Quotes for July 2006

Against the heart of the gospel…

· 31 July 2006

[F]or a Christian the issue is clear: the death penalty is always wrong, not because it isn’t a deterrent and doesn’t bring closure, but because it goes against the very heart of the gospel. The one thing that Jesus asks us to do that sets us apart as Christians, more than anything else, is to love those who hate us, to do good to those who curse us, to not give back in kind, murder for murder, but to forgive our enemies, including murderers.

Jesus witnessed to this in his own death (“Forgive them for they know not what they do!”) and he challenged us to the same by telling us that our virtue needs to go deeper than that of the scribes and the pharisees, that is, the virtue of strict justice which, precisely, prescribed the death penalty in the name of fairness and in the name of God.

— Ronald Rolheiser, “Don’t Worship Your Emotions”

« πλ | Forgiveness, Mercy »

Most revolutionary moral event…

· 30 July 2006

The renowned anthropologist, Rene Girard, asserts that the cross of Jesus is the single most revolutionary moral event ever in history, but that it is like a capsule whose power is being released slowly (in terms of our understanding and absorption) through the centuries. Simply put, as the centuries go on, slowly, more and more, we are grasping its deeper moral demands.

— Ronald Rolheiser, “Don’t Worship Your Emotions”

« πλ | The Cross »

An excuse is worse…

· 29 July 2006

An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.

— Pope John Paul II [via]

« πλ | Attitude, Sin »

If you are discouraged…

· 28 July 2006

If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride, because it shows you trust in your own powers. Never bother about other people’s opinions. Be humble and you will never be disturbed. Remember St. Aloysius, who said he would continue to play billiards even if he knew he was going to die. Do you play well? Sleep well? Eat well? These are duties. Nothing is small for God.

— Mother Teresa [via]

« πλ | Attitude, Humility »

In widening circles…

· 27 July 2006

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not ever complete the last one, but I give myself to it.

— Ranier Maria Rilke

« πλ | Awareness, Life »

Prepare to die by…

· 26 July 2006

We prepare to die by pushing ourselves to love less narrowly. In that sense, readying ourselves for death is really an ever-widening entry into life.

— Ronald Rolheiser, “Life’s Key Question”

« πλ | Death, Love »

Two tragedies…

· 25 July 2006

John Powell, in his book, “Unconditional Love”, tells the story of a young student who was dying of cancer. In the final stages of his illness, he came to see Powell and said something to this effect: “Father, you once told us something in class that has made it easier for me to die young. You said: ‘There are only two potential tragedies in life, and dying young isn’t one of them. These are the two tragedies: If you go through life and don’t love and if you go through life and you don’t tell those whom you love that you love them.’”

— Ronald Rolheiser, “Life’s Key Question”

« πλ | Love »

What you can plan…

· 24 July 2006

What you can plan is too small for you to live.

— David Whyte, “What to Remember When Waking”

« πλ | Being, Life »

To be human is…

· 23 July 2006

To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.

— David Whyte, “What to Remember When Waking”

« πλ | Being, Giving »

We are less alone…

· 22 July 2006

That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe.

— John Berger [via]

« πλ | Existence, Life »

By examining the tongue…

· 21 July 2006

By examining the tongue of the patient, physicians find out the diseases of the body, and philosophers the diseases of the mind.

— St. Justin Martyr

« πλ | Attitude »

We never lose an attachment…

· 20 July 2006

The process of practice is to see through, not to eliminate, anything to which we are attached. We could have great financial wealth and be unattached to it, or we might have nothing and be very attached to having nothing. Usually, if we have seen through the nature of attachment, we will tend to have fewer possessions, but not necessarily. Most practice gets caught in this area of fiddling with our environment or our minds. “My mind should be quiet.” Our mind doesn’t matter; what matters is nonattachment to the activities of the mind. And our emotions are harmless unless they dominate us (that is, if we are attached to them)—then they create disharmony for everyone. The first problem in practice is to see that we are attached. As we do consistent, patient zazen we begin to know that we are nothing but attachments: they rule our lives.

But we never lose an attachment by saying it has to go. Only as we gain awareness of its true nature does it quietly and imperceptibly wither away; like a sandcastle with waves rolling over, it just smoothes out and finally—where is it? What was it?

— Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen [via]

« πλ | Awareness, Detachment »

The greatest mystery is not…

· 19 July 2006

The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.

— Andre Malraux [via]

« πλ | Mystery, Pride »

Stranger than fiction…

· 18 July 2006

Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.

— G.K. Chesterton

« πλ | Truth »

Morality, like art, means…

· 17 July 2006

Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.

— Oscar Wilde [via]

« πλ | Art, Character »


· 16 July 2006

If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.

— Don Marquis [via]

« πλ | Observation »

Contagious yawning…

· 15 July 2006

If you play an audiotape of a yawn to blind people, they’ll yawn too.

— Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point

« πλ | Observation »

Suspended between…

· 14 July 2006

Anyone who has probed the inner life, who has sat in silence long enough to experience the stillness of the mind behind its apparent noise, is faced with a mystery. Apart from all the outer attractions of life in the world, there exists at the center of human consciousness something quite satisfying and beautiful in itself, a beauty without features. The mystery is not so much that these two dimensions exist—an outer world and the mystery of the inner world—but that we are suspended between them, as a space in which both worlds meet…as if the human being is the meeting point, the threshold between two worlds.

— Kabir Helmisnski, The Knowing Heart

« πλ | Existence »

The true soldier fights…

· 13 July 2006

The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

— G.K. Chesterton [via]

« πλ | Character »

To be enlightened…

· 12 July 2006

To be enlightened is to know that heaven is not “coming.” Heaven is here.

— Joan Chittister

« πλ | Awareness »

Dreams need feet…

· 11 July 2006

When I was a kid, my mom told me I could do anything. I believed her. She said dreaming was important and dreaming big was what set people apart. But Mom said there was a catch: “Dreams need feet. They’re not worth much stuck between your ears.” Put feet on your dreams.

— S. Peter Lewis, Treehouse Chronicles

« πλ | Motivation »

Created for the transcendent…

· 10 July 2006

We were made to enjoy music, to enjoy beautiful sunsets, to enjoy looking at the billows of the sea and to be thrilled with a rose that is bedecked with dew. …Human beings are actually created for the transcendent, for the sublime, for the beautiful, for the truthful…and all of us are given the task of trying to make this world a lihttp://cowpi.com/cgi-bin/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=1937&blog_id=6ttle more hospitable to these beautiful things.

— Desmond Tutu

« πλ | Existence »

The concept of consciousness…

· 9 July 2006

If the concept of consciousness were to fall to science, what would happen to our sense of moral agency and free will? If conscious experience were reduced somehow to mere matter in motion, what would happen to our appreciation of love and pain and dreams and joy? If conscious human beings were just animated material objects, how could anything we do to them be right or wrong?

— Daniel C. Dennett [via]

« πλ | Being »

Desire is often talked about as…

· 8 July 2006

Desire is often talked about as something we ought to overcome. Still, being is desiring: our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls are full of desires. Some are unruly, turbulent, and very distracting; some make us think deep thoughts and see great visions; some teach us how to love; and some keep us searching for God. Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires. Otherwise our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls become one another’s enemies and our inner lives become chaotic, leading us to despair and self-destruction.

Spiritual disciplines are not ways to eradicate all our desires but ways to order them so that they can serve one another and together serve God.

— Henri Nouwen [via]

« πλ | Detachment, Spirituality »

Life living itself through me…

· 7 July 2006

To me this would be the best way to live—to situate yourself within your life in such a way as to feel that your own life was unfolding with the pattern of all of life. I suppose this might seem megalomaniacal, but I see it as quite humble. My life isn’t mine, it is just life living itself through me. I think, if you lived your life like that, then a lot of what bothers you wouldn’t bother you any more, and a lot of things that don’t bother you now would seem very important, very personal..

— Zoketsu Norman Fischer

« πλ | Life »

When Jesus is near…

· 6 July 2006

When Jesus is near, all is well and nothing seems difficult. When He is absent, all is hard. When Jesus does not speak within, all other comfort is empty, but if He says only a word, it brings great consolation.

— Thomas á Kempis [via]

« πλ | Christ »

An experience of being alive…

· 5 July 2006

People say that what we’re seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

— Joseph Campbell

I disagree. It is not either/or. It is and/both.

« πλ | Life »

Good writing and good sex…

· 4 July 2006

Wherein we discover that many of the “rules” for good writing and good sex are the same: Keep your hand moving, lose control, and don’t think.

— Natalie Goldberg

« πλ | Observation »

So afraid of the brilliance…

· 3 July 2006

One day passes and another day comes along, and everything happens the same. But basically, we are so afraid of the brilliance coming at us, and the sharp experience of our life, that we can’t even focus our eyes.

— Chogyam Trungpa, Dharma Art [via]

« πλ | Fear, Grace, Life »

Poetry may not save a soul…

· 2 July 2006

Poetry may not save a soul, but it may force a soul into the precinct of its last invasion.

— Nathan Scott [via]

« πλ | Art, Grace »

Cannot navigate the future unless…

· 1 July 2006

[Speaking about rear-view mirrors] You cannot successfully navigate the future unless you keep always framed beside it a small, clear image of the past.

— J.A. Struther, aka “Mrs. Miniver” [via]

« πλ | Attitude, Discernment »