere illusions.
  • People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
  • Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast.
  • It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.
  • To love blindly is to love selfishly, because the goal of such love is not the real advantage of the beloved but only the exercise of love in our own souls.
  • The humble person receives praise the way a clean window takes the light of the sun. The truer and more intense the light is, the less you see of the glass.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by nonviolent methods most easily succumbs; activism and overwork.
  • Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.
  • What is the use of praying if at the very moment of prayer, we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to our prayer?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I can depend less and less on my own power and sense of direction…It is so strange to advance backwards and get where you are going in a totally unexpected way
  • The whole aim of Zen is not to make foolproof statements about experience, but to come to direct grips with reality without the mediation of logical verbalizing.
  • Everybody has an instinctive desire to do good things and avoid evil. But that desire is sterile as long as we have no experience of what it means to be good….
  • That is God’s call to us – simply to be people who are content to live close to him and to renew the kind of life in which the closeness is felt and experienced.
  • 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.
  • And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. it is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept.
  • A humble man is not afraid of failure. In fact, he is not afraid of anything, even himself, since perfect humility implies perfect confidence in the power of God.
  • We must be true inside, true to ourselves, before we can know a truth that is outside us. But we make ourselves true inside by manifesting the truth as we see it.
  • 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.
  • October is a fine and dangerous season in America. a wonderful time to begin anything at all. You go to college, and every course in the catalogue looks wonderful.
  • The evil in the world is all of our own making, and it proceeds entirely from our ruthless, senseless, wasteful, destructive, and suicidal neglect of our own being.
  • 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.
  • Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.
  • My God, I pray better to you by breathing and walking than by talking, just as in choir I sing best when I am thinking about something else, or better still, praying.
  • 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.
  • We cannot love ourselves unless we love others, and we cannot love others unless we love ourselves. But a selfish love of ourselves makes us incapable of loving others.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is my belief, that we should not be too sure of having found Christ in ourselves until we have found him also in that part of humanity that is most remote from our own.
  • 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.
  • Indeed, it is a kind of quintessence of pride to hate and fear even the kind and legitimate approval of those who love us! I mean, to resent it as a humiliating patronage.
  • 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.
  • For if I am to love truly and freely, I must be able to give something that is truly my own to another. If my heart does not first belong to me, how can I give it to another?
  • A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.
  • The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
  • The man who lives in division is living in death. He cannot find himself because he is lost; he has ceased to be a reality. The person he believes himself to be is a bad dream.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To Serve the God of Love one must be free, one must face the terrible responsibility of the decision to love in spite of all unworthiness whether in oneself or in one’s neighbor.
  • 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.
  • When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable.
  • The selfishness of an age that has devoted itself to the mere cult of pleasure has tainted the whole human race with an error that makes all our acts more or less lies against God.
  • 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.
  • Grace is not a strange, magic substance which is subtly filtered into our souls to act as a kind of spiritual penicillin. Grace is unity, oneness within ourselves, oneness with God.
  • The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ours is a time of anxiety because we have willed it to be so. Our anxiety is not imposed on us by force from outside. We impose it on our world and upon one another from within ourselves.
  • 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.
  • Love is not a matter of getting what you want. Quite the contrary. The insistence on always having what you want, on always being satisfied, on always being fulfilled, makes love impossible.
  • In an age where there is much talk about “being yourself,” I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody else.
  • To become attached to the experience of peace is to threaten the true and essential and vital union of our soul with God above sense and experience in the darkness of a pure and perfect love.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of a chill from within the marrow of your own life.
  • One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men.
  • The logic of the poet – that is, the logic of language or the experience itself – develops the way a living organism grows: it spreads out towards what it loves, and is heliotropic, like a plant.
  • The artist should preach nothing-not even his own autonomy. His art should speak its own truth, and in so doing it will be in harmony with every other kind of truth- moral, metaphysical, mystical.
  • In meditative prayer, one thinks and speaks not only with the mind and lips, but in a certain sense with one’s whole being… All good meditative prayer is a conversation of our entire self to God.
  • We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.
  • 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
  • One has to be alone, under the sky, Before everything falls into place and one finds his or her own place in the midst of it all. We have to have the humility to realize ourselves as part of nature.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The whole world has risen in Christ… If God is ‘all in all,’ then everything is in fact paradise, because it is filled with the glory and presence of God, and nothing is any more separated from God.
  • Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and joy you have not yet begun to live.
  • 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.
  • ….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.
  • The most awful tyranny is that of the proximate Utopia where the last sins are currently being eliminated and where, tomorrow, there will be no more sins because all the sinners will have been wiped out.
  • My life is … a mystery which I do not attempt to really understand, as though 1 were led by the hand in a night where I see nothing, but can fully depend on the love and protection of Him who guides me.
  • I suppose what makes me most glad is that we all recognize each other in this metaphysical space of silence and happening, and get some sense, for a moment, that we are full of paradise without knowing it.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Solitude is so necessary both for society and for the individual that when society fails to provide sufficient solitude to develop the inner life of the persons who compose it, they rebel and seek false solitudes.
  • We have the choice of two identities: the external mask which seems to be real…and the hidden, inner person who seems to us to be nothing, but who can give himself eternally to the truth in whom he subsists. (295)
  • 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.
  • Why do we have to spend our lives striving to be something that we would never want to be, if we only knew what we wanted? Why do we waste our time doing things which… are just the opposite of what we were made for?
  • Our real journey in life is interior; It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary to respond to that action.
  • 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.
  • The world as pure object is something that is not there. It is not a reality outside us for which we exist….It is a living and self-creating mystery of which I am myself a part, to which I am myself, my own unique door.
  • The only trouble is that in the spiritual life there are no tricks and no shortcuts. Those who imagine that they can discover spiritual gimmicks and put them to work for themselves usually ignore God’s will and his grace.
  • If there is no silence beyond and within the many words of doctrine, there is no religion, only a religious ideology. For religion goes beyond words and actions, and attains to the ultimate Truth only in silence and Love.
  • 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.
  • Humble people can do great things with uncommon perfection because they are no longer concerned about their own interests and their own reputation, and therefore they no longer need to waste their efforts in defending them.
  • The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.
  • God, Who is everywhere, never leaves us. Yet He seems sometimes to be present, sometimes to be absent. If we do not know Him well, we do not realize that He may be more present to us when He is absent than when He is present.
  • 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.
  • As long as I continue to take myself seriously, how can I consider myself a saint? How can I consider myself a contemplative? For the self I bother about does not really exist, never will, never did except in my own imagination.
  • It seems to me that the darkness that has troubled you … comes from one very serious source. Without wanting to be in conflict with the truth and with the will of God, we are actually going against God’s will and His teaching.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.
  • To be truly Catholic is not merely to be correct according to an abstractly universal standard of truth, but also and above all to be able to enter into the problems and the joys of all, to understand all, to be all things to all.
  • Nevertheless, the liturgy of Ash Wednesday is not focussed on the sinfulness of the penitent but on the mercy of God. The question of sinfulness is raised precisely because this is a day of mercy, and the just do not need a savior.
  • Thinking about monastic ideals is not the same as living up to them, but at any rate such thinking has an important place in a monk’s life, because you cannot begin to do anything unless you have some idea what you are trying to do.
  • 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 the violence of our times.
  • It is both dangerous and easy to hate man as he is because he is not what he ought to be. If we do not first respect what he is we will never suffer him to become what he ought to be: in our impatience we do away with him altogether.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One of the most important-and most neglected-elements in the beginning of the interior life is the ability to respond to reality, to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the splendour that is all around us.
  • You will never be able to have perfect interior peace and recollection unless you are detached even from the desire of peace and recollection. You will never be able to pray perfectly until you are detached from the pleasures of prayer.
  • 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.
  • 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 because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt
  • The Hindus are not looking for us to send them men who will build schools and hospitals, although those things are good and useful in themselves–and perhaps very badly needed in India: they want to know if we have any saints to send them.
  • 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.
  • The secret of my full identity is hidden in Him. He alone can make me who I am, or rather who I will be when at last I fully begin to be. But unless I desire this identity and work to find it with Him and in Him, the work will never be done
  • To desire Him to be merciful to us is to acknowledge Him as God. To seek His pity when we deserve no pity is to ask Him to be just with a justice so holy that it knows no evil and shows mercy to everyone who does not fly from Him in despair.
  • 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.
  • If our life is poured out in useless words, we will never hear anything, never become anything, and in the end, because we have said everything before we had anything to say, we shall be left speechless at the moment of our greatest decision.
  • a man can radically change his life and attain to a deeper meaning, a more perfect integration, a more complete fulfillment, a more total liberty of spirit than are possible in the routines of a purely active existence centered on money-making.
  • Curiously, the most serious religious people, or the most concerned scholars, those who constantly read the Bible as a matter of professional or pious duty, can often manage to evade a radically involved dialogue with the book they are questioning.
  • We assume that others are receiving the kind of appreciation we want for ourselves, and we proceed on the assumption that since we are not loveable as we are, we must become lovable under false pretenses, as if we were something better than we are.
  • The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.
  • Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success, and they are in such a hurry to get it that they cannot take time to be true to themselves. And when the madness is upon them, they argue that their very haste is a species of integrity.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For the sinful self is not my real self, it is not the self YOU have wanted for me, only the self that I have wanted : And I no longer want this false self. But now, Father, I come to You in your own Son’s self … and it is He Who Presents me to You.
  • If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that cannot be criticized, he will never be able to write anything that can be read. If you want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn.
  • The things I thought were so important — because of the effort I put into them — have turned out to be of small value. And the things I never thought about, the things I was never able to either to measure or to expect, were the things that mattered.
  • By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.
  • 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.
  • The monk in hiding himself from the world becomes not less than himself, not less of a person, but more of a person, more truly and perfectly himself: for his personality and individuality are perfected in their true order, the spiritual, interior order.
  • God must be allowed the right to speak unpredictably…. We must find him in our enemy, or we may lose him even in our friend. We must find him in the pagan or we will lose him in our own selves, substituting for his living presence an empty abstraction.
  • 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
  • Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
  • The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.
  • We do not pray for the sake of praying, but for the sake of being heard. We do not pray in order to listen to ourselves praying but in order that God may hear us and answer us. Also, we do not pray in order to receive just any answer: it must be God’s answer.
  • 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.
  • Every man becomes the image of the God he adores. He whose worship is directed to a dead thing becomes dead. He who loves corruption rots. He who loves a shadow becomes, himself, a shadow. He who loves things that must perish lives in dread of their perishing.
  • Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.
  • Every moment and every event of everyman’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men.
  • 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.
  • I seek to speak to you, in some way, as your own self. Who can tell what this may meanI myself do not know, but if you listen, things will be said that are perhaps not written in this book. And this will be due not to me but to the One who lives and speaks in both.
  • 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.
  • I am beginning to realize that “sanity” is no longer a value or an end in itself. If modern people were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of their absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be the possibility of their survival.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • From the moment you put a piece of bread in your mouth you are part of the world. Who grew the wheat? Who made the bread? Where did it come from? You are in relationship with all who brought it to the table. We are least separate and most in common when we eat and drink.
  • The things we really need come to us only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts we have to be open. In order to be open we have to renounce ourselves, in a sense we have to die to our image of ourselves, our autonomy, our fixation upon our self-willed identity.
  • The Lord did not create suffering. Pain and death came into the world with the fall of man. But after man had chosen suffering in preference to the joys of union with God, the Lord turned suffering itself into a way by which man could come to the perfect knowledge of God.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Weaknesses and deficiencies . . . 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.
  • 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.
  • In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers.
  • ..takes created things for ends in themselves, which they are not. The will that seeks rest in creatures for their own sake stops on the way to its true end, terminates in a value which does not exist, and thus frustrates all its deepest capacities for happiness and peace.
  • I came with the notion of perhaps saying something for monks and to monks of all religions because I am supposed to be a monk. … My dear brothers, WE ARE ALREADY ONE. BUT WE IMAGINE THAT WE ARE NOT. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are
  • 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 power can guarantee the interests of some men but it can never foster the good of man. Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all the others. Only love can attain and preserve the good of all. Any claim to build the security of all on force is a manifest imposture.
  • Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train.
  • 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 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.
  • For power can guarantee the interests of some men but it can never foster the good of man. Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all the others.  Only love can attain and preserve the good of all.  Any claim to build the security of all on force is a manifest imposture.
  • Peace cannot be built on exclusivism, absolutism, and intolerance. But neither can it be built on vague liberal slogans and pious programs gestated in the smoke of confabulation. There can be no peace on earth without the kind of inner change that brings man back to his “right mind.” p. 31
  • To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect on me is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishness is doomed to frustration centered as it is upon a lie. To live exclusively for myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my will as if I were a god.
  • To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect on me is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishness is doomed to frustration centered as it is upon a lie. To live exclusively for myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my will as if I were a god.
  • Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding.
  • It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves.
  • 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.
  • The silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love, and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world.
  • 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.
  • Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. Living is the constant adjustment of thought to life and life to thought in such a way that we are always growing, always experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new. Thus life is always new.
  • God has left sin in the world in order that there may be forgiveness: not only the secret forgiveness by which He Himself cleanses our souls, but the manifest forgiveness by which we have mercy on one another and so give expression to the fact that He is living, by His mercy, in our own hearts.
  • A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying [God]. It “consents,” so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree
  • Imagination has the creative task of making symbols, joining things together in such a way that they throw new light on each other and on everything around them. The imagination is a discovering faculty, a faculty for seeing relationships, for seeing meanings that are special and even quite new.
  • Imagination has the creative task of making symbols, joining things together in such a way that they throw new light on each other and on everything around them. The imagination is a discovering faculty, a faculty for seeing relationships, for seeing meanings that are special and even quite new.
  • Not only does silence give us a chance to understand ourselves better, to get a truer and more balanced perspective on our own lives in relation to the lives of others: silence makes us whole if we let it. Silence helps draw together the scattered and dissipated energies of a fragmented existence.
  • A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying [God]. It consents, so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree
  • The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!
  • Are they moved by a sense of human need for silence, for reflection, for inner seeking? So they want to get away from the noise and tension of modern life, at least for a little while, in order to relax their minds and wills and seek a blessed healing sense of inner unity, reconciliation, integration?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Very well, then: why are you attached to any one book, or to the words and ways of one saint when he himself tells you to let them go and walk in simplicity? To hang on to him as if to make a method of him is to contradict him and to go in the opposite direction to the one in which he would have you travel.
  • Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you are capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.
  • Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you are capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.
  • Surrender your own poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon.
  • The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a man’s life, to get behind the fa√ßade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Life consists in learning to live on one’s own, spontaneous, freewheeling: to do this one must recognize what is one’s own-be familiar and at home with oneself. This means basically learning who one is, and learning what one has to offer to the contemporary world, and then learning how to make that offering valid.
  • The only true liberty is in the service of that which is beyond all limits, beyond all definitions, beyond all human appreciation: that which is All, and which therefore is no limited or individual thing: The All is no-thing, for if it were to be a single thing separated from all other things, it would not be All.
  • 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.
  • It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them. It is pure affection, and filled with reverance for the solitude of others. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
  • It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as Gods will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe youtry to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as Gods will yourself!
  • Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.
  • Who is willing to be satisfied with a job that expresses all his limitations? He will accept such work only as a ‘means of livelihood’ while he waits to discover his ‘true vocation’. The world is full of unsuccessful businessmen who still secretly believe they were meant to be artists or writers or actors in the movies.
  • The lights of prayer that make us imagine we are beginning to be angels are sometimes only signs that we are finally beginning to be men. We do not have a high enough opinion of our own nature. We think we are at the gates of heaven and we are only just beginning to come into our own realm as free and intelligent beings.
  • It is a kind of pride to insist that 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 dependent, by His will, on material things, too.
  • I was not sure where I was going, and I could not see what I would do when I got [there]. But you saw further and clearer than I, and you opened the seas before my ship, whose track led me across the waters to a place I had never dreamed of, and which you were even then preparing to be my rescue and my shelter and my home.
  • In all His acts God orders all things, whether good or evil, for the good of those who know Him and seek Him and who strive to bring their own freedom under obedience to His divine purpose. All that is done by the will of God in secret is done for His glory and for the good of those whom He has chosen to share in His glory.
  • In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your piece of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist.
  • At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and 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 lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.
  • 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.
  • Detachment from things does not mean setting up a contradiction between ‘things’ and ‘God’ as if God were another thing and as if creatures were His rivals. We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God.
  • To be risen with Christ means not only that one has a choice and that one may live by a higher law – the law of grace and love – but that one must do so. The first obligation of the Christian is to maintain their freedom from all superstitions, all blind taboos and religious formalities, indeed from all empty forms of legalism.
  • When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but in the living of it, I can discover a form of prayer in which there is effectively no distraction. My whole life becomes a prayer. My whole silence is full of prayer. The world of silence in which I am immersed contributes to my prayer.
  • The desire to kill is like the desire to attack another with a red hot iron. I have to pick up the incandescent metal and burn my own hand while burning the other person. Hate itself is the seed of death in my own heart while it seeks death of another. Love is the seed of life in my own heart while it seeks the good of another.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • God utters me like a word containing a partial thought of him. A word will never be able to comprehend the voice that utters it. But if I am true to the concept that God utters in me, if I am true to the thought of Him that I was meant to embody, I shall be full of his actuality and find him everywhere in myself, and find myself nowhere.
  • Either you look at the universe as a very poor creation out of which no one can make anything or you look at your own life and your own part in the universe as infinitely rich, full of inexhaustible interest, opening out into infinite further possibilities for study and contemplation and interest and praise. Beyond all and in all is God.
  • My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me…you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will 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.
  • By my monastic life and vows I am saying no to all the concentration camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices, the economic tyrannies, and the whole socioeconomic apparatus which seems geared for nothing but global destruction in spite of all its fair words in favor of peace.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Our technological society has no longer any place in it for wisdom that seeks truth for its own sake, that seeks the fullness of being, that seeks to rest in an intuition of the very ground of all being. Without wisdom, the apparent opposition of action and contemplation, of work and rest, of involvement and detachment, can never be resolved.
  • I am beginning to realize that “sanity” is no longer a value or an end in itself. The “sanity” of modern man is about as useful to him as the huge bulk and muscles of the dinosaur. If he were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of his absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of his survival.
  • 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.
  • The land which thou goest to possess is not like the land of Egypt from whence thou camest out… For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord…Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near…Why do you spend money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which doth not satisfy you?
  • The thing about Zen is that it pushes contradictions to their ultimate limit where one has to choose between madness and innocence. 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.
  • We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the thing necessary for us-whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need
  • Zen enriches no one. There is no body to be found. The birds may come and circle for a while in the place where it is thought to be. But they soon go elsewhere. When they are gone, the “nothing,” the “no-body” that was there, suddenly appears. That is Zen. It was there all the time but the scavengers missed it, because it was not their kind of prey.
  • Contradictions have always existed in the soul of [individuals]. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.
  • 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 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 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 question of love is one that cannot be evaded. Whether or not you claim to be interested in it from the moment you are alive you are bound to be concerned with love because love is not just something that happens to you: It is a certain special way of being alive. Love is in fact an intensification of life a completeness a fullness a wholeness of life.
  • Teach me to take all grace / And spring it into blades of act, / Grow spears and sheaves of charity, / While each new instant, (new eternity) / Flowering with clean and individual circumstance, / Speaks me the whisper of [God’s] consecrating Spirit. / Then will obedience bring forth new Incarnations / Shining to God with the features of [the Lord’s] Christ.
  • As long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another, because this love is the resetting of a body of broken bones. Even saints cannot live with saints on this earth without some anguish. There are two things which men can do about the pain of disunion with other men. They can love or they can hate.
  • 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.
  • If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men–you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.
  • Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.
  • I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.
  • 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.
  • It is by the Holy Spirit that we love those who are united to us in Christ. The more plentifully we have received of the Spirit of Christ, the more perfectly we are able to love them: and the more we love them the more we receive the Spirit. It is clear, however, that since we love them by the Spirit Who is given to us by Jesus, it is Jesus Himself Who loves them in us.
  • I am willing to admit that some people might live there for years, or even a lifetime, so protected that they never sense the sweet stench of corruption that is all around them – the keen, thin scent of decay that pervades everything and accuses with a terrible accusation the superficial youthfulness, the abounding undergraduate noise, that fills those ancient buildings.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.
  • The danger of education, I have found, is that it so easily confuses means with ends. Worse than that, it quite easily forgets both and devotes itself merely to the mass production of uneducated gradtuates – people literaly unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade which they and their contemporaries have conspired to call “life”.
  • In order to find God in ourselves, we must stop looking at ourselves, stop checking and verifying ourselves in the mirror of our own futility, and be content to be in Him and to do whatever He wills, according to our limitations, judging our acts not in the light of our own illusions, but in the light of His reality which is all around us in the things and people we live with.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear Brothers [and Sisters], we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.
  • 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.
  • Our thought should not merely be an answer to what someone else has just said. Or what someone else might have said. Our interior world must be more than an echo of the words of someone else. There is no point in being a moon to somebody else’s sun, still less is there any justification for our being moons of one another, and hence darkness to one another, not one of us being a true sun.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • … Nothing resembles reality less than the photograph. Nothing resembles substance less than its shadow. To convey the meaning of something substantial you have to use not a shadow but a sign, not the limitation but the image. The image is a new and different reality, and of course it does not convey an impression of some object, but the mind of the subject; and that is something else again.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Merely to resist evil with evil by hating those who hate us and seeking to destroy them, is actually no resistance at all. It is active and purposeful collaboration in evil that brings the Christian into direct and intimate contact with the same source of evil and hatred which inspires the acts of his enemy. It leads in practice to a denial of Christ and to the service of hatred rather than love.
  • 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.
  • Each one of us has some kind of vocation. We are all called by God to share in His life and in His Kingdom. Each one of us is called to a special place in the Kingdom. If we find that place we will be happy. If we do not find it, we can never be completely happy. For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.
  • Our God…is a consuming fire. And if we, by love, become transformed into Him and burn as He burns, His fire will be our everlasting joy. But if we refuse His love and remain in the coldness of sin and opposition to Him and to other men then will His fire (by our own choice rather than His) become our everlasting enemy, and Love, instead of being our joy, will become our torment and our destruction.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In general, it can be said that no contemplative life is possible without ascetic self-discipline. One must learn to survive without the habit-forming luxuries which get such a hold on men today. I do not say that to be a contemplative one absolutely has to go without smoking or without alcohol, but certainly one must be able to use these things without being dominated by an uncontrolled need for them.
  • 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.
  • God, teach me to be satisfied with my own helplessness in the spiritual life. Teach me to be content with Your grace that comes to me in darkness and that works things I cannot see. Teach me to be happy that I can depend on You. To depend on You should be enough for an eternity of joy. To depend on You by itself ought to be infinitely greater than any joy which my own intellectual appetite could desire.
  • 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 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.
  • You have got me walking up and down all day under those trees, saying to me over and over again, “Solitude, solitude.” And You have turned around and thrown the world in my lap. You have told me, “Leave all things and follow me,” and then You have tied half of New York to my foot like a ball and chain. You have got me kneeling behind that pillar with my mind making a noise like a bank. Is that contemplation?
  • Perhaps peace is not, after all, something you work for, or ‘fight for.’ It is indeed ‘fighting for peace’ that starts all the wars. What, after all, are the pretexts of all these Cold War crises, but ‘fighting for peace?’ Peace is something you have or do not have. If you are yourself at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world. Then share your peace with everyone, and everyone will be at peace.
  • Creation was given to people as a clean window through which the light of God could shine into people’s souls. Sun and moon, night and day, rain, sea, the crops, the flowering tree, all these things were transparent. They spoke to people not of themselves but only of Him who made them. Nature was symbolic. But the progressive degradation of humans led them further and further from this truth. Nature became opaque.
  • The Bible is not primarily a written or printed text to be scrutinized in private, in a scholar’s study or a contemplative cell. It is a body of oral messages, announcements, prophecies, promulgations, recitals, histories, songs of praise, lamentations, etc., which are meant either to be uttered or at least read aloud, or chanted, or sung, or recited in a community convoked for the purpose of a living celebration.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Contemplation in the age of Auschwitz and Dachau, Solovky and Karaganda is something darker and more fearsome than contemplation in the age of the Church Fathers. For that very reason, the urge to seek a path of spiritual light can be a subtle temptation to sin. It certainly is sin if it means a frank rejection of the burden of our age, an escape into unreality and spiritual illusion, so as not to share the misery of other men.
  • Because You have called me here not to wear a label by which I can recognize myself and place myself in some kind of a category. You do not want me to be thinking about what I am, but about what You are. Or rather, You do not even want me to be thinking about anything much: for You would raise me above the level of thought. And if I am always trying to figure out what I am and where I am and why I am, how will that work be done?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is true that neither the ancient wisdoms nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone. They call for one another. Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and the material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man’s own pointless existence. (p. 4)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Memory is corrupted and ruined by a crowd of memories. If I am going to have a true memory, there are a thousand things that must first be forgotten. Memory is not fully itself when it reaches only into the past. A memory that is not alive to the present does not remember the here and now, does not remember its true identity, is not memory at all. He who remembers nothing but facts and past events, and is never brought back into the present, is a victim of amnesia.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is not humility to insist on being someone that you are not. It is as much as saying that you know better than God who you are and who you ought to be. How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another man’s city? How do you expect to reach your own perfection by leading somebody else’s life? His sanctity will never be yours; you must have the humility to work out your own salvation in a darkness where you are absolutely alone…
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I had refused to pay any attention to the moral laws upon which all our vitality and sanity depend: and so now I was reduced to the condition of a silly old woman, worrying about a lot of imaginary rules of health, standards of food-value, and a thousand minute details of conduct that were in themselves completely ridiculous and stupid, and yet which haunted me with vague and terrific sanctions. If I eat this, I may go out of my mind. If I do not eat that, I may die in the night.
  • 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.
  • Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed . . . I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
  • 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 of the sunshine, the truth of the rain, the truth of the fresh air, the truth of the wind in the trees. . . and if we allow ourselves to be benefited by the forms of truth that are readily accessible to us instead of rejecting them as “merely natural,” we will be in a better position to profit by higher forms of truth when they come our way.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Our Christian destiny is, in fact, a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. For our own idea of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being God gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are.
  • 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.
  • The reality that is present to us and in us: call it being…Silence. And the simple fact that by being attentive, by learning to listen (or recovering the natural capacity to listen) we can find ourself engulfed in such happiness that it cannot be explained: the happiness of being at one with everything in that hidden ground of Love for which there can be no explanations…. May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us.
  • 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.
  • Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Therefore, doing the Stations of the Cross was still more laborious than consoling, and required a sacrifice. It was much the same with all my devotions. They did not come easily or spontaneously, and they very seldom brought with them any strong sensible satisfaction. Nevertheless the work of performing them ended in a profound and fortifying peace: a peace that was scarcely perceptible, but which deepened and which, as my passions subsided, became more and more real, more and more sure, and finally stayed with me permanently.
  • If nothing that can be seen can either be God or represent Him to us as He is, then to find God we must pass beyond everything that can be seen and enter into darkness. Since nothing that can be heard is God, to find Him we must enter into silence. Since God cannot be imagined, anything our imagination tells us about Him is ultimately a lie and therefore we cannot know Him as He really is unless we pass beyond everything that can be imagined and enter into an obscurity without images and without the likeness of any created thing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To some men peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving. And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You must realize that it is the ordinary way of God’s dealings with us that our ideas do not work out speedily and efficiently as we would like them to. The reason for this is not only the loving wisdom of God, but also the fact that our acts have to fit into a great complex pattern that we cannot possibly understand. I have learned over the years that Providence is always a whole lot wiser than any of us, and that there are always not only good reasons, but the very best reasons for the delays and blocks that often seem to us so frustrating and absurd.
  • 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.
  • I have my own way to walk and for some reason or other Zen is right in the middle of it wherever I go. So there it is, with all its beautiful purposelessness, and it has become very familiar to me though I do not know “what it is.” Or even if it is an “it.” Not to be foolish and multiply words, I’ll say simply that it seems to me that Zen is the very atmosphere of the Gospels, and the Gospels are bursting with it. It is the proper climate for any monk, no matter what kind of monk he may be. If I could not breathe Zen I would probably die of spiritual asphyxiation.
  • 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.
  • The basic problem is not political, it is a-political 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.
  • First of all, although men have a common destiny, each individual also has to work out his own personal salvation for himself in fear and trembling. We can help one another to find the meaning of life no doubt. But 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. You cannot tell me who I am and I cannot tell you who you are. If you do not know your own identity, who is going to identify you?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Once you have grace,” I said to him, “you are free. Without it, you cannot help doing the things you know you should not do, and that you know you don’t really want to do. But once you have grace, you are free. When you are baptized, there is no power in existence that can force you to commit a sin-nothing that will be able to drive you to it against your own conscience. And if you merely will it, you will be free forever, because the strength will be given you, as much as you need, and as often as you ask, and as soon as you ask, and generally long before you ask for it, too.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

 

Thomas Aquinas (quotes)

  • Love follows knowledge.
  • Faith is God’s work within us.
  • Every cell in us worships God.
  • The soul is known by it’s acts.
  • Beware the man of a single book.
  • Beware of the person of one book.
  • Give, expecting nothing there of.
  • Unbelief is the greatest of sins.
  • Wonder is the desire of knowledge.
  • In the end, we know God as unknown.
  • There is no leisure about politics.
  • God answered the prayers of animals.
  • The things we love tell us who we are.
  • To love is to will the good of the other.
  • Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.
  • Christ was either liar, lunatic, or Lord!
  • Charity is love; not all love is charity.
  • Art is right reason in the doing of work.
  • The happy man in this life needs friends.
  • Better to illuminate than merely to shine.
  • Don’t ask who said it? Ask what they said.
  • You change people by delight, by pleasure.
  • Humility is the mark of a genuine disciple.
  • The things that we love tell us what we are.
  • Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.
  • Justice is in subjects as well as in rulers.
  • No man truly has joy unless he lives in love.
  • What does it take to become a saint? Will it.
  • The soul is perfected by knowledge and virtue.
  • Reason in man is rather like God in the world.
  • Grace does not destroy nature, it perfects it.
  • Faith does not quench desire, but inflames it.
  • God is never angry for His sake, only for ours.
  • Rarely affirm, seldom deny, always distinguish.
  • The light of faith makes us see what we believe.
  • The Angel’s bread is made the Bread of man today.
  • It is only God who creates. Man merely rearranges.
  • To love God is something greater than to know Him.
  • There can be no joy in living without joy in work.
  • A man’s heart is right when he wills what God wills.
  • Anything done against faith or conscience is sinful.
  • God destines us for an end beyond the grasp of reason.
  • To live well is to work well, to show a good activity.
  • When fear is excessive it can make many a man despair.
  • A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational.
  • In a false person, sacraments do not produce any effect.
  • Theology is taught by God, teaches God, and leads to God.
  • He who is dying of hunger must be fed rather than taught.
  • We can open our hearts to God, but only with Divine help.
  • To virginity is awarded the tribute of the highest beauty
  • Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.
  • Any error about creation also leads to an error about God.
  • Charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead.
  • Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.
  • All my words are but chaff next to the faith of a simple man.
  • God’s precepts are light to the loving, heavy to the fearful.
  • A man does not always choose what his guardian angel intends.
  • There is within every soul a thirst for happiness and meaning.
  • Grace renders us like God and a partaker of the divine nature.
  • Charity is the form, mover, mother and root of all the virtues.
  • To convert somebody go and take them by the hand and guide them.
  • One cannot use an evil action with reference to a good intention.
  • Faith will tell us Christ is present, When our human senses fail.
  • Venial sin becomes mortal sin when one approves it as an end. . .
  • Concerning perfect blessedness which consists in a vision of God.
  • The truth of the Christian faith surpasses the capacity of reason.
  • Sin is a spiritual illness; thus sinners are in need of salvation.
  • Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
  • There is nothing in your mind which wasn’t experienced before hand.
  • Good can exist without evil, whereas evil cannot exist without good.
  • By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.
  • True peace consists in not separating ourselves from the will of God.
  • We should love others truly, for their own sakes rather than our own.
  • There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
  • He who achieves power by violence does not truly become lord or master.
  • Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.
  • Nothing which implies contradiction falls under the omnipotence of God.
  • Characteristics which define beauty are wholeness, harmony and radiance.
  • Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of good wine.
  • The proper effect of the Eucharist is the transformation of man into God.
  • It must be said that charity can, in no way, exist along with mortal sin.
  • Whatever is received is received according to the nature of the recipient.
  • Miracles are signs not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.
  • Whenever God wakes in us, our thinking becomes clear – nothing is missing.
  • Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason.
  • Baptism is the door of the spiritual life and the gateway to the sacraments.
  • Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man’s own will.
  • All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly.
  • Without sanctifying grace it is not possible to refrain long from mortal sin.
  • Moral science is better occupied when treating of friendship than of justice.
  • Charity, by which God and neighbor are loved, is the most perfect friendship.
  • I cannot understand how anyone conscious of mortal sin can laugh or be merry.
  • All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said has its origin in the Spirit.
  • The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross.
  • If you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
  • There must be must be a first mover existing above all ‚Äì and this we call God.
  • Not everyone who is enlightened by an angel knows that he is enlightened by him.
  • Every truth without exception- and whoever may utter it- is from the Holy Spirit.
  • The celestial bodies are the cause of all that takes place in the sublunar world.
  • As the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods.
  • It is not possible to be ignorant of the end of things if we know their beginning.
  • Love is a binding force, by which another is joined to me and cherished by myself.
  • To disparage the dictate of reason is equivalent to contemning the command of God.
  • It is unlawful to add anything to the words of Holy Scripture regarding the sense.
  • He who does not embrace the teaching of the Church does not have the habit of faith.
  • The human mind may perceive truth only through thinking, as is clear from Augustine.
  • Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.
  • Perfection of moral virtue does not wholly take away the passions, but regulates them.
  • It would be superfluous to receive by faith, things that can be known by natural reason
  • Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.
  • It would seem that zeal is not an effect of love. For zeal is a beginning of contention.
  • Distinctions drawn by the mind are not necessarily equivalent to distinctions in reality.
  • Eternity is called whole, not because it has parts, but because it is lacking in nothing.
  • The greatness of the human being consists in this that it is capable of the universe.
  • Law; an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community
  • A scrap of knowledge about sublime things is worth more than any amount about trivialities.
  • The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.
  • If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.
  • Devotion is a certain act of the will by which man gives himself promptly to divine service.
  • Practical sciences proceed by building up; theoretical science by resolving into components.
  • How can we live in harmony? First we need to know we are all madly in love with the same God.
  • A song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice.
  • To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.
  • Nothing created has ever been able to fill the heart of man. God alone can fill it infinitely.
  • He who is drawn to something desirable does not desire to have it as a thought but as a thing.
  • For those with faith, no evidence is necessary; for those without it, no evidence will suffice.
  • It is a sin to regard the fact that God cannot do the impossible as a limitation on his powers.
  • Mistakes are made on two counts: an argument is either based on error or incorrectly developed.
  • The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us.
  • Whatever a man has in superabundance is owed, of natural right, to the poor for their sustenance.
  • God should not be called an individual substance, since the principle of individuation is matter.
  • So, to detract from the perfection of creatures is to detract from the perfection of divine power.
  • God has no need for our worship. It is we who need to show our gratitude for what we have received.
  • The splendor of a soul in grace is so seductive that it surpasses the beauty of all created things.
  • The custom of the Church has very great authority and ought to be jealously observed in all things.
  • This Blood that but one drop of has the power to win all the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
  • To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
  • The principal act of courage is to endure and withstand dangers doggedly rather than to attack them.
  • For although the will cannot be inwardly moved by any creature, yet it can be moved inwardly by God.
  • Law has the power to compel: indeed, the ability to enforce is a condition of the ability to command.
  • As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary.
  • There would not be a perfect likeness of God in the universe if all things were of one grade of being.
  • The Study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.
  • If, then, you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way.
  • Man is closer to God according to his existence in grace than he is according to his existence in nature.
  • A thing is lovable according as it is good. But God is infinite good. Therefore He is infinitely lovable.
  • Clearly the person who accepts the Church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the Church teaches.
  • He that obstinately denieth the truth before men upon earth, wilfully refuseth his soul’s health in heaven.
  • There being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.
  • Now, nothing can be brought from potentiality to actual existence except through something actually existing
  • I receive Thee ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil toiled preached and taught.
  • He suddenly announced that he could not write any more since “All that I have written seems like straw to me.”
  • Better to illuminate than merely to shine; to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.
  • It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.
  • The highest perfection of human life consists in the mind of man being detached from care, for the sake of God.
  • The minister to whom confession is made is the delegate of Christ, Who is the Judge of the living and the dead.
  • In the realm of evil thoughts none induces to sin as much as do thoughts that concern the pleasure of the flesh.
  • Because we cannot know what God is, but only what He is not, we cannot consider how He is but only how He is not.
  • Justice is a certain rectitude of mind whereby a man does what he ought to do in the circumstances confronting him.
  • The theologian considers sin mainly as an offence against God; the moral philosopher as contrary to reasonableness.
  • An act of love always tends towards two things; to the good that one wills, and to the person for whom one wills it.
  • The existence of a prime mover- nothing can move itself; there must be a first mover. The first mover is called God.
  • Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.
  • But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.
  • It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.
  • Jesus Lord, kind Pelican, Cleanse my filth with Thy blood, One drop of which can save The whole world from all its sin
  • God himself would not permit evil in this world if good did not come of it for the benefit and harmony of the universe.
  • Hold firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church.
  • The Blessed Eucharist is the perfect Sacrament of the Lord’s Passion, since It contains Christ Himself and his Passion.
  • One aspect of neighbourly love is that we must not merely will our neighbours good, but actually work to bring it about.
  • Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.
  • The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces.
  • All men are equal in nature, and also in original sin. It is in the merits and demerits of their actions that they differ.
  • Man has free choice, or otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards and punishments would be in vain.
  • Of all the pursuits open to men, the search for wisdom is most perfect, more sublime, more profitable, and more full of joy.
  • When the devil is called the god of this world, it is not because he made it, but because we serve him with our worldliness.
  • Pray thee, spare, thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.
  • Far graver is it to corrupt the faith that is the life of the soul than to counterfeit the money that sustains temporal life.
  • The proper task of the Savior is that he is a savior; indeed, for this he came into the world: to seek and save what was lost.
  • To pretend angels do not exist because they are invisible is to believe we never sleep because we don’t see ourselves sleeping.
  • Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.
  • Do not wish to jump immediately from the streams to the sea, because one has to go through easier things to the more difficult.
  • There is but one Church in which men find salvation, just as outside the ark of Noah it was not possible for anyone to be saved.
  • I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it. I would hope to act with compassion without thinking of personal gain.
  • If a man deliberately abstains from wine to such an extent that he does serious harm to his nature, he will not be free from blame.
  • The blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned, in order that their bliss be more delightful for them.
  • Likewise grace and glory are referred to the same genus, since grace is nothing other than a certain first beginning of glory in us.
  • It is a sin directly against one’s neighbour, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking them.
  • The Cross to me is certain salvation. The Cross is that which I ever adore. The Cross of the Lord is with me. The Cross is my refuge.
  • It is possible to demonstrate God’s existence, although not a priori, yet a posteriori from some work of His more surely known to us.
  • how unspeakable is this Sacrament which sets our affections ablaze with charity. … It is the fulfillment of Christ’s Mystical Body.
  • I cannot go on…. All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.
  • The servants of God…whether provoked by word or work, by keeping themselves tranquil and peaceful, evince a perfect nobleness of soul.
  • The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in His divinity, assumed our nature, so that He, made man, might make men gods.
  • saving Victim, opening wide The gate of heaven to man below, Our foes press on from every side, Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
  • I answer that, Even, as in the blessed in heaven there will be most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate.
  • The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.
  • It [covetousness] is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.
  • We can’t have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves.
  • Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.
  • Man should not consider his material possession his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need.
  • That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell.
  • Prostitution in the towns is like the cesspool in the palace; take away the cesspool and the palace will become an unclean and evil smelling-place.
  • God is not related to creatures as though belonging to a different “genus,” but as transcending every “genus,” and as the principle of all “genera.
  • Mary means Star of the sea, for as mariners are guided to port by the ocean star, so Christians attain to glory through Mary’s maternal intercession.
  • For in order that man may do well, whether in the works of the active life, or in those of the contemplative life, he needs the fellowship of friends.
  • Arrive at knowledge over small streamlets, and do not plunge immediately into the ocean, since progress must go from the easier to the more difficult.
  • For loving draws us more to things than knowing does, since good is found by going to the thing, whereas the true is found when the thing comes to us.
  • Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.
  • Being born he have himself as our Companion, Eating with us he gave himself as Food, Dying He became our Ransom, Reigning he gives himself as our Reward
  • Bestow upon me, O Lord my God, understanding to know thee, diligence to seek thee, wisdom to find thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee.
  • The knowledge of God is the cause of things. For the knowledge of God is to all creatures what the knowledge of the artificer is to things made by his art.
  • First, I say that he draws near to those who make peace with him. For God is the One who brings about peace; and where else should peace dwell than in peace?
  • In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign… Secondly, a just cause… Thirdly… a rightful intention.
  • How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.
  • Sloth is sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good…it is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds.
  • If forgers and malefactors are put to death by the secular power, there is much more reason for excommunicating and even putting to death one convicted of heresy.
  • Love must precede hatred, and nothing is hated save through being contrary to a suitable thing which is loved. And hence it is that every hatred is caused by love.
  • We are like children, who stand in need of masters to enlighten us and direct us; God has provided for this, by appointing his angels to be our teachers and guides.
  • Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.
  • By the divine providence [animals] are intended for man’s use… Hence it is not wrong for man to make use of them, either by killing or in any other way whatsoever.
  • An angel can illumine the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision and by bringing within his reach some truth which the angel himself contemplates.
  • The same fire” (which he decides to be material) ” torments the damned in hell and the just in purgatory…The least pain in purgatory exceeds the greatest in this life.
  • See to whom Jesus is drawing near, three kinds of people: to those who make peace with him, to those who are devoted to God, and to those who are kind to their neighbors.
  • Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
  • To the Everlasting Father, And the Son who made us free And the Spirit, God proceeding From them Each eternally, Be salvation, honour, blessing, Might and endless majesty.
  • Gods are called many by the error of some who worshipped many deities, thinking as they did the planets and other stars were gods, and also the separate parts of the world.
  • To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.
  • Wonder was the motive that led people to philosophy … wonder is a kind of desire in knowledge. It is the cause of delight because it carries with it the hope of discovery.
  • The Bread of angels has become the Bread of mankind; This heavenly Bread puts an end to all images; O wonderful reality! The poor, the slave, and the humble can eat the Lord.
  • We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.
  • The fire of hell is called eternal, only because it never ends. Still, there is change in the pains of the lost… Hence in hell true eternity does not exist, but rather time.
  • The soul, which is the first principle of life, is not a body, but the act of a body; just as heat, which is the principle of calefaction, is not a body, but an act of a body.
  • One will observe that all things are arranged according to their degrees of beauty and excellence, and that the nearer they are to God, the more beautiful and better they are.
  • If a thing can be done adequately by means of one, it is superfluous to do it by means of several; for we observe that nature does not employ two instruments [if] one suffices.
  • Here ‘neath veils, my Saviour darkly I behold; To my thirsting spirit all thy light unfold; Face to face in heaven let me come to thee, And the blessed vision of thy glory see.
  • The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.
  • Beauty adds to goodness a relation to the cognitive faculty: so that “good” means that which simply pleases the appetite; while the “beautiful” is something pleasant to apprehend.
  • Obedience unites us so closely to God that it in a way transforms us into Him, so that we have no other will but His. If obedience is lacking, even prayer cannot be pleasing to God.
  • Down in adoration falling, Lo! the sacred Host we hail; Lo! o’er ancient forms departing, Newer rites of grace prevail; Faith for all defects supplying, Where the feeble senses fail.
  • Affirmative precepts are distinguished from negative whenever one is not comprised in the other; thus, that of honoring parents does not comprise that of not killing, and vice versa.
  • There is, therefore, a more perfect intellectual life in the angels. In them the intellect does not proceed to self-knowledge from anything exterior, but knows itself through itself.
  • Godhead here in hiding, whom I adore Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more, See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art
  • Thus Angels’ Bread is made The Bread of man today: The Living Bread from Heaven With figures doth away: O wondrous gift indeed! The poor and lowly may Upon their Lord and Master feed.
  • Angels transcend every religion, every philosophy, every creed. In fact Angels have no religion as we know it… Their existence precedes every religious system that has ever existed on Earth.
  • Baptism is the Sacrament of Faith. Now, dead faith does not suffice for salvation .. .Therefore, the Sacrament of Baptism cannot give salvation to a man whose will … expels the form of faith.
  • Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.
  • Every judgement of conscience, be it right or wrong, be it about things evil in themselves or morally indifferent, is obligatory, in such wise that he who acts against his conscience always sins.
  • Love works in a circle, for the beloved moves the lover by stamping a likeness, and the lover then goes out to hold the beloved inreality. Who first was the beginning now becomes the end of motion.
  • Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory, Of His Flesh, the mystery sing; Of the Blood, all price exceeding, Shed by our Immortal King, Destined, for the world’s redemption, From a noble Womb to spring.
  • Anger and the like are attributed to God on account of a similitude of effect. Thus, because to punish is properly the act of an angry man, God’s punishment is metaphorically spoken of as His anger.
  • Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace.
  • It is necessary to posit something which is necessary of itself, and has no cause of its necessity outside of itself but is the cause of necessity in other things. And all people call this thing God.
  • The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.
  • Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works.
  • He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
  • We set forth our petitions before God, not in order to make known to Him our needs and desires, but rather so that we ourselves may realize that in these things it is necessary to turn to God for help.
  • Because of the diverse conditions of humans, it happens that some acts are virtuous to some people, as appropriate and suitable to them, while the same acts are immoral for others, as inappropriate to them.
  • The human race was in need of salvation because of the perversity of sin. For when people who are ill are cured from their illness, they are called “saved.” Therefore, the Lord says: “Your faith has saved you.
  • It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another’s property in a case of extreme need: because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need
  • We ought to cherish the body. Our body’s substance is not from an evil principle, as the Manicheans imagine, but from God. And therefore, we ought to cherish the body by the friendship of love, by which we love God.
  • “The Jews should not be allowed to keep what they have obtained from others by usury; it were best that they were compelled to worked so that they could earn their living instead of doing nothing but becoming avaricious.”
  • Since faith rests upon infallible truth, and since the contrary of a truth can never be demonstrated, it is clear that the arguments brought against faith cannot be demonstrations, but are difficulties that can be answered.
  • The meaning of what is said is according to the motive for saying it: because things are not subject to speech, but speech to things. Therefore we should take account of the motive of the lawgiver, rather than of his very words.
  • .. the motion of the earth were circular, it would be violent and contrary to nature, and could not be eternal, since … nothing violent is eternal …. It follows, therefore, that the earth is not moved with a circular motion.
  • Man can sin against nature in two ways. First, when he sins against his specific rational nature, acting contrary to reason. In this sense, we can say that every sin is a sin against man’s nature, because it is against man’s right reason.
  • The last end of every maker, as such, is himself, for what we make we use for our own sake; and if at any time a man make a thing for the sake of something else, it is referred to his own good, whether his use, his pleasure, or his virtue.
  • For it is necessary in every practical science to proceed in a composite (i.e. deductive) manner. On the contrary in speculative science, it is necessary to proceed in an analytical manner by breaking down the complex into elementary principles.
  • As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power.
  • A man should remind himself that an object of faith is not scientifically demonstrable, lest presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, he should produce inconclusive reasons and offer occasion for unbelievers to scoff at a faith based on such ground.
  • Right faith is of necessity required for Baptism, since it is said: “the justice of God is by faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22) … Therefore, Baptism without faith avails nothing and thus we must recall that without faith no one is acceptable to God.
  • It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills.
  • Those who are more adapted to the active life can prepare themselves for contemplation in the practice of the active life, while those who are more adapted to the contemplative life can take upon themselves the works of the active life so as to become yet.
  • If all the sins of the flesh are worthy of condemnation because by them man allows himself to be dominated by that which he has of the animal nature, much more deserving of condemnation are the sins against nature by which man degrades his own animal nature.
  • The image of God always abides in the soul, whether this image be obsolete and clouded over as to amount to almost nothing; or whether it be obscured or disfigured, as is the case with sinners; or whether it be clear and beautiful as is the case with the just.
  • The apostles and their successors are God’s vicars in governing the Church which is built on faith and the sacraments of faith. Wherefore, just as they may not institute another Church, so neither may they deliver another faith, nor institute other sacraments.
  • To be united to God in unity of person was not fitting to human flesh, according to its natural endowments, since it was above his dignity; nevertheless, it was fitting that God, by reason of his infinite goodness, should unite it to himself for human salvation.
  • Now it seems that everything in the world stems from sources other than God, since the products of nature have their source in nature; deliberate effects can be traced back to human reason or will as their source. There is no need then to assume that God exists.
  • To restore man, who had been laid low by sin, to the heights of divine glory, the Word of the eternal Father, though containing all things within His immensity, willed to become small. This He did not by putting aside His greatness but by taking to Himself our littleness.
  • Baptism is not to be conferred on a man who is unwilling to give up his other sins, so neither should Baptism be given to one who is unwilling to renounce his unbelief. Nevertheless, each of them receives the Sacrament if it is conferred on him, although not unto salvation.
  • The fact that the evil ones, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement.
  • In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.
  • For just as the first general precepts of the law of nature are self-evident to one in possession of natural reason, and have no need of promulgation, so also that of believing in God is primary and self-evident to one who has faith: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is.
  • If someone knows from experience that daily Communion increases fervor without lessening reverence, then let him go every day. But if someone finds that reverence is lessened and devotion not much increased, then let him sometimes abstain, so as to draw near afterwards with better dispositions.
  • If anyone without the right faith receives Baptism outside the Church, he does not receive it unto salvation … From the comparison of the Church to Paradise, we learn that men can receive her Baptism even outside her fold, but that out there no one can receive or keep the salvation of the blessed.
  • Even as in the blessed in heaven there will be most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate. Wherefore as the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods. Consequently the sight of the happiness of the saints will give them very great pain.
  • The world of pure spirits stretches between the divine nature and the world of human beings; because divine wisdom has ordained that the higher should look after the lower, angels execute the divine plan for human salvation: they are our guardians, who free us when hindered and help to bring us home.
  • It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word “God” means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.
  • They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil.
  • Just as in one man there is one soul and one body, yet many members; even so the Catholic Church is one body, having many members. The soul that quickens this body is the Holy Spirit; and therefore in the Creed after confessing our belief in the Holy Spirit, we are bid to believe in the Holy Catholic Church.
  • Natural inclinations are present in things from God, who moves all things. So it is impossible for the natural inclinations of a species to be toward evil in itself. But there is in all perfect animals a natural inclination toward carnal union. Therefore it is impossible for carnal union to be evil in itself.
  • Just as a man cannot live in the flesh unless he is born in the flesh, even so a man cannot have the spiritual life of grace unless he is born again spiritually. This regeneration is effected by Baptism: “Unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn 3:5)
  • A person is disposed to an act of choice by an angel … in two ways. Sometimes, a man’s understanding is enlightened by an angel to know what is good, but it is not instructed as to the reason why … But sometimes he is instructed by angelic illumination, both that this act is good and as to the reason why it is good.
  • The perfection of the effect demonstrates the perfection of the cause, for a greater power brings about a more perfect effect. But God is the most perfect agent. Therefore, things created by Him obtain perfection from Him. So, to detract from the perfection of creatures is to detract from the perfection of divine power.
  • Without doubt one is allowed to resist against the unjust aggressor to one’s life, one’s goods or one’s physical integrity; sometimes, even ’til the aggressor’s death… In fact, this act is aimed at preserving one’s life or one’s goods and to make the aggressor powerless. Thus, it is a good act, which is the right of the victim.
  • Future contingents cannot be certain to us, because we know them as such. They can be certain only to God whose understanding is in eternity above time. Just as a man going along a road does not see those who come after him; but the man who sees the whole road from a height sees all those who are going along the road at the same time.
  • Even as he would be guilty of falsehood who would, in the name of another person, proffer things that are not committed to him, so too does a man incur the guilt of falsehood who, on the part of the Church, gives worship to God contrary to the manner established by the Church or divine authority, and according to ecclesiastical custom.
  • Whatever was in the human nature of Christ was moved at the bidding of the divine will; yet it does not follow that in Christ there was no movement of the will proper to human nature, for the good wills of other saints are moved by God’s will… For although the will cannot be inwardly moved by any creature, yet it can be moved inwardly by God.
  • Whatever a man has in superabundance is owed, of natural right, to the poor for their sustenance. So Ambrosius says, and it is also to be found in the Decretum Gratiani: The bread which you withhold belongs to the hungry: the clothing you shut away, to the naked: and the money you bury in the earth is the redemption and freedom of the penniless.
  • Charity is not a potency of the soul, because if it were it would be natural. Nor is it a passion, because it is not in a sensitive potency in which are all passions. Nor is it a habit, because a habit is removed with difficulty; charity, however, is easily lost through one act of mortal sin. Therefore charity is not something created in the soul.
  • Secondly, man sins against nature when he goes against his generic nature, that is to say, his animal nature. Now, it is evident that, in accord with natural order, the union of the sexes among animals is ordered towards conception. From this it follows that every sexual intercourse that cannot lead to conception is opposed to man’s animal nature.
  • The magnitude of the punishment matches the magnitude of the sin. Now a sin that is against God is infinite; the higher the person against whom it is committed, the graver the sin-it is more criminal to strike a head of state than a private citizen-and God is of infinite greatness. Therefore an infinite punishment is deserved for a sin committed against Him.
  • It is altogether unlawful to kill oneself… Wherefore suicide is contrary to the inclination of nature, and to charity whereby every man should love himself… Life is God’s gift to man, and is subject to His power, Who kills and makes to live. Hence whoever takes his own life, sins against God… for it belongs to God alone to pronounce sentence of death and life.
  • One day when Thomas Aquinas was preaching to the local populace on the love of God, he saw an old woman listening attentively to his every word. And inspired by her eagerness to learn more about her God whom she loved so dearly, he said to the people: It is better to be this unlearned woman, loving God with all her heart, than the most learned theologian lacking love.
  • Good and evil are essential differences of the act of the will. For good and evil pertain essentially to the will; just as truth and falsehood pertain to the reason, the act of which is distinguished essentially by the difference of truth and falsehood (according as we say that an opinion is true or false.) Consequently, good and evil volition are acts differing in species.
  • Pain itself can be pleasurable accidentally in so far as it is accompanied by wonder, as in stage-plays; or in so far as it recalls a beloved object to one’s memory, and makes one feel one’s love for the thing, whose absence gives us pain. Consequently, since love is pleasant, both pain and whatever else results from love, in so far as they remind us of our love, are pleasant.
  • If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth.
  • The greater the charity of the Saints in their heavenly home, the more they intercede for those who are still on their journey and the more they can help them by their prayers; the more they are united with God, the more effective those prayers are. This is in accordance with Divine order, which makes higher things react upon lower things, like the brightness of the sun filling the atmosphere.
  • Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • What can be accomplished by a few principles is not effected by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle, which is nature, and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle, which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God’s existence.
  • Given the sin of impiety through which they [the Romans] sinned against the divine nature [by idolatry], the punishment that led them to sin against their own nature followed…. I say, therefore, that since they changed into lies [by idolatry] the truth about God, He brought them to ignominious passions, that is, to sins against nature; not that God led them to evil, but only that he abandoned them to evil.
  • For creation is not a change, but that dependence of the created existence on the principle from which it is instituted, and thus is of the genus of relation; whence nothing prohibits it being in the created as in the subject. Creation is thus said to be a kind of change, according to the way of understanding, insofar as our intellect accepts one and the same thing as not existing before and afterwards existing.
  • It would seem that the ingratitude, whereby a subsequent sin causes the return of sins previously forgiven, is a special sin. For, the giving of thanks belongs to counter passion, which is a necessary condition of justice. But justice is a special virtue. Therefore this ingratitude is a special sin. Thanksgiving is a special virtue. But ingratitude is opposed to thanksgiving. Therefore ingratitude is a special sin.
  • It must be understood that prime matter, and form as well, is neither generated nor corrupted, because every generation is from something to something. Now that from which generation proceeds is matter, and that to which it proceeds is form. So that, if matter or form were generated, there would be a matter for matter and a form for form, endlessly. Whence, there is generation only of the composite, properly speaking.
  • One faith, St. Paul writes (Eph. 4:5). Hold most firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church … We must hold this for certain, namely: that the faith of the people at the present day is one with the faith of the people in past centuries. Were this not true, then we would be in a different church than they were in and, literally, the Church would not be One.
  • …[sacred] doctrine is especially based upon arguments from authority, inasmuch as its principles are obtained by revelation: thus we ought to believe on the authority of those to whom the revelation has been made. Nor does this take away from the dignity of this doctrine, for although the argument from authority based on human reason is the weakest, yet the argument from authority based on divine revelation is the strongest.
  • [It is appropriate that the Body and Blood of Christ be truly present in this Sacrament] because of the perfection of the New Covenant. The sacrifices of the Old Covenant contained the true sacrifice of Christ’s Passion only in symbol….Therefore it was necessary that the sacrifice of the New Covenant, instituted by Christ, have something more, namely, that it contain Christ Himself who has suffered and contain Him not only in symbol but in reality.
  • Because the divine goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, God produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting in one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another. For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided.  Thus the whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly and represents it better than any single creature.
  • If there were some solitary or feral man, the passions of the soul would be sufficient for him; by them he would be conformed to things in order that he might have knowledge of them. But because man is naturally political and social, there is need for one man to make his conceptions known to others, which is done with speech. So significant speech was needed if men were to live together. Which is why those of different tongues do not easily live together.
  • Just as in a physical body the operation of one member contributes to the good of the whole body, so it is in a spiritual body such as the Church. And since all the faithful are one body, the good of one member is communicated to another; everyone members, as the Apostle says, of one another [Eph 4:25]. For that reason, among the points of faith handed down by the Apostles, is that there is a community of goods in the Church, and this is expressed in the words Communion of Saints.
  • It is due to neither impotence nor ignorance on God‚Äôs part that evils occur in the world, but it is owing to the order of his wisdom and to the greatness of his goodness, whence come the many and divers grades of goodness in things, many of which would be lacking were he to allow no evil to exist. Thus there would be no good of patience without the evil of persecution, nor the good of the preservation of its life in a lion, without the evil of the destruction of the animals on which it lives.
  • The Sacrament of the Body of the Lord puts the demons to flight, defends us against the incentives to vice and to concupiscence, cleanses the soul from sin, quiets the anger of God, enlightens the understanding to know God, inflames the will and the affections with the love of God, fills the memory with spiritual sweetness, confirms the entire man in good, frees us from eternal death, multiplies the merits of a good life, leads us to our everlasting home, and re-animates the body to eternal life
  • Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189 Some there are who presume so far on their wits that they think themselves capable of measuring the whole nature of things by their intellect, in that they esteem all things true which they see, and false which they see not. Accordingly, in order that man’s mind might be freed from this presumption, and seek the truth humbly, it was necessary that certain things far surpassing his intellect should be proposed to man by God.
  • Evil denotes the lack of good. Not every absence of good is an evil, for absence may be taken either in a purely negative or in aprivative sense. Mere negation does not display the character of evil, otherwise nonexistents would be evil and moreover, a thing would be evil for not possessing the goodness of something else, which would mean that man is bad for not having the strength of a lion or the speed of a wild goat. But what is evil is privation; in this sense blindness means the privation of sight.
  • Behold our refutation of the error. It is not based on documents of faith, but on the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves. If then anyone there be who, boastfully taking pride in his supposed wisdom, wishes to challenge what we have written, let him not do it in some corner nor before children who are powerless to decide on such difficult matters. Let him reply openly if he dare. He shall find me there confronting him, and not only my negligible self, but many another whose study is truth.
  • It may well happen that what is in itself the more certain on account of the weakness of our intelligence, which is dazzled by the clearest objects of nature; as the owl is dazzled by the light of the sun. Hence the fact that some happen to doubt about articles of faith is not due to the uncertain nature of the truths, but to the weakness of human intelligence; yet the slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things.
  • Sacred Scripture, since it has no science above itself, can dispute with one who denies its principles only if the opponent admits some at least of the truths obtained through divine revelation; thus we can argue with heretics from texts in Holy Writ, and against those who deny one article of faith we can argue from another. If our opponent believes nothing of divine revelation, there is no longer any means of proving the articles of faith by reasoning, but only of answering his objections – if he has any – against faith.
  • Suppose a person entering a house were to feel heat on the porch, and going further, were to feel the heat increasing, the more they penetrated within. Doubtless, such a person would believe there was a fire in the house, even though they did not see the fire that must be causing all this heat. A similar thing will happen to anyone who considers this world in detail: one will observe that all things are arranged according to their degrees of beauty and excellence, and that the nearer they are to God, the more beautiful and better they are.
  • Without the suitable conditions life could not exist. But both life and its conditions set forth the operations of inscrutable Power. We know not its origin; we know not its end. And the presumption, if not the degradation, rests with those who place upon the throne of the universe a magnified image of themselves, and make its doings a mere colossal imitation of their own. Wonder was the motive that led people to philosophy … wonder is a kind of desire in knowledge. It is the cause of delight because it carries with it the hope of discovery.
  • He (Mohammed) seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh urges us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected; he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.
  • In questions of this sort there are two things to be observed. First, that the truth of the Scriptures be inviolably maintained. Secondly, since Scripture doth admit of diverse interpretations, that no one cling to any particular exposition with such pertinacity that, if what he supposed to be the teaching of Scripture should afterward turn out to be clearly false, he should nevertheless still presume to put it forward, lest thereby the sacred Scriptures should be exposed to the derision of unbelievers and the way of salvation should be closed to them.
  • The Church has ever proved indestructible. Her persecutors have failed to destroy her; in fact, it was during times of persecution that the Church grew more and more; while the persecutors themselves, and those whom the Church would destroy, are the very ones who came to nothing. . . .Again, errors have assailed her; but in fact, the greater the number of errors that have arisen, the more has the truth been made manifest. . . . Nor has the Church failed before the assaults of demons: for she is like a tower of refuge to all who fight against the Devil.
  • Wonder [admiratio astonishment, marvel] is a kind of desire for knowledge. The situation arises when one sees an effect and does not know its cause, or when the cause of the particular effect is one that exceeds his power of understanding. Hence, wonder is a cause of pleasure insofar as there is annexed the hope of attaining understanding of that which one wants to know. … For desire is especially aroused by the awareness of ignorance, and consequently a man takes the greatest pleasure in those things which he discovers for himself or learns from the ground up.
  • Reasoning is compared to understanding as movement is to rest, or acquisition to possession…. Since movement always proceeds from something immovable, and ends in something at rest, hence it is that human reasoning, in the order of inquiry and discovery, proceeds from certain things absolutely understood–namely, the first principles; and, again, in the order of judgment, returns by analysis to first principles, in the light of which it examines what it has found. Now it is clear that rest and movement are not to be referred to different powers, but to one and the same.
  • Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

 

 

Saint Augustine (quotes)

  • Love and do as you will.
  • To sing is to pray twice.
  • Poetry is the Devil’s wine.
  • Truth is not private property.
  • Love and say it with your life.
  • Love God, and do what you like.
  • Anger is a weed; hate is a tree.
  • Love is the beauty of the soul.
  • I believe in order to understand.
  • Attract them by the way you live.
  • Beauty is the brilliance of truth.
  • He that is jealous is not in love.
  • The purpose of all wars, is peace.
  • Hell was made for the inquisitive.
  • Patience is the companion of wisdom.
  • Things are solved by walking around.
  • We speak, but it is God who teaches.
  • Between urine and filth we are born.
  • Punishment is justice for the unjust.
  • Understanding is the reward of faith.
  • God gives where he finds empty hands.
  • Oh, beauty, ever ancient and ever new.
  • Doubt is but another element of faith.
  • We should never use the truth to wound.
  • Love has reasons that reason knows not.
  • It is a sin to judge any man by his post
  • Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending.
  • Except he be willing, man cannot believe.
  • The law detects, grace alone conquers sin.
  • What do you possess if you possess not God?
  • One can’t reach the Truth but through Love.
  • Our heart is restless until it rests in You.
  • The desire for fame tempts even noble minds.
  • Eternity is the now that does not pass away.
  • Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.
  • We come to God by love and not by navigation.
  • The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.
  • Love is ever new because it never groweth old.
  • Will is to grace as the horse is to the rider.
  • Purity of soul cannot be lost without consent.
  • God provides the wind, Man must raise the sail.
  • Lord, teach me to know you, and to know myself.
  • Grace alone brings about every good work in us.
  • Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity.
  • If you don’t believe it you won’t understand it.
  • Salvation is God’s way of making us real people.
  • Carnal lust rules where there is no love of God.
  • The measure of love is to love without measuring.
  • Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not.
  • Hope has two lovely daughters, anger and courage.
  • Teach correctly… Find delight in contemplation.
  • Peace in society depends upon peace in the family.
  • Desire only God, and your heart will be satisfied.
  • Nothing is so much to be shunned as sex relations.
  • It seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all.
  • A Christian should be an Alleluia from head to foot
  • Do what you can and pray for what you cannot yet do.
  • God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.
  • There are wolves within, and there are sheep without.
  • We are too weak to discover the truth by reason alone
  • Sin is looking for the right thing in the wrong place.
  • He who is filled with love is filled with God himself.
  • Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
  • Before God can deliver us we must undeceive ourselves.
  • Put no faith in salvation through the political order.
  • God’s love is unconditional. Be sure that yours is too!
  • Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou wilt.
  • In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me.
  • No one can begin a new life, unless he repent of the old.
  • There is no greater invitation to love than loving first.
  • Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all.
  • The punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder.
  • There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.
  • Let us sing a new song, not with our lips, but with our lives.
  • Go forth on your path, as it exists only through your walking.
  • It is no advantage to be near the light if the eyes are closed.
  • The sole purpose of life is to gain merit for life in eternity.
  • Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love.
  • Even the straws under my knees shout to distract me from prayer
  • Love, and He will draw near; love, and He will dwell within you.
  • Believe in order to Understand and Understand in order to Believe
  • No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.
  • Lust indulged became habit, and habit unresisted became necessity.
  • The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
  • He who thinks he lives without sin puts aside not sin, but pardon.
  • Every visible thing in this world is put in the charge of an angel.
  • The will is truly free, when it is not the slave of vices and sins.
  • If God is, why is there evil? But if God is not, why is there good?
  • Suppress prostitution, and capricious lusts will overthrow society.
  • Unhappy is the soul enslaved by the love of anything that is mortal.
  • There is a God-shaped vacuum in every man that only Christ can fill.
  • It is human to err, but it is devilish to remain willfully in error.
  • In doing what we ought we deserve no praise, because it is our duty.
  • We both exist and know that we exist, and rejoice in this knowledge.
  • In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?
  • Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop.
  • The cost of obedience is small compared with the cost of disobedience.
  • God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
  • A free curiosity is more effective in learning than a rigid discipline.
  • Fill yourselves first and then only will you be able to give to others.
  • What is grace? I know until you ask me; when you ask me, I do not know.
  • All those who belong to Jesus Christ are fastened with Him to the cross.
  • He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.
  • Moral character is assessed not by what a man knows but by what he loves
  • The greatest kindness one can render to any man is leading him to truth.
  • Indifferent acts are judged by their ends sins are judged by themselves.
  • This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
  • He who has God has everything; he who has everything but God has nothing.
  • Yet we must say something when those who say the most are saying nothing.
  • The words printed here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.
  • If you are silent, be silent out of love. If you speak, speak out of love.
  • Better to have fewer wants than greater riches to supply increasing wants.
  • God grants us not always what we ask so as to bestow something preferable.
  • …If humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts are fruitless.
  • To withhold forgiveness is to take poison and expect the unforgiven to die.
  • No one can have God as his father who does not have the Church as his mother.
  • He who falls, falls by his own will, and he who stands, stands by God’s will.
  • Learn to dance, so when you get to heaven the angels know what to do with you.
  • God is more anxious to bestow his blessings on us than we are to receive them.
  • God is not greater if you reverence Him, but you are greater if you serve Him.
  • He cannot have God for his Father who will not have the Church for his mother.
  • I learned most, not from those who taught me but from those who talked with me.
  • Symbols are powerful because they are the visible signs of invisible realities.
  • All truth and understanding is a result of a divine light which is God Himself.
  • God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.
  • He indeed possesses the Character imposed on him, but he wanders as a renegade.
  • Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.
  • Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.
  • For so it is, O Lord my God, I measure it! But what it is I measure, I do not know.
  • Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.
  • In order to discover the character of people we have only to observe what they love.
  • Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.
  • To touch God a little with our mind is a great blessing, to grasp him is impossible.
  • The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page.
  • In all your movements, let nothing be evident that would offend the eyes of another.
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
  • Do not believe yourself healthy. Immortality is health; this life is a long sickness.
  • Where love is, what can be wanting? Where it is not, what can possibly be profitable?
  • Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.
  • It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.
  • Sin is believing the lie that you are self-created, self-dependent and self-sustained.
  • What you are must always displease you, if you would attain to that which you are not.
  • He who denies the existence of God, has some reason for wishing that God did not exist.
  • If you are suffering from a bad man’s injustice, forgive him lest there be two bad men.
  • Imagine the vanity of thinking that your enemy can do you more damage than your enmity.
  • Nothing so clearly distinguishes a spiritual man as his treatment of an erring brother.
  • The Old (Testament) is in the New (Testament) revealed, the New is in the Old concealed.
  • Do not follow any road, but that which Christ trod. This road seems hard, but it is safe.
  • In what is necessary, unity; in what is not necessary, liberty and in all things charity.
  • I do not comprehend all that I am. Is the mind, therefore, too limited to possess itself?
  • We were ensnared by the wisdom of the serpent; we are set free by the foolishness of God .
  • I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.
  • God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.
  • The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.
  • To abstain from sin when one can no longer sin is to be forsaken by sin, not to forsake it.
  • I once laboured hard for the free will of man, until the grace of God at length overcame me.
  • Do not wander far and wide but return into yourself. Deep within man there dwells the truth.
  • There never can have been, and never can be, and there never shall be any sin without pride.
  • Any woman who does not give birth to as many children as she is capable is guilty of murder.
  • The soul, which is spirit, can not dwell in dust; it is carried along to dwell in the blood.
  • The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.
  • Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
  • There is no love without hope, no hope without love, and neither hope nor love without faith.
  • Venerate the martyrs, praise, love, proclaim, honor them. But worship the God of the martyrs.
  • If you excuse yourself in confession, you shut up sin within your soul, and shut out pardon.
  • Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence.
  • Nothing whatever pertaining to godliness and real holiness can be accomplished without grace .
  • A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently.
  • God has no need of your money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it.
  • He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.
  • Whatever skills I have acquired, whatever gifts I have been given, I place them at Your service.
  • God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand you have failed.
  • It is love that asks, that seeks, that knocks, that finds, and that is faithful to what it finds.
  • You don’t love in your enemies what they are, but what you would have them become by your prayers.
  • When God is our strength, it is strength indeed; when our strength is our own, it is only weakness.
  • I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not bid me to do so.
  • Don’t you believe that there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is?
  • Beware of despairing about yourself: you are commanded to put your trust in God, and not in yourself.
  • Two criminals were crucified with Christ. One was saved; do not despair. One was not; do not presume.
  • I did not find you outside, O Lord, because I made the mistake of seeking outside you who were within
  • Our whole business in this Life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.
  • Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
  • Conscience and reputation are two things. Conscience is due to yourself, reputation to your neighbour.
  • Two works of mercy set a person free: Forgive and you will be forgiven, and give and you will receive.
  • When [men] go to war, what they want is to impose on their enemies the victor’s will and call it peace.
  • Idolatry is worshipping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that is meant to be worshipped.
  • God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.
  • The wicked exist in this world either to be converted or that through them the good may exercise patience.
  • Don’t let your life give evidence against your tongue. Sing with your voices… sing also with your conduct.
  • We do not sin when we adore Christ in the Eucharist; we do sin when we do not adore Christ in the Eucharist.
  • For where I found Truth, there found I my God, the Truth itself; which since I learnt, I have not forgotten.
  • Better that I find you, God, and leave the questions unanswered, than to find the answers without finding you.
  • Keep on adding, keep on walking, keep on progressing: do not delay on the road, do not go back, do not deviate.
  • This awful catastrophe is not the end but the beginning. History does not end so. It is the way its chapters open.
  • Lord, grant that I may do Thy will as if it were my will, so that Thou mayest do my will as if it were Thy will.
  • Let us therefore yield ourselves and bow to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, which can neither err nor deceive.
  • No man has a right to lead such a life of contemplation as to forget in his own ease the service due to his neighbor.
  • We count on God’s mercy for our past mistakes, on God’s love for our present needs, on God’s sovereignty for our future.
  • Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation.
  • Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.
  • Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.
  • God will cleanse your sins if you yourself are dissatisfied with yourself and will keep on changing until you are perfect.
  • Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked.
  • God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity.
  • To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of eternal things; to knowledge, the rational knowledge of temporal things.
  • Other sins find their vent in the accomplishment of evil deeds, whereas pride lies in wait for good deeds, to destroy them.
  • If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
  • Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.
  • Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure: where your treasure, there your heart; where your heart, there your happiness
  • Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.
  • And he departed from our sight that we might return to our hearts and find him there. For he left us, and behold, he is here.
  • Just as it is agreed that we all wish to be happy, so it is that we all wish to be wise, since no one without wisdom is happy.
  • Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.
  • Do not say that you have chaste minds if you have unchaste eyes, because an unchaste eye is the messenger of an unchaste heart.
  • To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.
  • For God loves saving, not condemning, and therefore He is patient with bad people, in order to make good people out of bad people.
  • God Almighty would in no way permit evil in His works were He not so omnipotent and good that even out of evil He could work good.
  • Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen. He either permits it to happen, or He brings it about Himself.
  • It is easy to want things from the Lord and yet not want the Lord Himself, as though the gift could ever be preferable to the Giver.
  • We must understand then, that even though God doesn’t always give us what we want, He always gives us what we need for our salvation.
  • A man may lose the good things of this life against his will; but if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent.
  • “Otherwise grace is no more grace,” since it is bestowed on us, not because we have done good works, but that we may be able to do them.
  • The peace of the celestial city is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. (City of God, Book 19)
  • Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.
  • The Kingdom of Heaven, O man, requires no other price than yourself. The value of it is yourself. Give yourself for it and you shall have it.
  • Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb.
  • It is not by change of place that we can come nearer to Him who is in every place, but by the cultivation of pure desires and virtuous habits.
  • Too late came I to love you, O Beauty both so ancient and so new! Too late came I to love you – and behold you were with me all the time . . .
  • There can only be two basic loves… the love of God unto the forgetfulness of self, or the love of self unto the forgetfulness and denial of God.
  • God in his omnipotence could not give more, in His wisdom He knew not how to give more, in His riches He had not more to give, than the Eucharist.
  • It is not with respect to our convenience or discomfort, but with respect to their own nature that the creatures are glorifying to their Artificer.
  • Try to acquire the virtues you believe lacking in your brothers. Then you will no longer see their defects, for you will no longer have them yourself.
  • Love, and do what you will. If you keep silence, do it out of love. If you cry out, do it out of love. If you refrain from punishing, do it out of love.
  • Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.
  • Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: ‘This is My Body.’ No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it.
  • Ignorance itself is without a doubt a sin for those who do not wish to understand; for those who, however, cannot understand, it is the punishment of sin.
  • This entire most beautiful order of good things is going to pass away after its measure has been exhausted; for both morning and evening were made in them.
  • Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times: Such as we are, such are the times.
  • A temptation arises: it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the seas. This is the time to awaken Christ and let Him remind you of these words
  • The same thing which is now called Christian religion existed among the ancients. They have begun to call ‘Christian’ the true religion which existed before.
  • If you are pleased with what you are, you have stopped already. If you say, “It is enough,” you are lost. Keep on walking, moving forward, trying for the goal.
  • It is impossible that there should be inhabitants on the opposite side of the Earth, since no such race is recorded by Scripture among the descendants of Adam.
  • The soul is “torn apart in a painful condition as long as it prefers the eternal because of its Truth but does not discard the temporal because of familiarity.
  • Whoever seems to himself to have understood the Scriptures in such a way that he does not build up that double love of God and neighbor has not yet understood.
  • The Gods occupy the loftiest regions, men the lowest, the demons the middle region…They have immortality of body, but passions of the mind in common with men.
  • Since God is the highest good, he would not allow any evil to exist in his works unless his omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.
  • Be always displeased with what you are if you wish to be what you are not. Always add, always walk, always proceed. Neither stand still nor go back nor deviate.
  • We must be on our guard against giving interpretations which are hazardous or opposed to science, and so exposing the word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers.
  • Education is the food of youth, the delight of old age, the ornament of prosperity, the refuge and comfort of adversity, and the provocation to grace in the soul.
  • You (God) have not only commanded continence, that is, from what things we are to restrain our love, but also justice, that is, on what we are to bestow our love.
  • A Christian is: a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, and a hand through which Christ helps.
  • Man has been naturally so created that it is advantageous for him to be submissive, but disastrous for him to follow his own will, and not the will of his creator.
  • Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me.
  • Because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true; nor because it is uttered with stammering lips should it be supposed false.
  • Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
  • What grace is meant to do is to help good people, not to escape their sufferings, but to bear them with a stout heart, with a fortitude that finds its strength in faith.
  • Humility must accompany all our actions, must be with us everywhere; for as soon as we glory in our good works they are of no further value to our advancement in virtue.
  • Do not be afraid to throw yourself on the Lord! He will not draw back and let you fall! Put your worries aside and throw yourself on him; He will welcome you and heal you.
  • It is said that there is no salvation outside the Church. Who denies this? And therefore whatever things of the Church are had outside the Church do not avail unto salvation.
  • Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.
  • He who made thee is made in thee. He is made in thee through whom you were made…. Give milk, O mother, to him who is our food; give milk to the bread that comes down from heaven.
  • Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.
  • And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, seeing He saith this of the Holy Spirit, Whom except we have, we can neither love God, nor keep His commandments?
  • The good man, though a slave, is free; the wicked, though he reigns, is a slave, and not the slave of a single man, but- what is worse – the slave of as many masters as he has vices.
  • The sky and the earth and the waters and the things that are in them, the fishes, and the birds and the trees are not evil. All these are good; it is evil men who make this evil world.
  • What can be more excellent than prayer; what is more profitable to our life; what sweeter to our souls; what more sublime, in the course of our whole life, than the practice of prayer!
  • You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.
  • You have enemies. For who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves: love them. In no way can your enemy so hurt you by his violence, as you hurt yourself if you love him not.
  • If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don’t accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.
  • We take for granted the slow miracle whereby water in the irrigation of a vineyard becomes wine. It is only when Christ turns water into wine, in a quick motion, as it were, that we stand amazed.
  • If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.
  • It is not that we keep His commandments first and that then He loves but that He loves us and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace which is revealed to the humble but hidden from the proud.
  • In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you, they would have not been at all.
  • He who does little, but in a state to which God calls him, does more than he who labors much, but in a state which he has thoughtlessly chosen: a cripple limping in the right way is better than a racer out of it.
  • What is reprehensible is that while leading good lives themselves and abhorring those of wicked men, some, fearing to offend, shut their eyes to evil deeds instead of condemning them and pointing out their malice.
  • The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied.
  • Trials and tribulations offer us a chance to make reparation for our past faults and sins. On such occasions the Lord comes to us like a physician to heal the wounds left by our sins. Tribulation is the divine medicine.
  • Chastity, or cleanness of heart, holds a glorious and distinguished place among the virtues, because she, alone, enables man to see God; hence Truth itself said, ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.’
  • I am convinced that in all history there has never been a greater need to Pray for our Pastors than exists right now! Pastors are experiencing an unprecedented wave of attacks, stresses, challenges. obstacles. pressures.
  • Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity.
  • He who loves the coming of the Lord is not he who affirms that it is far off, nor is it he who says it is near, but rather he who, whether it be far off or near, awaits it with sincere faith, steadfast hope, and fervent love.
  • There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other.
  • What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
  • True happiness is to rejoice in the truth, for to rejoice in the truth is to rejoice in You, O God, who are the truth… Those who think that there is another kind of happiness look for joy elsewhere, but theirs is not true joy.
  • Quid est ergo tempus? Si nemo ex me quaerat, scio; si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio. What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobodyasksme; but if Iamasked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled.
  • People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.
  • The good Christian should beware the mathematician and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of hell.
  • Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbor, does not yet understand them as he ought.
  • He who commends the nature of the soul as the supreme good, and condemns the nature of the flesh as evil, at once both carnally desires the soul, and carnally flies the flesh, because he feels thus from human vanity, not from divine truth.
  • Wonderful is the depth of thy words, whose surface is before us, gently leading on the little ones: and yet a wonderful deepness, O my God, a wonderful deepness. It is awe to look into it; even an awfulness of honour, and a trembling of love.
  • There is no remedy so powerful against the heat of concupiscence as the remembrance of our Savior’s Passion. In all my difficulties I never found anything so efficacious as the wounds of Christ: In them I sleep secure; from them I derive new life.
  • Let the Lord your God be your hope ‚Äì seek for nothing else from him, but let him himself be your hope. There are people who hope from him riches or perishable and transitory honours, in short they hope to get from God things which are not God himself.
  • So you see how endlessly futile and fruitless it would be if we wanted to refute their objections every time they obstinately resolved not to think through what they say but merely to speak, just so long as they contradict our arguments in any way they can.
  • Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being little. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation. Modest humility is beauty’s crown.
  • If bodies please thee, praise God on occasion of them, and turn back thy love upon their Maker; lest in these things which please thee, thou displease. If souls please thee, be they loved in God: for they too are mutable, but in Him they are firmly established.
  • You have found that you were more secure before you accumulated so much. See what greed has imposed on you: You have filled your house and now you fear burglars. You have hoarded money and lost sleep. See what greed has commanded you: “Do this!” And you did it.
  • If God seems slow in responding, it is because He is preparing a better gift. He will not deny us. God withholds what you are not yet ready for. He wants you to have a lively desire for His greatest gifts. All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart.
  • If you should ask me what are the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is humility. Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not preceed all that we do, our efforts are fruitless.
  • I acknowledge Thee, Lord of heaven and earth, and praise Thee for my first rudiments of being, and my infancy, whereof I remember nothing; for Thou hast appointed that man should from others guess much as to himself; and believe much on the strength of weak females.
  • AugustineThe wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy. To love with sternness is better than to deceive with gentleness…. In Luke [14:23] it is written: “Compel people to come in!” By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to his Son.
  • What difference, if you are mistaken? For if I am mistaken, I am. For he who is not, assuredly cannot be mistaken; and therefore I am, if I am mistaken. Therefore because I am if I am mistaken, how am I mistaken that I am, when it is sure that I am, if I am mistaken.
  • Your persistent longing is your persistent voice. But when love grows cold, the heart grows silent. Burning love is the outcry of the heart! If you are filled with longing all the time, you will keep crying out, and if your love perseveres, your cry will be heard without fail.
  • Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold.  When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness.  This is also the case when people withdraw from God.
  • Do you know who the upright of heart are? They are those who wish what God wishes. Therefore, do not try to twist God’s will to you own but correct your will to that of God. The will of God is a rule of conduct. By it you have the means of being converted and of correcting your evil ways.
  • Therefore once for all this short command is given to you. ‘Love and do what you will.’ If you keep silent, keep silent by love; if you speak, speak by love; if you correct, correct by love; if you pardon, pardon by love: let love be rooted in you, and from the root nothing but good can grow.
  • God does not give heed to the ambitiousness of our prayers, because he is always ready to give to us his light, not a visible light but an intellectual and spiritual one; but we are not always ready to receive it when we turn aside and down to other things out of a desire for temporal things.
  • Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things.
  • Let us leave a little room for reflection in our lives, room too for silence. Let us look within ourselves and see whether there is some delightful hidden place inside where we can be free of noise and argument. Let us hear the Word of God in stillness and perhaps we will then come to understand it.
  • You wish to be great, begin from the least. You are thinking to construct some mighty fabric in height; first think of the foundation of humility. And how great soever a mass of building one may wish and design to place above it, the greater the building is to be, the deeper does he dig his foundation.
  • And how shall I call upon my God, my God and Lord, since, when I call for Him, I shall be calling Him to myself? and what room is there within me, whither my God can come into me? whither can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? is there, indeed, O Lord my God, aught in me that can contain thee?
  • For you [God] are infinite and never change. In you “today” never comes to an end: and yet our “today” does come to an end in you, because time, as well as everything else, exists in you. If it did not, it would have no means of passing. And since your years never come to an end, for you they are simply “today.”
  • Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Jesus Christ; rest your weary ones; bless your dying ones; soothe your suffering ones; pity your afflicted ones; shield your joyous ones; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
  • Give me yourself, O my God, give yourself back to me. Lo, I love you, but if my love is too mean, let me love more passionately. I cannot gauge my love, nor know how far it fails, how much more love I need for my life to set its course straight into your arms, never swerving until hidden in the covert of your face.
  • What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction
  • Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?
  • Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.
  • Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale?… A gang is a group of men… in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy… acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues people, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of kingdom.
  • That your enemies have been created is God’s doing; that they hate you and wish to ruin you is their own doing. What should you say about them in your mind? “Lord be merciful to them, forgive them their sins, put the fear of God in them, change them!” You are loving in them not what they are, but what you would have them to become.
  • That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire.
  • Every morning you put on your clothes to cover your nakedness and protect your body from inclement weather. Why don’t you also clothe your soul with the garment of faith? Remember each morning the truths of your creed, and look at yourself in the mirror of your faith. Otherwise, your soul will soon be naked with the nakedness of oblivion.
  • eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity! You are my God; to you I sigh by day and by night. And when I first knew you, you raised me up so that I could see that there was something to see and that I still lacked the ability to see it. And you beat back the weakness of my sight, blazing upon me with your rays, and I trembled in love and in dread.
  • In all trouble you should seek God. You should not set Him over against your troubles, but within them. God can only relieve your troubles if you in your anxiety cling to Him. Trouble should not really be thought of as this thing or that in particular, for our whole life on earth involves trouble; and through the troubles of our earthly pilgrimage we find God.
  • The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.
  • An apt and true reply was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride. “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”
  • It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?
  • It is not the being seen of men that is wrong, but doing these things for the purpose of being seen of men. The problem with the hypocrite is his motivation. He does not want to be holy; he only wants to seem to be holy. He is more concerned with his reputation for righteousness than about actually becoming righteous. The approbation of men matters more to him than the approval of God.
  • Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, “I will never abandon you, I will always be with you.” If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it, and do you doubt? Do you seek a support more sure than the word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain.
  • Lord my God, tell me what you are to me.  Say to my soul,  I am your salvation.  Say it so that I can hear it.  My heart is listening, Lord;  open the ears of my heart  and say to my soul,  I am your salvation. Let me run toward this voice and seize hold of you.  Do not hide your face from me:  let me die so that I may see it,  for not to see it would be death to me indeed.
  • Man’s maker was made man that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witnesses, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.
  • The mind commands the body, and it obeys forthwith; the mind commands itself, and is resisted. The mind commands the hand to be moved, and such readiness is there that the command is scarce to be distinguished from the obedience. Yet the mind is mind, and the hand is body. The mind commands the mind to will, and yet, though it be itself, it obeyeth not. Whence this monstrous thing? and why is it?
  • To be under pressure is inescapable. Pressure takes place through all the world; war, siege, the worries of state. We all know men who grumble under these pressures and complain. They are cowards. They lack splendour. But there is another sort of man who is under the same pressure but does not complain, for it is the friction which polishes him. It is the pressure which refines and makes him noble
  • Late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient, ever new. Late have I loved you. You have called to me, and have called out, and have shattered my deafness. You have blazed forth with light and have put my blindness to flight! You have sent forth fragrance, and I have drawn in my breath, and I pant after you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst after you. You have touched me, and I have burned for your peace.
  • That one woman is both mother and virgin, not in spirit only but even in body. In spirit she is mother, not of our head, who is our Savior himself-of whom all, even she herself, are rightly called children of the bridegroom-but plainly she is the mother of us who are his members, because by love she has cooperated so that the faithful, who are the members of that head, might be born in the Church. In body, indeed, she is the Mother of that very head.
  • Our Lord reserved to Himself certain things which He would do in due time in a manner outside the course and order of nature, so that they would wonder and be astonished at seeing not great but unusual things, who are unmoved by things daily seen. For the government of the world is a greater miracle than feeding five thousand men from five loaves; yet at the former no one wonders, the latter astonishes all men: not as a greater wonder, but as a rarer.
  • When people truly open their minds, and contemplate the way in which the universe is ordered and governed, they are amazed-overwhelmed by a sense of the miraculous. When people contemplate with open minds the germination of a single seed, they are equally overwhelmed-yet numerous babies are born every day, and no-one marvels. If only people opened their minds, they would see that the birth of a baby, in which a new life is created, is a greater miracle than restoring life.
  • No one knows what he himself is made of, except his own spirit within him, yet there is still some part of him which remains hidden even from his own spirit; but you, Lord, know everything about a human being because you have made him…Let me, then, confess what I know about myself, and confess too what I do not know, because what I know of myself I know only because you shed light on me, and what I do not know I shall remain ignorant about until my darkness becomes like bright noon before your face.
  • For why, my brothers and sisters, would you rejoice in silver? Either your silver will perish, or you will, and no one knows which will perish first. For neither can you remain here always, nor can silver remain here always; so also with gold, wardrobes, houses, money, real estate-and in the end, even the light by which we enjoy all these things. So do not be willing then to rejoice in such things as these. Rejoice instead in the light that has no setting; rejoice in the dawn which no yesterday precedes, and no tomorrow follows.
  • As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition, and which are observed throughout the whole world, it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful, e.g. the annual commemoration, by special solemnities, of the Lord’s passion, resurrection, and ascension, and of the descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven, and whatever else is in like manner observed by the whole Church wherever it has been established.
  • On the altar you are looking at the same thing as you saw there last night. You have not heard, however, what this is, what it signifies, or about the greatness of the reality of which it is a sacrament. Your eyes are looking at bread and cup. This is the evidence before your physical sight. But your faith must be instructed concerning it- this bread being Christ ‘s Body and the cup containing His Blood. Though perhaps these words may be enough to initiate faith, faith must be further instructed in accordance with the Prophet’s words: ‘Believe that you may understand’
  • Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
  • What art Thou then, my God? what, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; never new, never old; all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things.
  • God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to your honor and glory.
  • I beseech Thee, my God, I would fain know, if so Thou willest, for what purpose my baptism was then deferred? was it for my good that the rein was laid loose, as it were, upon me, for me to sin? or was it not laid loose? If not, why does it still echo in our ears on all sides, “Let him alone, let him do as he will, for he is not yet baptised?” but as to bodily health, no one says, “Let him be worse wounded, for he is not yet healed.” How much better then, had I been at once healed; and then, by my friends’ diligence and my own, my soul’s recovered health had been kept safe in Thy keeping who gavest it.

 

 

Reinhold Niebuhr (quotes)

  • Man is his own most vexing problem.
  • Forgiveness is the final form of love.
  • All known existence points beyond itself.
  • To be religious is not to feel, but to be.
  • The will-to-live becomes the will-to-power.
  • Marxism is the modern form of Jewish prophecy.
  • Men have never been individually self-sufficient.
  • Aim for the stars and maybe you’ll reach the sky.
  • Cheese, wine, and a friend must be old to be good.
  • Great talents have some admirers, but few friends.
  • Love is the motive, but justice is the instrument.
  • Life has no meaning except in terms of responsibility.
  • Nothing worth doing can be accomplished in a single lifetime.
  • Democracy is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.
  • Change what cannot be accepted and accept what cannot be changed.
  • Better not read books in which you make acquaintance of the devil.
  • We have had to learn that history is neither a God nor a redeemer.
  • If we survive danger it steels our courage more than anything else.
  • The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.
  • A genuine faith resolves the mystery of life by the mystery of God.
  • Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.
  • Self-righteousness is the inevitable fruit of simple moral judgments.
  • There is no cure for the pride of a virtuous nation but pure religion.
  • If we can find God only as he is revealed in nature we have no moral God.
  • What is funny about us is precisely that we take ourselves too seriously.
  • Our age knows nothing but reaction, and leaps from one extreme to another.
  • For man as an historical creature has desires of indeterminate dimensions.
  • All you earnest young men out to save the world. . . please, have a laugh.
  • Human beings are endowed by nature with both selfish and unselfish impulses.
  • All human sin seems so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions.
  • All men who live with any degree of serenity live by some assurance of grace.
  • Perhaps the most significant moral characteristic of a nation is its hypocrisy.
  • For democracy is a method of finding proximate solutions for insoluble problems.
  • God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed.
  • Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted; and pure love without power is destroyed.
  • History may defeat the Christ but it nevertheless points to him as the law of life.
  • The whole art of politics consists in directing rationally the irrationalities of men.
  • The mastery of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self mastery.
  • Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.
  • Evil is not to be traced back to the individual but to the collective behavior of humanity.
  • History is a realm in which human freedom and natural necessity are curiously intermingled.
  • It’s always wise to seek the truth in our opponents’ error, and the error in our own truth.
  • I’m not afraid of too many things, and I got that invincible kind of attitude from my father.
  • Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.
  • Man is always worse than most people suspect, but also generally better than most people dream.
  • Nationalism: One of the effective ways in which the modern man escapes life’s ethical problems.
  • The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning.
  • As racial, economic and national groups, they take for themselves, whatever their power can command.
  • Faith is the final triumph over incongruity, the final assertion of the meaningfulness of existence.
  • Human Beings are just good enough to make democracy possible…just bad enough to make it neccessary.
  • Reason tends to check selfish impulses and to grant the satisfaction of legitimate impulses in others.
  • A republic properly understood is a sovereignty of justice, in contradistinction to a sovereignty of will.
  • Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.
  • All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion.
  • I think I should know how to educate a boy, but not a girl; I should be in danger of making her too learned.
  • The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism.
  • It is the evil in man that makes democracy necessary, and man’s belief in justice that makes democracy possible.
  • The prophet himself stands under the judgment which he preaches. If he does not know that, he is a false prophet.
  • Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
  • It is significant that it is as difficult to get charity out of piety as to get reasonableness out of rationalism.
  • The chief source of man’s inhumanity to man seems to be the tribal limits of his sense of obligation to other men.
  • To the end of history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in an effort to prove they are indestructible.
  • The significance of the law of love is precisely that it is not just another law, but a law which transcends all law.
  • The cross symbolizes a cosmic as well as historic truth. Love conquers the world, but its victory is not an easy one.
  • The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.
  • Reason is not the sole basis of moral virtue in man. His social impulses are more deeply rooted than his rational life.
  • Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it.
  • The society in which each man lives is at once the basis for, and the nemesis of, that fulness of life which each man seeks.
  • Ultimately evil is done not so much by evil people, but by good people who do not know themselves and who do not probe deeply.
  • Every experience proves that the real problem of our existence lies in the fact that we ought to love one another, but do not.
  • Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it.
  • The pretensions of final truth are always partlyan effort to obscure a darkly felt consciousness of the limits of human knowledge.
  • The old prose writers wrote as if they were speaking to an audience; while, among us, prose is invariably written for the eye alone.
  • Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice.
  • Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.
  • All men are naturally included to obscure the morally ambiguous element in their political cause by investing it with religious sanctity.
  • God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
  • [There is] an increasing tendency among modern men to imagine themselves ethical because they have delegated their vices to larger and larger groups.
  • Humour is, in fact, a prelude to faith; and laughter is the beginning of prayer … Laughter is swallowed up in prayer and humour is fulfilled by faith.
  • I cannot worship the abstractions of virtue: she only charms me when she addresses herself to my heart, speaks through the love from which she springs.
  • …(I)ndividual selfhood is expressed in the self’s capacity for self-transcendence and not in its rational capacity for conceptual and analytic procedures.
  • The more complex the world situation becomes, the more scientific and rational analysis you have to have, the less you can do with simple good will and sentiment.
  • There was a time when I had all the answers. My real growth began when I discovered that the questions to which I had the answers were not the important questions.
  • The individual or the group which organizes any society, however social its intentions or pretensions, arrogates an inordinate portion of social privilege to itself.
  • Man is endowed by nature with organic relations to his fellow men; and natural impulse prompts him to consider the needs of others even when they compete with his own.
  • The fence and the boundary line are the symbols of the spirit of justice. They set the limits upon each man’s interest to prevent one from taking advantage of the other.
  • Man is both strong and weak, both free and bound, both blind and far-seeing. He stands at the juncture of nature and spirit; and is involved in both freedom and necessity.
  • The history of mankind is a perennial tragedy; for the highest ideals which the individual may project are ideals which he can never realize in social and collective terms.
  • The dimension of depth in the consciousness of religion creates the tension between what is and what ought to be. It bends the bow from which every arrow of moral action flies.
  • Democracies are indeed slow to make war, but once embarked upon a martial venture are equally slow to make peace and reluctant to make a tolerable, rather than a vindictive, peace.
  • Religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values.
  • There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war.
  • What is so funny about us is precisely that we take ourselves too seriously. Laughter is the same and healthy response to the innocent foibles of men; and even to some which are not innocent.
  • Religion, declares the modern man, is consciousness of our highest social values. Nothing could be further from the truth. True religion is a profound uneasiness about our highest social values.
  • Civilization depends upon the vigorous pursuit of the highest values by people who are intelligent enough to know that their values are qualified by their interests and corrupted by their prejudices.
  • Our dreams of a pure virtue are dissolved in a situation in which it is possible to exercise the virtue of responsibility toward a community of nations only by courting the prospective guilt of the atomic bomb.
  • We have previously suggested that philanthropy combines genuine pity with the display of power and that the latter element explains why the powerful are more inclined to be generous than to grant social justice.
  • There is no social evil, no form of injustice whether of the feudal or the capitalist order which has not been sanctified in some way or other by religious sentiment and thereby rendered more impervious to change.
  • One of the fundamental points about religious humility is you say you don’t know about the ultimate judgment. It’s beyond your judgment. And if you equate God’s judgment with your judgment, you have a wrong religion.
  • I think there ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth.
  • Toleration of people who differ in convictions and habits requires a residual awareness of the complexity of truth and the possibility of opposing view having some light on one or the other facet of a many-sided truth.
  • We have, on the whole, more liberty and less equality than Russia has. Russia has less liberty and more equality. Whether democracy should be defined primarily in terms of liberty or equality is a source of unending debate.
  • I thank heaven I have often had it in my power to give help and relief, and this is still my greatest pleasure. If I could choose my sphere of action now, it would be that of the most simple and direct efforts of this kind.
  • This insinuation of the interests of the self into even the most ideal enterprises and most universal objectives, envisaged in moments of highest rationality, makes hypocrisy an inevitable by product of all virtuous endeavor.
  • There are evidently limits to the achievements of science; and there are irresolvable contradictions both between prosperity and virtue, and between happiness and “the good life,” which had not been anticipated in our philosophy.
  • A church has the right to set its own standards within its community. I don’t think it has a right to prohibit birth control or to enforce upon a secular society its conception of divorce and the indissolubility of the marriage tie.
  • Despotism, which we regard with abhorrence, is rather too plausible in decaying feudal, agrarian, pastoral societies. That’s why we must expect to have many a defeat before we’ll have an ultimate victory in this contest with Communism.
  • A wise architect observed that you could break the laws of architec75tural art provided you had mastered them first. That would apply to religion as well as to art. Ignorance of the past does not guarantee freedom from its imperfections.
  • It is my strong conviction that a realist conception of human nature should be made a servant of an ethic of progressive justice and should not be made into a bastion of conservatism, particularly a conservatism which defends unjust privileges.
  • We don’t properly discriminate. We never discriminate properly when we’re dealing with another group and one of the big problems about religion is that religious people don’t know that they are probably as flagrant in these misjudgments as irreligious people.
  • Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; therefore, we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.
  • The essence of man is his freedom. Sin is committed in that freedom. Sin can therefore not be attributed to a defect in his essence. It can only be understood as a self-contradiction, made possible by the fact of his freedom but not following necessarily from it.
  • Even as rigorous a determinist as Karl Marx, who at times described the social behaviour of the bourgeoisie in terms which suggested a problem in social physics, could subject it at other times to a withering scorn which only the presupposition of moral responsibility could justify.
  • The final test of religious faith… is whether it will enable men to endure insecurity without complacency or despair, whether it can so interpret the ancient verities that they will not become mere escape hatches from responsibilities but instruments of insights into what civilization means.
  • Rationalism belongs to the cool observer. But because of the stupidity of the average person, they follow not reason, but faith. This naïve faith, requires necessary illusions and emotionally potent oversimplifications, which are provided by the myth maker to keep the ordinary person on course.
  • One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay which leads to death has already begun.
  • Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.
  • Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.
  • Since inequalities of privilege are greater than could possibly be defended rationally, the intelligence of privileged groups is usually applied to the task of inventing specious proofs for the theory that universal values spring from, and that general interests are served by, the special privileges which they hold.
  • Our dreams of bringing the whole of human history under the control of the human will are ironically refuted by the fact that no group of idealists can easily move the pattern of history toward the desired goal of peace and justice. The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning.
  • God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Grant me the patience with changes that take time, appreciation of all that I have, tolerance of those with different struggles, and the strength to get up and try again, one day at a time.
  • The intimate relation between humor and faith is derived from the fact that both deal with the incongruities of our existence. Laughter is our reaction to immediate incongruities and those which do not affect us essentially. Faith is the only possible response to the ultimate incongruities of existence, which threaten the very meaning of our life.
  • The measure of our rationality determines the degree of vividness with which we appreciate the needs of other life, the extent to which we become conscious of the real character of our own motives and impulses, the ability to harmonize conflicting impulses in our own life and in society, and the capacity to choose adequate means for approved ends.
  • God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. This prayer was first printed in a monthly bulletin of the Federal Council of Churches and has become enormously popular. It has been circulated in millions of copies.
  • We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about a particular degree of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimatized.
  • While it is possible for intelligence to increase the range of benevolent impulse, and thus prompt a human being to consider the needs and rights of other than those to whom he is bound by organic and physical relationship, there are definite limits in the capacity of ordinary mortals which makes it impossible for them to grant to others what they claim for themselves.
  • The idea that the profits of capital are really the rewards of a just society for the foresight and thrift of those who sacrificed the immediate pleasures of spending in order that society might have productive capital, had a certain validity in the early days of capitalism, when productive enterprise was frequently initiated through capital saved out of modest incomes.
  • Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can only be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice. Justice requires that we carefully weigh rights and privileges and assure that each member of a community receives his due share. Love does not weigh rights and privileges too carefully because it prompts each to bear the burden of the other.
  • Liberalism makes this mistake in regard to private property and Marxism makes it in regard to socialized property… The Marxist illusion is partly derived from a romantic conception of human nature… It assumes that the socialization of property will eliminate human egotism… The development of a managerial class in Russia, combing economic with political power, is an historic refutation of the Marxist theory.
  • Marxism was the social creed and the social cry of those classes who knew by their miseries that the creed of the liberal optimists was s snare and a delusion… Liberalism and Marxism share a common illusion of the “children of light.” Neither understands property as a form of power which can be used in either its individual or its social form as an instrument of particular interest against the general interest.
  • Perhapsthemost sublimeinsights oftheJewishprophets and the Christian gospel is the knowledge that since perfection is love, the apprehension of perfection is at once the means of seeing one’s imperfections and the consoling assurance of grace which makes this realization bearable. This ultimate paradox of high religion is not an invention of theologians or priests. It is constantly validated by the most searching experiences of life.
  • God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.
  • Adam Smith’s was a real universalism in intent. Laissez Faire was intended to establish a world community as well as a natural harmony of interests within each nation… But the “children of darkness” were able to make good use of his creed. A dogma which was intended to guarantee the economic freedom of the individual became the “ideology” of vast corporate structures of a later period of capitalism, used by them, and still used, to prevent a proper political control of their power.
  • The stupidity of the average man will permit the oligarch, whether economic or political, to hide his real purposes from the scrutiny of his fellows and to withdraw his activities from effective control. Since it is impossible to count on enough moral goodwill among those who possess irresponsible power to sacrifice it for the good of the whole, it must be destroyed by coercive methods and these will always run the peril of introducing new forms of injustice in place of those abolished.
  • Freedom is necessary for two reasons. It’s necessary for the individual, because the individual, no matter how good the society is, every individual has hopes, fears, ambitions, creative urges, that transcend the purposes of his society. Therefore we have a long history of freedom, where people try to extricate themselves from tyranny for the sake of art, for the sake of science, for the sake of religion, for the sake of the conscience of the individual – this freedom is necessary for the individual.
  • My personal attitude toward atheists is the same attitude that I have toward Christians, and would be governed by a very orthodox text: “By their fruits shall ye know them.” I wouldn’t judge a man by the presuppositions of his life, but only by the fruits of his life. And the fruits – the relevant fruits – are, I’d say, a sense of charity, a sense of proportion, a sense of justice. And whether the man is an atheist or a Christian, I would judge him by his fruits, and I have therefore many agnostic friends.
  • The scientific observer of the realm of nature is in a sense naturally and inevitably disinterested. At least, nothing in the natural scene can arouse his bias. Furthermore, he stands completely outside of the natural so that his mind, whatever his limitations, approximates pure mind. The observer of the realm of history cannot be disinterested in the same way, for two reasons: first, he must look at history from some locus in history; secondly, he is to a certain degree engaged in its ideological conflicts.
  • Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.
  • The separation of church and state is necessary partly because if religion is good then the state shouldn’t interfere with the religious vision or with the religious prophet. There must be a realm of truth beyond political competence, that’s why there must be a separation of churches, but if religion is bad and a bad religion is one that gives an ultimate sanctity to some particular cause. Then religion mustn’t interfere with the state – so one of the basic Democratic principles as we know it in America is the separation of church and state.

 

 

Albert Schweitzer (quotes)

  • Example is leadership.
  • My life is my argument.
  • Love is a living reality.
  • Let your life be your argument.
  • I must forgive without noise or fuss.
  • Constant kindness can accomplish much.
  • Thought is the strongest thing we have.
  • Aim for service and success will follow!
  • The doctor of the future will be oneself.
  • Preservation of life is the only true joy.
  • One person can and does make a difference.
  • My life carries its own meaning in itself.
  • The great enemy of morality is indifference.
  • You ask me for a motto. Here it is: SERVICE.
  • Your soul suffers if you live superficially.
  • Set a great example. Someone may imitate it.
  • Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.
  • There is no higher religion than human service.
  • Do something good and someone might imitate it.
  • Animal protection is education to the humanity.
  • Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.
  • The destiny of man is to be more and more human.
  • I decided that I would make my life my argument.
  • A good example has twice the value of good advice
  • All work that is worth anything is done in faith.
  • Don’t blame, forgive, All healing is self-healing
  • Sincerity is the foundation of the spiritual life.
  • To work for the common good is the greatest creed.
  • The quiet conscience is an invention of the devil.
  • Reverence for life is the highest court of appeal.
  • Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.
  • Every patient carries his or her own doctor inside.
  • Only through love can we obtain communion with God.
  • Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.
  • Soldiers’ graves are the greatest preachers of peace.
  • World-view is a product of life-view, not vice versa.
  • If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
  • Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.
  • What we call love is in its essence reverence for life.
  • That’s my private ant. You’re liable to break its legs.
  • A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.
  • It is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest.
  • Knowing all truth is less than doing a little bit of good.
  • Grow into your ideals so that life cannot rob you of them.
  • An idea is, in the end, always stronger than circumstances.
  • A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him.
  • We need a boundless ethics which will include animals also.
  • If you truly desire happiness, seek and learn how to serve.
  • Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
  • From naive simplicity we arrive at more profound simplicity.
  • The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.
  • Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation.
  • Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.
  • The spirit of the age is filled with the disdain for thinking.
  • Not only is example the best way to teach, it is the only way.
  • Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now – always.
  • Let us rejoice in the truth, wherever we find its lamp burning.
  • Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.
  • We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.
  • You don’t live in a world all alone. Your brothers are here too.
  • Do something for somebody everyday for which you do not get paid.
  • I am life which wants to live admidst of lives that want to live.
  • Ethical existence [is] the highest manifestation of spirituality.
  • Renunciation of thinking is a declaration of spiritual bankruptcy.
  • Good is that which promotes life, evil is that which destroys life
  • Love . . . includes fellowship in suffering, in joy and in effort.
  • Reverence for life affords me my fundamental principle of morality.
  • For those who sincerely seek the truth should not fear the outcome.
  • The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery.
  • Be faithful to your love and you mill be recompensed beyond measure.
  • The city of truth cannot be built on the swampy ground of skepticism.
  • I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live.
  • Love is the only thing that increases twofold every time it is shared.
  • There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
  • We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
  • Humanitarianism consists in never sacrificing a human being to a purpose.
  • Think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flames within us.
  • We cannot abdicate our conscience to an organization, nor to a government.
  • Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.
  • Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
  • Even if it is a little thing, do something for those who have need of help.
  • It is a man’s sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.
  • Don’t let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert. It is your soul which matters.
  • Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice
  • Only those who respect the personality of others can be of real use to them.
  • The only ones who will find real happiness are those who find a way to serve
  • The African is my brother but he is my younger brother by several centuries.
  • Search and see if there is not some place where you may invest your humanity.
  • If you own something you cannot give away, then you don’t own it, it owns you.
  • I too had thoughts once of being an intellectual, but I found it too difficult.
  • The ethic of Reverence for Life is the ethic of Love widened into universality.
  • He who does not reflect his life back to God in gratitude does not know himself.
  • Serious illness doesn’t bother me for long because I am too inhospitable a host.
  • If you study life deeply, its profundity will seize you suddenly with dizziness.
  • Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
  • In resigning ourselves to our fate without a struggle, we are guilty of inhumanity.
  • The most difficult thing I have ever had to do is follow the guidance I prayed for.
  • Every person I have known who has been truly happy has learned how to serve others.
  • To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted.
  • There can be no Kingdom of God in the world without the Kingdom of God in our hearts.
  • Hear our humble prayer, O God. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to the animals.
  • It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed.
  • Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.
  • Bach is thus a terminal point. Nothing comes from him; everything merely leads to him.
  • As we acquire knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more mysterious.
  • The only way out of today’s misery is for people to become worthy of each other’s trust.
  • By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive.
  • For us the great men are not those who solved the problems, but those whodiscovered them.
  • In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.
  • The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.
  • The great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used to failing.
  • There is much coldness among men because we do not dare to be as cordial as we really are.
  • Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.
  • Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.
  • The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.
  • Help me to fling my life like a flaming firebrand into the gathering darkness of the world.
  • The three most important ways to lead people are:… by example… by example… by example.
  • The interior joy we feel when we have done a good deed is the nourishment the soul requires.
  • The gratitude ascending from man to God is the supreme transaction between earth and heaven.
  • The only thing of importance, when we depart, will be the traces of love we have left behind.
  • The Christ of Theology is not alive for us today. He is wrapped in the grave cloths of dogma.
  • Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality.
  • The stronger the reverence for natural life, the stronger grows also that for spiritual life.
  • If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life.
  • A thinking man feels compelled to approach all life with the same reverence he has for his own.
  • All the kindness which a man puts out into the world works on the heart and thoughts of mankind.
  • The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and through politics.
  • We are united with all life that is in nature. Man can no longer live his life for himself alone.
  • By ethical conduct toward all creatures, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the universe.
  • Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility with regard to everything that has life.
  • No one may shut his eyes to think the pain, which is therefore not visible to him, is non-existent.
  • Does my behavior in respect of love affect nothing? That is because there is not enough love in me.
  • Ideals are thoughts. So long as they exist merely as thoughts, the power in them remains ineffective.
  • Thought is the strongest thing we have. Work done by true and profound thought – that is a real force.
  • The path of awakening is not about becoming who you are. Rather it is about unbecoming who you are not.
  • At that point in life where your talent meets the needs of the world, that is where God wants you to be.
  • Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.
  • One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.
  • Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.
  • We cannot possibly let ourselves get frozen into regarding everyone we do not know as an absolute stranger.
  • The thinking man must oppose all cruelties no matter how deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo.
  • Because I have confidence in the power of truth, and of the spirit, I have confidence in the future of mankind.
  • All people are endowed with the faculty of compassion, and for this reason can develop the humanitarian spirit.
  • The result of the voyage does not depend on the speed of the ship, but on whether or not it keeps a true course.
  • Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.
  • I am conscious that meat eating is not in accordance with the finer feelings, and I abstain from it whenever I can.
  • The harvested fields bathed in the autumn mist speak of God and his goodness far more vividly than any human lips.
  • A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day.
  • At 20 everyone has the face that God gave them, at 40 the face that life gave them, and at 60 the face they earned.
  • The highest proof of the spirit is love. Love the eternal thing which can already on earth possess as it really is.
  • The greatest living person in the world is some individual who at this very moment has gone in love to help another.
  • The true worth of a man is not to be found in man himself, but in the colours and textures that come alive in others.
  • Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life it is bad to damage and destroy life.
  • It seemed to me a matter of course that we should all take our share of the burden of pain which lies upon the world.
  • Our age is bent on trying to make the barren tree of skepticism fruitful by tying the fruits of truth on its branches.
  • I have always held firmly to the thought that each one of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end.
  • Therapy is the boat across the river, but most don’t want to get off. Don’t blame, forgive, All healing is self-healing
  • O heavenly Father, protect and bless all things that have breath: guard them from all evil and let them sleep in peace.
  • Every start on an untrodden path is a venture which only in unusual circumstances looks sensible and likely to succeed.
  • If the extension of your compassion does not include all living beings, then you will be unable to find peace by yourself.
  • The Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested by actions.
  • Creative energy is the essence of all healing…We physicians do nothing, we only help and encourage the physician within.
  • …try to tell the people of America about Dr. Gerson’s merits and …results…I wish you the best in your difficult task.
  • As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.
  • The gratitude that we encounter helps us believe in the goodness of the world, and strengthens us thereby to do what’s good.
  • Reverence for life brings us into a spiritual relation with the world which is independent of all knowledge of the universe.
  • Reverence for life is the most direct and at the same time the profoundest achievement of my will-to-live.
  • Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
  • It’s supposed to be a secret, but I’ll tell you anyway. We doctors do nothing. We only help. And encourage the doctor within.
  • Where principles and heart stand in conflict with each other, let us make the law of the spirit free from the law of principles.
  • To me, good health is more than just exercise and diet. Its really a point of view and a mental attitude you have about yourself.
  • The disastrous feature of our civilization is that it is far more developed materially than spiritually. Its balance is disturbed.
  • To the truly ethical man, all of life is sacred, including forms of life that from the human point of view may seem lower than ours.
  • I wanted to be a doctor that I might be able to work without having to talk because for years I had been giving myself out in words.
  • It doesn’t matter if an animal can reason. It matters only that it is capable of suffering and that is why I consider it my neighbor.
  • It’s not enough merely to exist. Every man has to seek in his own way to make his own self more noble and to relize his own true worth.
  • Any profound view of the world is mysticism. It has, of course, to deal with life and the world, both of which are nonrational entities.
  • Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
  • Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.
  • It seemed incredible to me, that physical courage should be so commonplace and revered, while moral courage . . . is so rare and despised.
  • We all owe to others much of the gentleness and wisdom that we have made our own; and we may well ask ourselves what will others owe to us
  • The the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hope are optimistic.
  • In case my life should end with the cannibals, I hope they will write on my tombstone, ‘We have eaten Dr. Schweitzer. He was good to the end.’
  • Truth has not special time of its own. Its hour is now – always and, indeed then most truly, when it seems unsuitable to actual circumstances.
  • An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight… the truly wise person is colorblind.
  • Those who experiment on animals should never be able to quiet their own conscience by telling themselves that these cruelties have a worthy aim.
  • We must never allow the voice of humanity within us to be silenced. It is humanity’s sympathy with all creatures that first makes us truly human.
  • I am certain and have always stressed that the destination of mankind is to become more and more humane. The ideal of humanity has to be revived.
  • Do not lose heart, even if you must wait a bit before finding the right thing. Be prepared for disappointment also, but do not abandon the quest.
  • When we observe contemporary society one thing strikes us. We debate but make no progress. Why? Because as peoples we do not yet trust each other.
  • By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.
  • A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.
  • Today . . . we know that all living beings who strive to maintain life and who long to be spared pain – all living beings on earth – are our neighbors.
  • Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.
  • Mysticism occurs whenever a human being sees the separation between the natural and the supernatural, between the temporal and the eternal, as overcome.
  • Within every patient there resides a doctor, and we as physicians are at our best when we we put our patients in touch with the doctor inside themselves.
  • No man need fear death, he need fear only that he may die without having known his greatest power: the power of his free will to give his life for others
  • Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it.
  • Affirmation of the world, which means affirmation of the will-to-live that manifests itself around me, is only possible if I devote myself to other life.
  • The last fact which knowledge can discover is that the world is a manifestation, and in every way a puzzling manifestation, of the universal will to live.
  • In the same way as the tree bears the same fruit year after year, but each time new fruit, all lastingly valuable ideas in thinking must always be reborn.
  • Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them.
  • Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives.
  • Reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe.
  • It is through the idealism of youth that man catches sight of truth, and in that idealism he possesses a wealth which he must never exchange for anything else.
  • We need a boundless ethic, one which will include the animals, too. Until we extend the circle of his compassions to all living things, we will not find peace.
  • Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.
  • Day by day we should weigh what we have granted to the spirit of the world against what we have denied to the spirit of Jesus, in thought and especially in deed.
  • A heavy guilt rests upon us for what the whites of all nations have done to the colored peoples. When we do good to them, it is not benevolence–it is atonement.
  • True philosophy must start from the most immediate and comprehensive fact of consciousness: “I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live.”
  • Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.
  • I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
  • God much are the truly wealthy. So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, Gratitude ‚Äî the Secret of Life.
  • Man’s ethics must not end with man, but should extend to the universe. He must regain the consciousness of the great Chain of Life from which he cannot be separated.
  • Only when an ideal of peace is born in the minds of the peoples will the institutions set up to maintain this peace effectively fulfill the function expected of them.
  • Our degeneration, when it is traced back to its origin in our view of the world really consists in the fact that true optimism has vanished unperceived from our midst.
  • Whoever is spared personal pain must feel himself called to help in diminishing the pain of others. We must all carry our share of the misery which lies upon the world.
  • The demands of Jesus are difficult just because they require us to do something extraordinary. At the same time he asks us to regard these as something usual, ordinary.
  • Each act of unfaithfulness toward our inner being is a blot on our souls. If we continue to be unfaithful, our souls are eventually torn apart and we slowly bleed to death.
  • It is only through love that we can attain to communion with God. All living knowledge of God rests upon this foundation: that we experience him in our lives as Will-to-love.
  • Everything deep is also simple and can be reproduced simply as long as its reference to the whole truth is maintained. But what matters is not what is witty but what is true.
  • What has been presented as Christianity during these nineteen centuries is only a beginning, full of mistakes, not full blown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.
  • Seek always to do some good, somewhere… Even if it’s a little thing, so something for those that need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
  • Jesus as a concrete historical personality remains a stranger to our time, but His spirit, which lies hidden in His words, is known in simplicity, and its influence is direct.
  • At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
  • Don’t stop to ask whether the animal or plant you meet deserves your sympathy, or how much it feels, or even whether it can feel at all: respect it and consider all life sacred.
  • Just as white light consists of colored rays, so reverence for life contains all the components of ethics: love, kindliness, sympathy, empathy, peacefulness and power to forgive.
  • The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.
  • One truth stands firm. All that happens in world history rests on something spiritual. If the spiritual is strong, it creates world history. If it is weak, it suffers world history.
  • My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself.  If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see.
  • We must all die. But that I can save him from days of torture, that is what I feel as my great and ever new privilege. Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.
  • The man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give every will-to-live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. He experiences that other life in his own.
  • There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature, unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it.
  • Profound love demands a deep conception and out of this develops reverence for the mystery of life. It brings us close to all beings, to the poorest and smallest as well as all others.
  • Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset, …, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase ‚ÄúEhrfurcht vor dem Leben‚Äù (‚Äúreverence for life‚Äù).
  • Not less strong than the will to truth must be the will to sincerity. Only an age, which can show the courage of sincerity, can possess truth, which works as a spiritual force within it.
  • A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.
  • We all know how important love is, yet how often is it really emoted or exhibited? What so many sick people in this world suffer from-loneliness, boredom and fear-can’t be cured with a pill.
  • The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature.
  • I always think that we live, spiritually, By what others have given us in the significant hours of our life. These significant hours do not announce themselves as coming, but arrive unexpected.
  • Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. Extract from ‘Memories of childhood and youth.’
  • We ought all to make an effort to act on our first thoughts and let our unspoken gratitude find expression. Then there will be more sunshine in the world, and more power to work for what is good.
  • Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.
  • Man can no longer live his life for himself alone. We realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all this life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship to the universe.
  • Thinking about death… produces love for life. When we are familiar with death, we accept each week, each day, as a gift. Only if we are able thus to accept life bit by bit does it become precious.
  • You must learn to understand the secret of gratitude. It is more than just so-called virtue. It is revealed to you as a mysterious law of existence. In obedience to it we have to fulfill our destiny.
  • I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics.
  • It is not enough to merely exist. It’s not enough to say, ‘I’m earning enough to live and support my family. I do my work well. I’m a good parent.’ That’s all very well. But you must do something more.
  • In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
  • There is within each of us a modulation, an inner exaltation, which lifts us above the buffetings with which events assail us. Likewise, it lifts us above dependence upon the gifts of events for our joy.
  • I look back upon my youth and realize how so many people gave me help, understanding, courage – very important things to me – and they never knew it. They entered into my life and became powers within me.
  • Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in a world all of your own
  • A man who possesses a veneration of life will not simply say his prayers. He will throw himself into the battle to preserve life, if for no other reason than that he himself is an extension of life around him.
  • The thinking (person) must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another.
  • No ray of sunlight is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith.
  • The future of civilization depends on our overcoming the meaninglessness and hopelessness which characterize the thoughts and convictions of men today, and reaching a state of fresh hope and fresh determination.
  • Who shall enumerate the many ways in which that costly piece of fixed capital, a human being , may be employed! More of him is wanted everywhere! Hunt, then, for some situation in which your humanity may be used.
  • I do not know what your destiny may be, but I do know this, that not one of you will find the happiness that each of you is seeking until you have first sought and found a way in which to unselfishly serve others.
  • Living truth is that alone which has its origins in thinking. Just as a tree bears year after year the same fruit which is each year new, so must all permanently valuable ideas be continually born again in thought.
  • Awakening of Western thought will not be complete until that thought steps outside itself and comes to an understanding with the search for a world-view as this manifests itself in the thought of mankind as a whole.
  • We are compelled by the commandment of love contained in our hearts and thought, and proclaimed by Jesus, to give rein to our natural sympathy for animals. We are also compelled to help them and spare them suffering.
  • Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we may not lose courage.
  • Nature compels us to recognize the fact of mutual dependence, each life necessarily helping the other lives who are linked to it. In the very fibers of our being, we bear within ourselves the fact of the solidarity of life.
  • Most men are scantily nourished on a modicum of happiness and a number of empty thoughts which life lays on their plates. They are kept in the road of life through stern necessity by elemental duties which they cannot avoid.
  • Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.
  • Faith which refuses to face indisputable facts is but little faith. Truth is always gain, however hard it is to accommodate ourselves to it. To linger in any kind of untruth proves to be a departure from the straight way of faith.
  • When people have light in themselves, it will shine out from them. Then we get to know each other as we walk together in the darkness, without needing to pass our hands over each other’s faces, or to intrude into each other’s hearts.
  • Cold completely introspective logic places a philosopher on the road to the abstract. Out of this empty, artificial act of thinking there can result, of course, nothing which bears on the relation of man to himself, and to the universe.
  • In modern European thought a tragedy is occurring in that the original bonds uniting the affirmative attitude towards the world with ethics are, by a slow but irresistible process, loosening and finally parting. Out of my life and Thought.
  • The fellowship of those who bear the mark of pain: who are the members of this Fellowship? Those who have learnt by experience what physical pain and bodily anguish mean, belong together all the world over; they are united by a secret bond.
  • Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.
  • Jesus means something to our world because a mighty spiritual force streams forth from him and flows through our being also. This fact can neither be shaken nor confirmed by any historical discovery. It is the solid foundation of Christianity.
  • The great fault of all ethics hitherto has been that they believed themselves to have to deal only with the relations of man to man. In reality, however, the question is what is his attitude to the world and all life that comes within his reach.
  • Ethics are complete, profound and alive only when addressed to all living beings. Only then are we in spiritual connection with the world. Any philosophy not representing this, not based on the indefinite totality of life, is bound to disappear.
  • The friend of nature is the man who feels himself inwardly united with everything that lives in nature, who shares in the fate of all creatures, helps them when he can in their pain and need, and as far as possible avoids injuring or taking life.
  • Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live unreflectively and begins to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to raise it to its true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will.
  • We are gripped by God’s will of love, and must help carry out that will in this world, in small things as in great things, in saving as in pardoning. To be glad instruments of God‚Äôs love in this imperfect world is the service to which we are called.
  • You must not expect anything from others. It’s you, of yourself, of whom you must ask a lot. Only from oneself has one the right to ask everything and anything. This way it’s up to you – your own choices – what you get from others remains a present, a gift.
  • If you are called upon to play a church service, it is a greater honor than if you were to play a concert on the finest organ in the world… Thank God each time when you are privileged to sit before the organ console and assist in the worship of the Almighty.
  • The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.
  • What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shakes us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.
  • The great secret of success is to go through life as a person who never gets used up. That is possible for those who never argue and strive with people and facts, but in all experience retires upon themselves, and look for the ultimate cause of things in themselves.
  • My view is that we stand up for treating the animals in a considerate way, for completely renouncing the eating of meat and also for speaking out against it. This is what I do myself. And in this way many a one becomes aware of a problem that was put forward so late.
  • The quiet conscience is the invention of the devil. No one of us may permit any preventable pain to be inflicted even though the responsibility for that pain is not ours. No one may shut his eyes and think that the pain which is therefore not visible, is non-existent.
  • “I used to suffer particularly because the poor animals must endure so much pain and want. The sight of an old, limping horse being dragged along by one man while another man struck him with a stick he was being driven to the Colmar slaughterhouse – haunted me for weeks.”
  • Pablo Casals is a great musician in all he does: a cellist without equal, and extraordinary conductor and composer with something to say. I have been profoundly impressed by all I have heard of his work, but he is a musician of this stature because he is also a great man.
  • We cannot abdicate our conscience to an organization, nor to a government. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Most certainly I am! I cannot escape my responsibility by saying the State will do all that is necessary. It is a tragedy that nowadays so many think and feel otherwise.
  • The witch doctor succeeds for the same reason all the rest of us succeed. Each patient carries his or her own doctor inside him or her. They come to us not knowing that truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.
  • When man learns to respect even the smallest being of creation…nobody has to teach him to love his fellow man. Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
  • The time will come when public opinion will no longer tolerate amusements based on the mistreatment and killing of animals. The time will come, but when? When will we reach the point that hunting, the pleasure in killing animals for sport, will be regarded as a mental aberration?
  • All art speaks in signs and symbols. No one can explain how it happens that the artist can waken to life in us the existence that he has seen and lives through. No artistic speech is the adequate expression of what it represents; its vital force comes from what is unspoken in it.
  • Your life is something opaque, not transparent, as long as you look at it in an ordinary human way. But if you hold it up against the light of God’s goodness, it shines and turns transparent, radiant and bright. And then you ask yourself in amazement: Is this really my own life I see before me?
  • I do not believe that we can put into anyone ideas which are not in him already. As a rule there are in everyone all sorts of good ideas, ready like tinder. But much of this tinder catches fire, or catches it successfully, only when it meets some flame or spark from outside, i.e., from some other person.
  • Because I have confidence in the power of truth and in the spirit, I believe in the future of mankind. Affirmation of the world and of life contains within itself an optimistic willing and hoping which can never be lost. It is, therefore, never afraid to face the dismal reality and to see it as it really is.
  • Open your eyes and look for some man, or some work for the sake of men, which needs a little time, a little friendship, a little sympathy, a little sociability, a little human toil….It is needed in every nook and corner. Therefore search and see if there is not some place where you may invest your humanity.
  • In the past we have tried to make a distinction between animals which we acknowledge have some value and other which, having none, can be liquidated when we wish. This standard must be abandoned. Everything that lives has value simply as a living thing, as one of the manifestations of the mystery that is life.
  • Jesus no doubt fits his teaching into the late-Jewish messianic dogma. But he does not think dogmatically. He formulates no doctrine. He is far from judging any man’s belief by reference to any standard of dogmatic correctness. Nowhere does he demand of his hearers that they shall sacrifice thinking to believing.
  • Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.
  • Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more on it. A strength which becomes clearer and stronger through experiences of such obstacles is the only strength that can conquer them. Resistance is only a waste of strength.
  • In the hearts of people today there is a deep longing for peace. When the true spirit of peace is thoroughly dominant, it becomes an inner experience with unlimited possibilities. Only when this really happens – when the spirit of peace awakens and takes possession of men’s hearts, can humanity be saved from perishing.
  • Man has become a superman … because he not only disposes oinnate, physical forces, but because he is in command … olatent forces in nature and because he can put them to his service…. But the essential fact we must surely all feel in our hearts … is that we are becoming inhuman in proportion as we become supermen.
  • If there is anything I have learned about men and women, it is that there is a deeper spirit of altruism than is ever evident. Just as the rivers we see are minor compared to the underground streams, so, too, the idealism that is visible is minor compared to what people carry in their hearts unreleased or scarcely released.
  • Where possible Paul avoids quoting the teaching of Jesus, in fact even mentioning it. If we had to rely on Paul, we should not know that Jesus taught in parables, had delivered the sermon on the mount, and had taught His disciples the ‘Our Father.’ Even where they are specially relevant, Paul passes over the words of the Lord.
  • Whatever you have received more than others-in health, in talents, in ability, in success, in a pleasant childhood, in harmonious conditions of home life-all this you must not take to yourself as a matter of course. In gratitude for your good fortune, you must remember in return some sacrifice of your own life for another life.
  • The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery. Neither knowledge nor hope for the future can be the pivot of our life or determine its direction. It is intended to be solely determined by our allowing ourselves to be gripped by the ethical God, who reveals Himself in us, and by our yielding our will to His.
  • We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.
  • Never for a moment do we lay aside our mistrust of the ideals established by society, and of the convictions which are kept by it in circulation. We always know that society is full of folly and will deceive us in the matter of humanity. … humanity meaning consideration for the existence and the happiness of individual human beings.
  • Kindness works simply and perseveringly; it produces no strained relations which prejudice its working; strained relations which already exist it relaxes. Mistrust and misunderstanding it puts to flight, and it strengthens itself by calling forth answering kindness. Hence it is the furthest reaching and the most effective of all forces.
  • For animals that are overworked, underfed, and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death…and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words.
  • The elemental fact, present in our consciousness every moment of our existence, is: I am life that wills to live, in the midst of life that wills to live…. The essence of the humane spirit is: Preserve life, promote life, help life to achieve its highest destiny. The essence of Evil is: Destroy life, harm life, hamper the development of life
  • I still remain convinced that truth, love, peaceableness, meekness, and kindness are the violence which can master all other violence. The world will be theirs as soon as ever a sufficient number of people with purity of heart, with strength, and with perseverance think and live out the thoughts of love and truth, of meekness and peaceableness.
  • What the activity of this disposition of ours means in the evolution of the world, we do not know. Nor can we regulate this activity from outside; we must leave entirely to each individual its shaping and its extension. From every point of view, then, world- and life-affirmation and ethics are non-rational, and we must have the courage to admit it.”
  • The fundamental rights of [humanity] are, first: the right of habitation; second, the right to move freely; third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it; fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange; fifth, the right to justice; sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and seventh, the right to education.
  • No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, and aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth and beauty. The soul is a burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it–to remain children of light.
  • We wander through this life together in a semi-darkness in which none of us can distinguish exactly the features of his neighbour. Only from time to time, through some experience that we have of our companion, or through some remark that he passes, he stands for a moment close to us, as though illuminated by a flash of lightning. Then we see him as he really is.
  • Who can describe the injustice and the cruelties that in the course of centuries the peoples of color of the world have suffered at the hands of Europeans?… We and our civilization are burdened, really, with a great debt. We are not free to confer benefits on these men, or not, as we please; it is our duty. Anything we give them is not benevolence but atonement.
  • To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kindness that stands behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
  • Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world – that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me – is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life.
  • We cannot understand what happens in the universe. What is glorious in it is united with what is full of horror. What is full of meaning is united to what is senseless. The spirit of the universe is at once creative and destructive ‚Äî it creates while it destroys and destroys while it creates, and therefore it remains to us a riddle. And we must inevitably resign ourselves to this.
  • Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.
  • But the others, those who tried to bring Jesus to life at the call of love, found it a cruel task to be honest. The critical study of the life of Jesus has been for theology a school of honesty. The world had never seen before, and will never see again, a struggle for truth so full of pain and renunciation as that of which the Lives of Jesus of the last hundred years contain the cryptic record.
  • Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life.
  • I do not want to frighten you by telling you about the temptations life will bring. Anyone who is healthy in spirit will overcome them. But there is something I want you to realize. It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed, something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won’t realize until it will be too late.
  • I believe that I possess this value: to serve Jesus. I am less at peace than if my goal would be to attain a professorship and a good life, but I live. And that gives me the tremendous feeling of happiness, as if one would hear music. One feels uprooted, because one asks, what lies ahead, what decisions should I make-but more alive, happier than those anchored in life. To drift with released anchor.
  • The ethic of Reverence for Life prompts us to keep each other alert to what troubles us and to speak and act dauntlessly together in discharging the responsibility that we feel. It keeps us watching together for opportunities to bring some sort of help to animals in recompense for the great misery that men inflict upon them, and thus for a moment we escape from the incomprehensible horror of existence.
  • Reverence for life . . . does not allow the scholar to live for his science alone, even if he is very useful . . . the artist to exist only for his art, even if he gives inspiration to many. . . . It refuses to let the business man imagine that he fulfills all legitimate demands in the course of his business activities. It demands from all that they should sacrifice a portion of their own lives for others.
  • Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind, independent of the prevalent one among the crowds, and in opposition to it – a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.
  • There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.
  • Ethics cannot be based upon our obligations toward people, but they are complete and natural only when we feel this Reverence for Life and the desire to have compassion for and to help all creatures insofar as it is in our power. I think that this ethic will become more and more recognized because of its great naturalness and because it is the foundation of a true humanism toward which we must strive if our culture is to become truly ethical.
  • Ethics has not only to do with mankind but with the animal creation as well. This is witnessed in the purpose of St. Francis of Assisi. Thus we shall arrive that ethics is reverence for all life. This is the ethic of love widened universally. It is the ethic of Jesus now recognized as a necessity of thought…Only a universal ethic which embraces every living creature can put us in touch with the universe and the will which is there manifest.
  • Once a man recognizes himself as a being surrounded by other beings in this world and begins to respect his life and take it to the highest value, he becomes a thinking being. Then he values other lives and experiences them as part of his own life. With that, his goal is to help everyone take their life to the highest value; anything which limits or destroys a life is evil. That is morality. That is how men are related to the world around them.
  • By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive. Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them. In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. – Albert Schweitzer
  • The study of the Life of Jesus has had a curious history. It set out in quest of the historical Jesus, believing that when it had found Him it could bring Him straight into our time as a Teacher and Saviour. … But He does not stay; He passes by our time and returns to His own… He returned to His own time, not owing to the application of any historical ingenuity, but by the same inevitable necessity by which the liberated pendulum returns to its original position.
  • You know of the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. . . . There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul.  Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming.  That is why you have to be careful.  As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of a certain seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning.  You should realize your soul suffers if you live superficially.
  • The mistake made by all previous systems of ethics has been the failure to recognize that life as such is the mysterious value with which they have to deal. All spiritual life meets us within natural life. Reverence for life, therefore, is applied to natural life and spiritual life alike. In the parable of Jesus, the shepherd saves not merely the soul of the lost sheep but the whole animal. The stronger the reverence for natural life, the stronger grows also that for spiritual life.
  • He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.
  • The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also. My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to it. If I want others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see however strange it may be to mine. Ethics in our western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relation of man to man… but that is a limited ethics.
  • I have given up the ambition to be a great scholar. I want to be more- simply a human. . . . We are not true humans, but beings who live by a civilization inherited from the past, that keeps us hostage, that confines us. No freedom of movement. Nothing. Everything in us is killed by our calculations for our future, by our social position and cast. You see, I am not happy-yet I am happy. I suffer, but that is part of life. I live, I don’t care about my existence, and that is the beginning of wisdom.
  • But merely accepting authoritarian truth, even if that truth has some virtue, does not bring skepticism to an end. To blindly accept a truth one has never reflected upon retards the advance of reason. Our world rots in deceit. . . . Just as a tree bears the same fruit year after year and at the same time fruit that is new each year, so must all permanently valuable ideas be continually created anew in thought. But our age pretends to make a sterile tree bear fruit by tying fruits of truth onto its branches.
  • To the man who is truly ethical all life is sacred, including that which from the human point of view seems lower in the scale. He makes distinctions only as each case comes before him, and under the pressure of necessity, as, for example, when it falls to him to decide which of two lives he must sacrifice in order to preserve the other. But all through this series of decisions he is conscious of acting on subjective grounds and arbitrarily, and knows that he bears the responsibility for the life which is sacrificed.
  • Rational thinking which is free from assumptions ends therefore in mysticism. To relate oneself in the spirit of reverence for life to the multiform manifestations of the will-to-live which together constitute the world is ethical mysticism. All profound world-view is mysticism, the essence of which is just this: that out of my unsophisticated and na√Øve existence in the world there comes, as a result of thought about self and the world, spiritual self-devotion to the mysterious infinite Will which is continuously manifested in the universe.
  • What does Reverence for Life say abut the relations between humanity and the animal world? Whenever I injury any kind of life I must be quite certain that it is necessary. I must never go beyond the unavoidable, not even in apparently insignificant things. The farmer who has mowed down a thousand flowers in his meadow in order to feed his cows must be careful on his way home not to strike the head off a single flower by the side of the road in idle amusement, for he thereby infringes on the law of life without being under the pressure of necessity.
  • Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it. A new public opinion must be created privately and unobtrusively. The existing one is maintained by the press, by propaganda, by organization, and by financial influences which are at its disposal. The unnatural way of spreading ideas must be opposed by the natural one, which goes from man to man and relies solely on the truth of the thoughts and the hearer’s receptiveness of new truth.
  • It is not enough merely to exist. It’s not enough to say, “I’m earning enough to support my family. I do my work well. I’m a good father, husband, churchgoer.” That’s all very well. But you must do something more. Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.
  • To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will-to-life. At the same time the man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give every will-to-live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. He experiences that other life as his own. He accepts as being good: to preserve life, to raise to its highest value life which is capable of development; and as being evil: to destroy life, to injure life, to repress life which is capable of development. This is the absolute, fundamental principle of the moral, and it is a necessity of thought.
  • Thought cannot avoid the ethical or reverence and love for all life. It will abandon the old confined systems of ethics and be forced to recognize the ethics that knows no bounds. But on the other hand, those who believe in love for all creation must realize clearly the difficulties involved in the problem of a boundless ethic and must be resolved not to veil from humankind the conflicts which this ethic will involve us, but allow us really to experience them. To think out in every implication the ethic of love for all creation this is the difficult task which confronts our age.

 

 

Adi Shankara (quotes)

  • Know the Self as the one indivisible Being.
  • Those who are absorbed in Brahman become immortal.
  • When your last breath arrives, Grammar can do nothing.
  • The wise, of even mind, renounce the fruit of action.
  • Who is free from sin? One who chants the name of God.
  • Then, having known Me in truth, he forthwith enters into Me.
  • Verily, by knowing Him one cuts asunder the fetters of death.
  • Curb your senses and your mind and see the Lord within your heart.
  • By knowing Him who alone pervades the universe, men become immortal.
  • The jiva, in reality, is the Supreme Self; all else besides is unreal.
  • Free your mind from all distractions and dwell in the consciousness of the Self.
  • Reality can be experienced only with the eye of understanding, not just by a scholar
  • Know Him, the Purusha, who alone is to be known . . . that death may not affect you.
  • The treasure I have found cannot be described in words, the mind cannot conceive of it.
  • The world, like a dream full of attachments and aversions seems real until the awakening.
  • Endued with evenness of mind, one casts off, in this very life, both good deeds and evil deeds.
  • By that alone you will become full of joy, recognising Self as Pure Being, Consciousness and Bliss.
  • Thus one should know oneself to be of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss[Sat-Chit-Ananda].
  • What delusion, what sorrow, can there be for him who beholds that oneness [of the jiva and Brahman.
  • Who but the Atman is capable of removing the bonds of ignorance, passion and self-interested action?
  • The name, “universe,” is superimposed on Brahman, but what we call the “universe” is [really] nothing but Brahman.
  • What is enquiry into the Truth? It is the firm conviction that the Self is real, and all, other than That, is unreal.
  • He who knows that imperishable Being, bright, without shadow, without body, without colour, verily obtains the Supreme.
  • What is the first and most important duty for a man of right understanding? To cut through the bonds of worldly desire.
  • Like the appearance of silver in mother of pearl, the world seems real until the Self, the underlying reality, is realized.
  • But the jiva [living being] is endowed with ego and his knowledge is limited, whereas Ishwar is without ego and is omniscient.
  • Thus, when the Sage who abides as Brahman, which is Pure Being, obtains his disembodied absolute state, he is never again reborn.
  • There is sorrow in finitude. The Self is beyond time, space and objects. It is infinite and hence of the nature of absolute happiness.
  • Seated in a solitary place, free from desires and with senses controlled, one should meditate free of thought on that one infinite Self.
  • The universe is truly Brahman, … for that which is superimposed (the universe) has no separate existence from its substratum (Brahman).
  • Utterly destroy the ego. Control the many waves of distraction which it raises in the mind. Discern the Reality and realize “I am That.”
  • Space seems broken and diverse because of the many forms in it. Remove the forms and pure space remains. So, too with the Omnipresent Self.
  • He who sees himself in all beings, by means of his true understanding, first attains unity with all and then realizes the eternal Brahman.
  • The witness of the three states of consciousness [waking, dream and deep sleep] and of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss is the Self
  • You are pure Consciousness, the witness of all experiences. Your real nature is joy. Cease this very moment to identify yourself with the ego.
  • The knower of the Self passes beyond grief. He is not afraid of anything — neither of the approach of death nor of death itself. He fears nothing whatsoever.
  • Loud speech, profusion of words, and possessing skillfulness in expounding scriptures are merely for the enjoyment of the learned. They do not lead to liberation.
  • Though he lives in the conditionings (Upadhis), he, the contemplative one, remains ever unconcerned with anything or he may move about like the wind, perfectly unattached.
  • The Atman, the Sun of Knowledge that rises in the sky of the heart, destroys the darkness of the ignorance, pervades and sustains all and shines and makes everything to shine.
  • Knowing that I am different from the body, I need not neglect the body. It is a vehicle that I use to transact with the world. It is the temple which houses the Pure Self within.
  • Do not be proud of wealth, people, relations and friends, or youth. All these are snatched by time in the blink of an eye. Giving up this illusory world, know and attain the Supreme.
  • From a clear knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita all the goals of human existence become fulfilled. Bhagavad-gita is the manifest quintessence of all the teachings of the Vedic scriptures.
  • Each thing tends to move towards its own nature. I always desire happiness which is my true nature. My nature is never a burden to me. Happiness is never a burden to me, whilst sorrow is.
  • This is the final declaration of the Vedanta: Brahman is all; [It is] this universe and every creature. To be liberated is to live in the continual awareness of Brahman, the undivided Reality.
  • To be free from bondage the wise person must practise discrimination between One-Self and the ego-self. By that alone you will become full of joy, recognising Self as Pure Being, Consciousness and Bliss.
  • As the mind becomes gradually established in the Self, it proportionately gives up the desire for external objects. When all such desires have been eliminated, there is the unobstructed realization of the Self.
  • As gold purified in a furnace loses its impurities and achieves its own true nature, the mind gets rid of the impurities of the attributes of delusion, attachment and purity through meditation and attains Reality.
  • Everything, from the intellect down to the gross physical body, is the effect of Maya. Understand that all these and Maya itself are not the [absolute] Self, and are therefore unreal, like a mirage in the desert.
  • You never identify yourself with the shadows cast by your body, or with its reflection, or with the body you see in a dream or in your imagination. Therefore you should not identify yourself with this living body either.
  • The entire universe is truly the Self. There exists nothing at all other than the Self. The enlightened person sees everything in the world as his own Self, just as one views earthenware jars and pots as nothing but clay.
  • Do not look at anybody in terms of friend or foe, brother or cousin; do not fritter away your mental energies in thoughts of friendship or enmity. Seeking the Self everywhere, be amiable and equal-minded towards all, treating all alike.
  • Give up identification with this mass of flesh as well as with what thinks it a mass. Both are intellectual imaginations. Recognise your true self as undifferentiated awareness, unaffected by time, past, present or future, and enter Peace.
  • Maya is neither real nor unreal, nor both together; She is neither identical with Brahman nor different from Him, nor both; She is neither differentiated nor undifferentiated, nor both. She is most wonderful and cannot be described in words.
  • All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the substratum which is the Eternal All-pervading Vishnu, whose nature is Existence-Intelligence; just as the different ornaments are all made out of the same gold.
  • The fool thinks, “I am the body”; the intelligent man thinks, “I am an individual soul united with the body.” But the wise man, in the greatness of his knowledge and spiritual discrimination, sees the Self as the only reality and thinks, “I am Brahman.
  • You are the Self, the infinite Being, the pure, unchanging Consciousness, which pervades everything. Your nature is bliss and your glory is without stain. Because you identify yourself with the ego, you are tied to birth and death. Your bondage has no other cause.
  • That Reality is One; though, owing to illusion, It appears to be multiple names and forms, attributes and changes, It always remains unchanged. [It is] like gold which, while remaining one, is formed into various ornaments. You are that One, that Brahman. Meditate on this in your mind.
  • Just as a stone, a tree, a straw, grain, a mat, a cloth, a pot, and so on, when burned, are reduced to earth (from which they came), so the body and its sense organs, on being burned in the fire of Knowledge, become Knowledge and are absorbed in Brahman, like darkness in the light of the sun.
  • The soul acts, to be sure, but the activity of the soul is not independent. It acts itself, but the Lord causes it to act. Moreover, the Lord in causing it to act now has regard to its former efforts, and He also caused it to act in a former existence, having regard to its efforts previous to that existence.
  • When a pot is broken the space that was in it becomes one with space; so too when the limitation caused by the body and its adjuncts is removed the Sage, realized during life, shines as Brahman, becoming absorbed in Brahman he already was, like milk in milk, water in water, or oil in oil, and is radiant as the One Supreme Self.
  • Even after the Truth has been realised, there remains that strong, obstinate impression that one is still an ego – the agent and experiencer. This has to be carefully removed by living in a state of constant identification with the supreme non-dual Self. Full Awakening is the eventual ceasing of all the mental impressions of being an ego.
  • The Self is the witness, beyond all attributes, beyond action. It can be directly realized as pure Consciousness and infinite bliss. Its appearance as an individual soul is caused by the delusion of our understanding, and has no reality. By -its very nature, this appearance is unreal. When our delusion has been removed, it ceases to exist.
  • The Self never undergoes change; the intellect never possesses consciousness. But when one sees all this world, he is deluded into thinking, “I am the seer, I am the knower.” Mistaking one’s Self for the individual entity, one is overcome with fear. If one knows oneself not as the individual but as the supreme Self, one becomes free from fear.
  • The existence of all that is either affirmed or denied in the one substratum of the indestructible, unattached, non-dual, absolute Self depends only on the mind, just as the appearance or disappearance of the imaginary snake in a piece of rope has no basis in reality. Bondage and Liberation are creations of Maya, superimpositions upon the Brahman imagined by the mind without any existence in reality. It is a fool who blames the sun for his own blindness…. The scriptures even proclaim aloud: “There is in truth no creation and no destruction; no one is bound, no one is seeking Liberation, no one is on the way to Deliverance. There are none Liberated. This is the absolute truth.” My dear disciple, this, the sum and substance of all the Upanishads, the secret of secrets, is my instruction to you.