Not alone to know, but to act according to thy knowledge, is thy destination, proclaims the voice of thy inmost soul. Not for indolent contemplation and study of thyself, nor for brooding over emotions of piety - no, for action was existence given thee; thy actions, and thy actions alone, determine thy worth.
Time is short, your obligations are infinite. Are your houses regulated, your children instructed, the afflicted relieved, the poor visited, the work of piety accomplished?
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, and many other things of the same kind.
What is simpler than prayer? Its spontaneity is, however, taken away at times by the use of excessively complicated methods, which draw too much attention to themselves and not enough to God, whom the soul should seek. A method is good as a way of finding the truth, on condition that it can be forgotten and that it lead truly to the end toward which one tends. To prefer the method to the truth, or a certain intellectual mechanism to reality that should be known, would be a manifest aberration, similar to that of the meticulous man or of the pedant. Moreover, an over-complicated method provokes a reaction, and even an excessive reaction in some who, worn out by this complexity, often end up in a vague reverie that has scarcely any true piety about it except the name.
The truth, here as elsewhere, is to be found in the middle and above these two extreme, opposite deviations. A method, or to speak more simply with Bossuet, a manner of making prayer, is useful, especially at the beginning, to preserve us from mental rambling. But that it may not by its complexity become an obstacle rather than a help, it must be simple, and, far from breaking the spontaneity and continuity of prayer, it should be content with describing the ascending movement of the soul toward God. It should be limited to indicating the essential acts of which this movement is composed. We should remember especially that prayer depends principally on the grace of God, and that a person prepares for it far less by processes that would remain mechanical, so to speak, than by humility; "God. . . giveth grace to the humble."
It is significant that it is as difficult to get charity out of piety as to get reasonableness out of rationalism.
Intellectualism, though by no means confined to doubters, is often the sole piety of the skeptic.
When I was born good fairies clustered round my cradle, showering me with wit, beauty, grace, freedom from dandruff, natural piety and other great gifts, but the Wicked Fairy Carabosse (who had not been invited to the party) crept to my side and screamed Let him be cursed with Inability To Do Little Jobs Around The House, and so it has always been.
The Perils of Worship -
The life without reverence is barren and insensitive. And worship is the proper expression of reverence. The Sermon on the Mount leads to adoration, thanksgiving, and prayer as truly as it leads to acts of service. But there are perils in worship.
Some of the worship that goes on in our churches is merely lip service, talk takes the place of activity. True worship is the expression of the reverence of a human personality for his Lord and Creator. Reverence makes us eager to serve and obey. But false worship and lip service can be worse then open defiance.
The story is told of Mark Twain's encounter with a man who managed to combine the appearances of piety with a predatory career in business. "Before I die," said the hypocrite, "I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb to the top of Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud." "I have a better idea," answered Mark Twain. "Why don't you stay right at home in Boston and keep them?"
After the warmth of the worship that says, "Lord, Lord," there is a chill in the words, "Do what I say." But if we do not meet the chill, the warmth is not the warmth of life. Bishop Gore ended his book, The Sermon on the Mount, by saying: "Many will come to him in that day with a record of their orthodoxy and of their observances, of their brilliant successes in his professed service; but he will protest unto them, 'I never knew you.' He 'knows' no man in whom he cannot recognize his own likeness." (The Sermon on the Mount by Charles Gore, p. 188. John Murray Ltd., London)
His own likeness? If we understand the Sermon on the Mount, we will never claim that. But if it sinks in, it does begin to remake us.
Marriages would in general be as happy, and often more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor.
Be careful and do not lightly condemn the actions of others. We must consider the intention of our neighbor, which is often good and pure, although the act itself seems blameworthy.
Those who submit to the Lord with simple heart will run the good race. If they keep their minds on a leash, they will not draw the wickedness of the demons onto themselves.
Glory is safe when it is deserved; it is not so with popularity; one lasts like a mosaic, the other is effaced like a crayon drawing.
1) We talk about you. 2)We talk to you. 3)We talk with one another. And 4) We talk with one another about ourselves. When we are talking about one another, and when we are talking to (or at) one another there is no dialogue. The dialogue starts when we are at the place of talking with one another. Sometimes in the process of dialogue, we discover we have moved to the deeper, fourth stage. We are talking with one another about ourselves.
My native place was [alive] with old legends, tales, traditions, customs and superstitions; so that in my early youth, even beyond the walls of my own humble roof, they met me in every direction.
The move from economic exploitation to policies that are grounded in fear seems deliberately designed to produce suffering. Finally, as every exploitative system eventually learns, the exploitation rooted in fear reaches its limit of unbearable suffering.
We must not indulge in unfavorable views of mankind, since by doing it we make bad men believe that they are no worse than others, and we teach the good that they are good in vain.
The fount of joy was bubbling in thine eyes, dancing was in thy feet, and on thy lips a laugh that never dies, unutterably sweet. Dance on! forever young, forever fair, lightfooted as a frightened bounding deer, thy wreath of vine-leaves twisted in thy hair, through all the changing seasons of the year...
Style is a very simple matter; it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can't use the wrong words. But on the other hand here am I sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can't dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm. Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than any words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it.
Some writers thrive on the contact with the commerce of success; others are corrupted by it. Perhaps, like losing one's virginity, it is not as bad (or as good) as one feared it was going to be.