Not only the zeal of those who seek Him proves God, but also the blindness of those who seek Him not.
I was greatly influenced by one of my teachers. She had a zeal not so much for perfection as for steady betterment - she demanded not excellence so much as integrity.
The loss of certainty of truth has ended in a new, entirely unprecedented zeal for truthfulness - as though man could afford to be a liar only so long as he was certain of the unchallengable existence of truth and objective reality, which surely would survive and defeat all his lies.
Never let your zeal outrun your charity. The former is but human; the latter is divine.
I would have every zealous man examine his heart thoroughly, and I believe he will often find that what he calls a zeal for his religion is either pride, interest, or ill-repute.
The faculty of imagination is the great spring of human activity, and the principal source of human improvement. As it delights in presenting to the mind scenes and characters more perfect than those which we are acquainted with, it prevents us from ever being completely satisfied with our present condition or with our past attainments, and engages us continually in the pursuit of some untried enjoyment, or of some ideal excellence. Hence the ardour of the selfish to better their fortunes, and to add to their personal accomplishments; and hence the zeal of the patriot and philosopher to advance the virtue and the happiness of the human race. Destroy this faculty, and the condition of man will become as stationary as that of the brutes.
A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.
Religious discord has lost her sting; the cumbrous weapons of theological warfare are antiquated: the field of politics supplies the alchymists of our times with materials of more fatal explosion, and the butchers of mankind no longer travel to another world for instruments of cruelty and destruction. Our age is too enlightened to contend upon topics, which concern only the interests of eternity; and men who hold in proper contempt all controversies about trifles, except such as inflame their own passions, have made it a common-place censure against your ancestors, that their zeal was enkindled by subjects of trivial importance; and that however aggrieved by the intolerance of others, they were alike intolerant themselves.
Religious rights, and religious liberty, are things of inestimable value. For these have many of our ancestors suffered and died; and shall we, in the sunshine of prosperity, desert that glorious cause, from which no storms of adversity or persecution could make them swerve? Let us consider if as a duty of the first rank with respect to moral obligation, to transmit to our posterity, and provide, as far as we can, for transmitting, unimpaired, to the latest generations, that generous zeal for religion and liberty, which makes the memory of our forefathers so truly illustrious.
There is a wholly mistaken zeal in politics as well as in religion. By persuading others, we convince ourselves.
The mind never rests but must go on expecting and preparing for what is yet known and what is still concealed. Meanwhile, man cannot know what God is, even though he be ever so well of what God is not; and an intelligent person will reject that. As long as it has no reference point, the mind can only wait as matter waits for him. And matter can never find rest except in form; so, too, the mind can never find rest except in the essential truth which is locked up in it--the truth about everything. Essence alone satisfied and God keeps on withdrawing, farther and farther away, to arouse the mind's zeal and lure it to follow and finally grasp the true good that has no cause. Thus, contented with nothing, the mind clamors for the highest good of all.
People suffer under the illusion of autonomy if they think they
have changed their script, but in reality have changed only the set-
ting, characters, costumes, etc., not the essence of the drama. For
example, a person who is Parent programmed to be an evangelist may
join the drug scene and then with religious zeal evangelize others into
following. Choosing the setting for evangelizing may give the person
the illusion of freedom when actually the enslavement to parental
instructions has only been disguised.
The strongest affection and utmost zeal should, I think, promote the studies concerned with the most beautiful objects. This is the discipline that deals with the universe's divine revolutions, the stars' motions, sizes, distances, risings and settings . . . for what is more beautiful than heaven?
Weaken a bad habit by avoiding everything that occasioned it or stimulated it, without concentrating upon it in your zeal to avoid it. Then divert your mind to some good habit and steadily cultivate it until it becomes a dependable part of you.
Determine what specific goal you want to achieve. Then dedicate yourself to its attainment with unswerving singleness of purpose, the trenchant zeal of a crusader.
Our evangelizing zeal must spring from true holiness of life, and, as the Second Vatican Council suggests, preaching must in its turn make the preacher grow in holiness, which is nourished by prayer… The world which, paradoxically, despite innumerable signs of the denial of God, is nevertheless searching for Him in unexpected ways and painfully experiencing the need of Him- the world is calling for evangelizers to speak to it of a God whom the evangelists themselves should know and be familiar with as if they could see the invisible. The world calls for and expects from us simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, charity towards all, especially towards the lowly and the poor, obedience and humility, detachment and self-sacrifice. Without this mark of holiness, our word will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man. It risks being vain and sterile.
Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. . . True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His Flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors… He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised, knowing, and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of the perfect happiness in heaven… something quite different from an inconsistent and impotent humanitarianism.
In the same decade in which writers are discovering the emotional importance of childhood and are unmasking the devastating consequences of the way power is secretly exercised under the disguise of child-rearing, students of psychology are spending four years at the universities learning to regard human beings as machines in order to gain a better understanding of how they function. When we consider how much time and energy is devoted during these best years to wasting the last opportunities of adolescence and to suppressing, by means of the intellectual disciplines, the feelings that emerge with particular force at this age, then it is no wonder that the people who have made this sacrifice victimize their patients and clients in turn, treating them as mere objects of knowledge instead of as autonomous, creative beings. There are some authors of so-called objective, scientific publications in the field of psychology who remind me of the officer in Kafka's Penal Colony in their zeal and their consistent self-destructiveness. In the unsuspecting, trusting attitude of Kafka's convicted prisoner, on the other hand, we can see the students of today who are so eager to believe that the only thing that counts in their four years of study is their academic performance and that human commitment is not required.
THE lessons of fear which the child receives from its parents are intensified by the methods employed at the school in which he receives his education and life-training. We glory in the fact that we have made great strides in the science of education, that we are more practical in the choice of subjects for study, that we have a deeper insight into the soul of the child. And yet, in our method of imparting knowledge and in the relations between teacher and pupil, we can boast of but little progress. We still look upon the child as a more or less unwilling receptacle that must be stuffed with learning. The teacher is still a being to be feared, the school room still a prison house, and learning a punishment. Our system of education is still based on reward and punishment. A high mark is still the encouragement for zeal in study, while the backward student is haunted by the prospect of a low grade. The child, under present methods, prepares his lessons either in order to gain the reward of a high mark, or for fear of the contempt and humiliation that accompanies a low grade. In other words, he works not because of the intrinsic interest of his work but in the hope of reward or in the fear of punishment. The first motive breeds the harmful spirit of competition in the young mind.
All enterprises that are entered into with indiscreet zeal may be pursued with great vigor at first, but are sure to collapse in the end.