Called To Heaven Quotes

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If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Alec looked down at the shattered pieces in disbelief. “You BROKE my PHONE.” Jace shrugged. “Guys don’t let other guys keep calling other guys. Okay, that came out wrong. Friends don’t let friends keep calling their exes and hanging up. Seriously. You have to stop.” Alec looked furious. “So you broke my brand new phone? Thanks a lot.” Jace smiled serenely and lay back on the grass. “You’re welcome.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Isabelle!" he called again. "Let down your raven hair!' "Oh my God," Clary muttered. "There was something in that blood Raphael gave you, wasn't there? I'm going to kill him.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Black for hunting through the night For death and mourning the color's white Gold for a bride in her wedding gown And red to call the enchantment down White silk when our bodies burn Blue banners when the lost return Flame for the birth of a Nephilim And to wash away our sins. Gray for the knowledge best untold Bone for those who don't grow old Saffron lights the victory march Green to mend our broken hearts Silver for the demon towers And bronze to summon wicked powers -Shadowhunter children's rhyme
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Some kids get called 'bundles of joy' or 'slices of heaven' or 'dreams come true.' We got 'the fifty-fourth generation of DNA experiments.' Doesn't have the same warm and fuzzy feel. But maybe I'm oversensitive.
James Patterson (Angel (Maximum Ride, #7))
The first men to be created and formed were called the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, the Sorcerer of Night, Unkempt, and the Black Sorcerer … They were endowed with intelligence, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all that is around them, and they contemplated in turn the arc of heaven and the round face of the earth … [Then the Creator said]: 'They know all … what shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth!… Are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods?
Anonymous (Popol Vuh)
I have been wandering to find him and my happiness is so great that it even weakens me like a wound. And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me Beloved, me who am but as a dog.
C.S. Lewis (The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7))
There was a thing called Heaven; but all the same they used to drink enormous quantities of alcohol." ... "There was a thing called the soul and a thing called immortality." ... "But they used to take morphia and cocaine." ... "Two thousand pharmacologists and biochemists were subsidized in A.F. 178." ... "Six years later it was being produced commercially. The perfect drug." ... "Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant." ... "All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects." ... "Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology." ... "Stability was practically assured.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Why would we want fame, when God promises us glory? Why would we be seeking the wealth of the world when the wealth of heaven is ours? Why would we run for a crown that will perish with time, when we're called to win a crown that is imperishable?
Paul David Washer
In the weeks we’d been thrown together that summer, our lives had scarcely touched, but we had crossed to the other bank, where time stops and heaven reaches down to earth and gives us that ration of what is from birth divinely ours. We looked the other way. We spoke about everything but. But we’ve always known, and not saying anything now confirmed it all the more. We had found the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
There were people who called themselves Satanists who made Crowley squirm. It wasn't just the things they did, it was the way they blamed it all on Hell. They'd come up with some stomach-churning idea that no demon could have thought of in a thousand years, some dark and mindless unpleasantness that only a fully-functioning human brain could conceive, then shout "The Devil Made Me Do It" and get the sympathy of the court when the whole point was that the Devil hardly ever made anyone do anything. He didn't have to. That was what some humans found hard to understand. Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven, in Crowley's opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.
Ayn Rand (We the Living)
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth. Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star. But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many--perhaps most--of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven--or hell. How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars. Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; 'Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?' Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction. The truth, as always, will be far stranger.
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey)
But where was God now, with heaven full of astronauts, and the Lord overthrown? I miss God. I miss the company of someone utterly loyal. I still don't think of God as my betrayer. The servants of God, yes, but servants by their very nature betray. I miss God who was my friend. I don't even know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it. I have an idea that one day it might be possible, I thought once it had become possible, and that glimpse has set me wandering, trying to find the balance between earth and sky. If the servants hadn't rushed in and parted us, I might have been disappointed, might have snatched off the white samite to find a bowl of soup. As it is, I can't settle, I want someone who is fierce and will love me until death and know that love is as strong as death, and be on my side for ever and ever. I want someone who will destroy and be destroyed by me. There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other's names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on the wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name. Romantic love has been diluted into paperback form and has sold thousands and millions of copies. Somewhere it is still in the original, written on tablets of stone. I would cross seas and suffer sunstroke and give away all I have, but not for a man, because they want to be the destroyer and never the destroyed.
Jeanette Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit)
Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!
Billy Graham
The Jews are a peculiar people: Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese--and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.
Eric Hoffer
Once, very long ago, Time fell in love with Fate. This, as you might imagine, proved problematic. Their romance disrupted the flow of time. It tangled the strings of fortune into knots.  The stars watched from the heavens nervously, worrying what might occur. What might happen to the days and nights were time to suffer a broken heart? What catastrophes might result if the same fate awaited Fate itself? The stars conspired and separated the two. For a while they breathed easier in the heavens. Time continued to flow as it always had, or perhaps imperceptibly slower. Fate weaved together the paths that were meant to intertwine, though perhaps a string was missed here and there. But eventually, Fate and Time found each other again.  In the heavens, the stars sighed, twinkling and fretting. They asked the Moon her advice. The Moon in turn called upon the parliament of owls to decide how best to proceed. The parliament of owls convened to discuss the matter amongst themselves night after night. They argued and debated while the world slept around them, and the world continued to turn, unaware that such important matters were under discussion while it slumbered.  The parliament of owls came to the logical conclusion that if the problem was in the combination, one of the elements should be removed. They chose to keep the one they felt more important. The parliament of owls told their decision to the stars and the stars agreed. The Moon did not, but on this night she was dark and could not offer her opinion.  So it was decided, and Fate was pulled apart. Ripped into pieces by beaks and claws. Fate’s screams echoed through the deepest corners and the highest heavens but no one dared to intervene save for a small brave mouse who snuck into the fray, creeping unnoticed through the blood and bone and feathers, and took Fate’s heart and kept it safe. When the furor died down there was nothing else left of Fate.  The owl who consumed Fate’s eyes gained great site, greater site then any that had been granted to a mortal creature before. The Parliament crowned him the Owl King. In the heavens the stars sparkled with relief but the moon was full of sorrow. And so time goes as it should and events that were once fated to happen are left instead to chance, and Chance never falls in love with anything for long. But the world is strange and endings are not truly endings no matter how the stars might wish it so.  Occasionally Fate can pull itself together again.  And Time is always waiting.
Erin Morgenstern (The Starless Sea)
4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion... shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in fureâ. ...Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you... In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it... I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost... [Letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, advising him in matters of religion, 1787]
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
No matter what heaven you believe in, your time on this earth will end. What I’m saying is that you should listen—really listen—to the slosh of the waves and the distant call of Pacific birds. You should feel a boy’s pulse against your cheek; you should fill your lungs with ocean air. While you can, I mean. You should do these things while you still can.
Emery Lord (When We Collided)
But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
Philipp Mainländer (Die Philosophie der Erlösung (1879))
The manager once called me the 'best freak' in his stable, and, sad as it sounds, I took pride in that. When you are an outcast, even a tossed stone can be cherished.
Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
So often, we push away the voices closest to us. But once they're gone, we reach for them.
Mitch Albom (The First Phone Call from Heaven)
Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven. —Chuang Tse: XXIII
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Lathe of Heaven)
My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before,—a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy.
Henry David Thoreau
The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity; Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood; Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounc’d that the Gods had order’d such things. Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)
People whispered comfort about Marian being called back to heaven, but my mother would not be distracted from her grief. To this day it remains a hobby.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
I was born free, and that I might live in freedom I chose the solitude of the fields; in the trees of the mountains I find society, the clear waters of the brooks are my mirrors, and to the trees and waters I make known my thoughts and charms. I am a fire afar off, a sword laid aside. Those whom I have inspired with love by letting them see me, I have by words undeceived, and if their longings live on hope—and I have given none to Chrysostom or to any other—it cannot justly be said that the death of any is my doing, for it was rather his own obstinacy than my cruelty that killed him; and if it be made a charge against me that his wishes were honourable, and that therefore I was bound to yield to them, I answer that when on this very spot where now his grave is made he declared to me his purity of purpose, I told him that mine was to live in perpetual solitude, and that the earth alone should enjoy the fruits of my retirement and the spoils of my beauty; and if, after this open avowal, he chose to persist against hope and steer against the wind, what wonder is it that he should sink in the depths of his infatuation? If I had encouraged him, I should be false; if I had gratified him, I should have acted against my own better resolution and purpose. He was persistent in spite of warning, he despaired without being hated. Bethink you now if it be reasonable that his suffering should be laid to my charge. Let him who has been deceived complain, let him give way to despair whose encouraged hopes have proved vain, let him flatter himself whom I shall entice, let him boast whom I shall receive; but let not him call me cruel or homicide to whom I make no promise, upon whom I practise no deception, whom I neither entice nor receive. It has not been so far the will of Heaven that I should love by fate, and to expect me to love by choice is idle. Let this general declaration serve for each of my suitors on his own account, and let it be understood from this time forth that if anyone dies for me it is not of jealousy or misery he dies, for she who loves no one can give no cause for jealousy to any, and candour is not to be confounded with scorn. Let him who calls me wild beast and basilisk, leave me alone as something noxious and evil; let him who calls me ungrateful, withhold his service; who calls me wayward, seek not my acquaintance; who calls me cruel, pursue me not; for this wild beast, this basilisk, this ungrateful, cruel, wayward being has no kind of desire to seek, serve, know, or follow them. If Chrysostom's impatience and violent passion killed him, why should my modest behaviour and circumspection be blamed? If I preserve my purity in the society of the trees, why should he who would have me preserve it among men, seek to rob me of it? I have, as you know, wealth of my own, and I covet not that of others; my taste is for freedom, and I have no relish for constraint; I neither love nor hate anyone; I do not deceive this one or court that, or trifle with one or play with another. The modest converse of the shepherd girls of these hamlets and the care of my goats are my recreations; my desires are bounded by these mountains, and if they ever wander hence it is to contemplate the beauty of the heavens, steps by which the soul travels to its primeval abode.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
In its mythology, Mithra, the Persian god of light and wisdom, was born of a virgin in a cave on the 25th December and later, as an adult, undertook long voyages for the purposes of illuminating mankind. His disciples were twelve; he was betrayed, sentenced to death, and after his death, he was buried in a tomb from which he rose from the dead. The Mithrian religion also states that at the end of all time, Mithra will come again to judge the living and the dead. In this religious cult, Mithra was called the Saviour and he was sometimes illustrated as a lamb. Its doctrine included baptism, the sacramental meal (the Eucharist), and the belief in a saviour god that died and rose from the dead to be the mediator between God and mankind. The adherents of this religion believed in the resurrection of the body, universal judgement, and therefore in heaven and hell.
Anton Sammut (The Secret Gospel Of Jesus AD 0-78)
What would you have me do? Seek for the patronage of some great man, And like a creeping vine on a tall tree Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone? No thank you! Dedicate, as others do, Poems to pawnbrokers? Be a buffoon In the vile hope of teasing out a smile On some cold face? No thank you! Eat a toad For breakfast every morning? Make my knees Callous, and cultivate a supple spine,- Wear out my belly grovelling in the dust? No thank you! Scratch the back of any swine That roots up gold for me? Tickle the horns Of Mammon with my left hand, while my right Too proud to know his partner's business, Takes in the fee? No thank you! Use the fire God gave me to burn incense all day long Under the nose of wood and stone? No thank you! Shall I go leaping into ladies' laps And licking fingers?-or-to change the form- Navigating with madrigals for oars, My sails full of the sighs of dowagers? No thank you! Publish verses at my own Expense? No thank you! Be the patron saint Of a small group of literary souls Who dine together every Tuesday? No I thank you! Shall I labor night and day To build a reputation on one song, And never write another? Shall I find True genius only among Geniuses, Palpitate over little paragraphs, And struggle to insinuate my name In the columns of the Mercury? No thank you! Calculate, scheme, be afraid, Love more to make a visit than a poem, Seek introductions, favors, influences?- No thank you! No, I thank you! And again I thank you!-But... To sing, to laugh, to dream To walk in my own way and be alone, Free, with a voice that means manhood-to cock my hat Where I choose-At a word, a Yes, a No, To fight-or write.To travel any road Under the sun, under the stars, nor doubt If fame or fortune lie beyond the bourne- Never to make a line I have not heard In my own heart; yet, with all modesty To say:"My soul, be satisfied with flowers, With fruit, with weeds even; but gather them In the one garden you may call your own." So, when I win some triumph, by some chance, Render no share to Caesar-in a word, I am too proud to be a parasite, And if my nature wants the germ that grows Towering to heaven like the mountain pine, Or like the oak, sheltering multitudes- I stand, not high it may be-but alone!
Edmond Rostand (Cyrano de Bergerac)
If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for He will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for He has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ's side, and if the wind is now in His face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke. The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into His image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect Your image in us and make us fit for glory! We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory. As we look back to our pains and suffering, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night's welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let Him bear all. He can, He does, and He will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, He comes with Himself. "Have courage, I am your salvation!" Welcome, welcome Jesus!
Samuel Rutherford
But when a thing is tangibly idiotic, you can be sure that it is very powerful, very dangerous. You see, when we call a thing stupid, we think that we undo it, that we have overcome it somehow. Of course nothing of the sort happens; we have simply made a statement that it is very important, have advertised it, and it appeals to everybody. People think, thank heaven, here is something we can understand, and they eat it. But if we say something is very intelligent, they vanish and won't touch it.
C.G. Jung (Nietzsche's Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar given in 1934-1939 C.G. Jung)
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].
Augustine of Hippo (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol 2 (De Genesi ad litteram))
Religion does not help me. The faith that others give to what is unseen, I give to what one can touch, and look at. My gods dwell in temples made with hands; and within the circle of actual experience is my creed made perfect and complete: too complete, it may be, for like many or all of those who have placed their heaven in this earth, I have found in it not merely the beauty of heaven, but the horror of hell also. When I think about religion at all, I feel as if I would like to found an order for those who cannot believe: the Confraternity of the Faithless, one might call it, where on an altar, on which no taper burned, a priest, in whose heart peace had no dwelling, might celebrate with unblessed bread and a chalice empty of wine. Every thing to be true must become a religion. And agnosticism should have its ritual no less than faith. It has sown its martyrs, it should reap its saints, and praise God daily for having hidden Himself from man. But whether it be faith or agnosticism, it must be nothing external to me. Its symbols must be of my own creating. Only that is spiritual which makes its own form. If I may not find its secret within myself, I shall never find it: if I have not got it already, it will never come to me.
Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
I call on your pride. Remember what you've done, what you dream of doing, and rise up. Great Heavens, consider yourself with more respect!
Gustave Flaubert
God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him. The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us. Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed? Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world? Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity. When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together. There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you. Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him? Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death? True love requires sacrifice. What are you doing right now that requires faith? God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. If one person “wastes” away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?” If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate. The way we live out our days is the way we will live our lives. What will people say about your life in heaven? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
Someone A man worn down by time, a man who does not even expect death (the proofs of death are statistics and everyone runs the risk of being the first immortal), a man who has learned to express thanks for the days' modest alms: sleep, routine, the taste of water, an unsuspected etymology, a Latin or Saxon verse, the memory of a woman who left him thirty years ago now whom he can call to mind without bitterness, a man who is aware that the present is both future and oblivion, a man who has betrayed and has been betrayed, may feel suddenly, when crossing the street, a mysterious happiness not coming from the side of hope but from an ancient innocence, from his own root or from some diffuse god. He knows better than to look at it closely, for there are reasons more terrible than tigers which will prove to him that wretchedness is his duty, but he accepts humbly this felicity, this glimmer. Perhaps in death when the dust is dust, we will be forever this undecipherable root, from which will grow forever, serene or horrible, or solitary heaven or hell.
Jorge Luis Borges
When Ceusescu razed the center of Bucharest, a brave engineer saved several historic churches. He put them on rolling tracks and slid them to different parts of the city. Bunu called him "the engineer of heaven.
Ruta Sepetys (I Must Betray You)
Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art describes what he calls "Resistence," a mysterious force in the world that seems to challenge every creative act. Pressfield isn't a Christian, as far as I know, but when he talks about the way we have to fight an opposing force in order to bring something beautiful into the world, I resonate. I believe there's a Resistance, and it's made up of what Paul called the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). If you're called to speak light into the darkness, then believe this: the darkness wants to shut you up.
Andrew Peterson (Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making)
Meanwhile the wineglasses had flushed yellow and flushed crimson; had been emptied; had been filled. And thus by degrees was lit, halfway down the spine, which is the seat of the soul, not that hard little electric light which we call brilliance, as it pops in and out upon our lips, but the more profound, subtle and subterranean glow, which is the rich yellow flame of rational intercourse. No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself. We are all going to heaven and Vandyck is of the company--in other words, how good life seemed, how sweet its rewards, how trivial this grudge or that grievance, how admirable friendship and the society of one's kind, as, lighting a good cigarette, one sunk among the cushions in the window-seat.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)
There's a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly...survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth. It would be considered beautiful...
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
My gods dwell in temples made with hands; and within the circle of actual experience is my creed made perfect and complete: too complete, it may be, for like many or all of those who have placed their heaven in this earth, I have found in it not merely the beauty of heaven, but the horror of hell also. When I think about religion at all, I feel as if I would like to found an order for those who CANNOT believe: the Confraternity of the Faithless, one might call it, where on an altar, on which no taper burned, a priest, in whose heart peace had no dwelling, might celebrate with unblessed bread and a chalice empty of wine. Every thing to be true must become a religion. And agnosticism should have its ritual no less than faith. It has sown its martyrs, it should reap its saints, and praise God daily for having hidden Himself from man.
Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
is called a thurible. The rising smoke is supposed to symbolize the prayers of believers rising up to heaven. The word incense comes from a Greek word. Originally it meant sacrifice. It’s no wonder one
Jodi Picoult (Mad Honey)
Nowadays almost all man's improvements, so called, as the building of houses, and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees, simply deform the landscape, and make it more tame and cheap... and some worldly miser with a surveyor looking after his bounds, while heaven had taken place around him, and he did not see the angles going to and fro, but was looking for an old post-hole in the midst of paradise. I looked again, and saw him standing in the middle of a boggy, stygian, fen, surrounded by devils, and he had found his bounds without a doubt, three little stones, where a stake had been driven, and looking nearer, I saw that the prince of Darkness was his surveyor.
Henry David Thoreau
Breath, to a Sufi, is a bridge between himself and God; it is a rope for him, hanging down to earth, attached to the heavens. The Sufi climbs up by the help of this rope. In the Qur’anic language it is called Burak, a steed which was sent to the Prophet for his journey to the heavens. Hindus call it prana, which means life, but they picture it symbolically as a bird, which is named in Sanskrit Garuda, on which rode Narayana, the godhead. There is no mystical cult in which the breath is not given the greatest importance in spiritual progress. Once man has touched the depths of his own being by the help of the breath, then it becomes easy for him to become at one with all that exists on earth and in heaven.
Hazrat Inayat Khan (The Heart of Sufism: Essential Writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan)
You wrote to me. Do not deny it. I’ve read your words and they evoke My deep respect for your emotion, Your trusting soul… and sweet devotion. Your candour has a great appeal And stirs in me, I won’t conceal, Long dormant feelings, scarce remembered. But I’ve no wish to praise you now; Let me repay you with a vow As artless as the one you tendered; Hear my confession too, I plead, And judge me both by word and deed. 13 ’Had I in any way desired To bind with family ties my life; Or had a happy fate required That I turn father, take a wife; Had pictures of domestication For but one moment held temptation- Then, surely, none but you alone Would be the bride I’d make my own. I’ll say without wrought-up insistence That, finding my ideal in you, I would have asked you—yes, it’s true— To share my baneful, sad existence, In pledge of beauty and of good, And been as happy … as I could! 14 ’But I’m not made for exaltation: My soul’s a stranger to its call; Your virtues are a vain temptation, For I’m not worthy of them all. Believe me (conscience be your token): In wedlock we would both be broken. However much I loved you, dear, Once used to you … I’d cease, I fear; You’d start to weep, but all your crying Would fail to touch my heart at all, Your tears in fact would only gall. So judge yourself what we’d be buying, What roses Hymen means to send— Quite possibly for years on end! 15 ’In all this world what’s more perverted Than homes in which the wretched wife Bemoans her worthless mate, deserted— Alone both day and night through life; Or where the husband, knowing truly Her worth (yet cursing fate unduly) Is always angry, sullen, mute— A coldly jealous, selfish brute! Well, thus am I. And was it merely For this your ardent spirit pined When you, with so much strength of mind, Unsealed your heart to me so clearly? Can Fate indeed be so unkind? Is this the lot you’ve been assigned? 16 ’For dreams and youth there’s no returning; I cannot resurrect my soul. I love you with a tender yearning, But mine must be a brother’s role. So hear me through without vexation: Young maidens find quick consolation— From dream to dream a passage brief; Just so a sapling sheds its leaf To bud anew each vernal season. Thus heaven wills the world to turn. You’ll fall in love again; but learn … To exercise restraint and reason, For few will understand you so, And innocence can lead to woe.
Alexander Pushkin (Eugene Onegin)
For if there are (at a venture) seventy-six different times all ticking in the mind at once, how many different people are there not - Heaven help us _ all having lodgement at one time or another in the human spirit? Some say two thousand and fifty two. So that it is the most usual thing in the world for a person to call, directly they are alone...Come, come! I'm sick to death of this particular self. I want another. But it is not altogether plain sailing either...these selves of which we are built up, one on top of another, as plates are piled up on a waiter's hand, have attachments elsewhere, sympathies, little constitutions and rights of their own...so that one will only come if it is raining....another if you can promise it a glass of wine - and so on...
Virginia Woolf
Our boat travelled on, day after day, through an unknown and mysterious land. Our company were noisy, gay, quarrelsome, full of facile theories, with glib explanations of everything, persuaded that there is nothing they could not understand and no human destiny outside the purview of their system. One of us lay at death's door, fighting a grim battle with weakness and terror and the indifference of the strong, assailed day and night by the sounds of loud-voiced love-making and trivial laughter. And all around us lay a great silence, strong as death, unfathomable as the heavens. It seemed that none had leisure to hear the silence, yet it called to me so insistently that I grew deaf to the harangues of propagandists and the endless information of the well-informed.
Bertrand Russell (The Problem of China)
Well, I wouldn’t exactly call myself bald. I know my hairline is a little …” “Shut up, will you?” Aomame said, trying her best not to frown. I shouldn’t scare him too much, she thought, softening her tone somewhat. “That’s really not important.” Look, mister, I don’t care what you think, you are bald. If the census had a “bald” category, you’d be in it, no problem. If you go to heaven, you’re going to bald heaven. If you go to hell, you’re going to bald hell. Have you got that straight? Then stop looking away from the truth. Let’s go now. I’m taking you straight to bald heaven, nonstop.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (Vintage International))
Tatyana’s Letter to Onegin I’m writing you this declaration— What more can I in candour say? It may be now your inclination To scorn me and to turn away; But if my hapless situation Evokes some pity for my woe, You won’t abandon me, I know. I first tried silence and evasion; Believe me, you‘d have never learned My secret shame, had I discerned The slightest hope that on occasion— But once a week—I’d see your face, Behold you at our country place, Might hear you speak a friendly greeting, Could say a word to you; and then, Could dream both day and night again Of but one thing, till our next meeting. They say you like to be alone And find the country unappealing; We lack, I know, a worldly tone, But still, we welcome you with feeling. Why did you ever come to call? In this forgotten country dwelling I’d not have known you then at all, Nor known this bitter heartache’s swelling. Perhaps, when time had helped in quelling The girlish hopes on which I fed, I might have found (who knows?) another And been a faithful wife and mother, Contented with the life I led. Another! No! In all creation There’s no one else whom I’d adore; The heavens chose my destination And made me thine for evermore! My life till now has been a token In pledge of meeting you, my friend; And in your coming, God has spoken, You‘ll be my guardian till the end…. You filled my dreams and sweetest trances; As yet unseen, and yet so dear, You stirred me with your wondrous glances, Your voice within my soul rang clear…. And then the dream came true for me! When you came in, I seemed to waken, I turned to flame, I felt all shaken, And in my heart I cried: It’s he! And was it you I heard replying Amid the stillness of the night, Or when I helped the poor and dying, Or turned to heaven, softly crying, And said a prayer to soothe my plight? And even now, my dearest vision, Did I not see your apparition Flit softly through this lucent night? Was it not you who seemed to hover Above my bed, a gentle lover, To whisper hope and sweet delight? Are you my angel of salvation Or hell’s own demon of temptation? Be kind and send my doubts away; For this may all be mere illusion, The things a simple girl would say, While Fate intends no grand conclusion…. So be it then! Henceforth I place My faith in you and your affection; I plead with tears upon my face And beg you for your kind protection. You cannot know: I’m so alone, There’s no one here to whom I’ve spoken, My mind and will are almost broken, And I must die without a moan. I wait for you … and your decision: Revive my hopes with but a sign, Or halt this heavy dream of mine— Alas, with well-deserved derision! I close. I dare not now reread…. I shrink with shame and fear. But surely, Your honour’s all the pledge I need, And I submit to it securely.
Alexander Pushkin (Eugene Onegin)
Actually, I sometimes think there is something very Jesus-like about Charlie Brown—his heartbreaking patience, his endless suffering. You have to admit the show would have a very different ending if, after he and Linus bought the sad little Christmas tree, the other kids in the Peanuts gang came after them with a hammer and some nails. The thing that contains the burning incense in a Catholic church is called a thurible. The rising smoke is supposed to symbolize the prayers of believers rising up to heaven. The word incense comes from a Greek word. Originally it meant sacrifice. It’s no wonder one of the Magi brought it as a gift. Gold and myrrh were powerful presents, I’m sure. But the king who brought frankincense
Jodi Picoult (Mad Honey)
But I- unbeknownst to me- had been swayed by this same leaven. If only I could just be straight, and lay aside my homosexuality, God would accept me and call me His own, I used to think. This delusion was the belief that only one aspect of my life was worthy of judgment, while the rest deserved heaven. That my other voices were “not as bad.” They were just struggles that I had to work on instead of repenting. There is a possibility that this kind of self-righteous thinking is why salvation has eluded many same-sex-attracted men and women… Because God did not take hold of their gay desires and replace them with straight desires, they have no other choice but to follow where their affections may lead. The error is this: they have come to God believing that only a fraction of themselves needs saving. They have therefore neglected to acknowledge the rest of them also needs to be made right.
Jackie Hill Perry (Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was and Who God Has Always Been)
Creative writer has artistic sensibility. He observes the world like any common men. But his vision observes the world quite differently. He can perceive from life-experience what common man cannot see at all. This experience and observation get imaginative colours with the help of artistic sensibility. He creates a world of imaginative reality. His world is more beautiful and artistic than the real world. He is naturally gifted to create the work which has power to move or transport the reader. He gets his raw material from the life. He is critic of life. Criticism is a task of those who write on the creative writings. The word criticism has been derived from the Greek word Kritikos, which means ‘able to discern and judge’ and whoever does the act of judging is called Critic. Criticism is the art of judging the merits and demerits of creative composition. In the words of Thomas De Quincey criticism may be termed as the literature of knowledge and creative writing as the literature of power. Literature of power deals with life, where as literature of knowledge share information on creative composition. Alexander Pope has rightly said: “Both from Heaven derive their light These born to judge, as well as those to write.” He gives equal value to both the critic and the creative writer. To him both are gifted writers, one to write creatively and the other to judge the creativity. But Dryden does not agree with the views of Pope. To him “the corruption of a poet is the generation of a critic.” He believed that those who cannot be good creative writer they become critics and corrupt creativity of the artists. Lessing believed that, “Not every critic is born a genius, but every genius is born a critic of art. He has within himself the evidence of all rules.” He gives respectful place to critics and criticism. He is of the belief that the critics are born genius to judge the work of art. No critic can ever form accurate judgement unless he possesses the artist’s vision. Criticism and creativity are inextricably mingled with each other. Thus the artist is the critic of life and Critic, that of art. The artist must have the imagination and vision to critically imitate the life/nature; the Critic from beginning to end, relive the same experience.
Aristotle
It ain’t what he’s done to get here, son. It’s what’s inside him. Call it a curse or a devilment. Whatever it is, it lives in some people. There’s not many types like ’em in this world. But Nate’s one of ’em. He got that thing in him, son, deep inside. It’s too bad really, on account of he’s a good man, my kind of man. But a man can’t control what’s in him once it’s turned loose no more than you or I can hold on to a bag of groceries if we was to get hit by a bus.
James McBride (The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store)
Another term emerged in 1862, in the work of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. ‘Uranian’ or ‘urning’ was derived from Plato’s description of same-sex love in the Symposium as ‘ouranios’ or ‘heavenly’. (‘Ouranos’ literally means ‘the pisser’, opening up a further line of enquiry.) Whatever its celestial origins, the term did not quite catch on. Who would want to be called an ‘urning’? It sounds like some sort of gnome. An ‘urnind’ was a queer female, while ‘uranodionings’ were bisexual.
Peter Ackroyd (Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day)
Most Russian girls usually only go in for Platonic attachments with never a thought of marriage. And Platonic love is the most troublesome sort. The princess, I fancy, is one of those women who want to be amused, and two dull minutes with you will finish you for good. Your silence must rouse her curiosity, on conversation must leave her wanting more. You've got to play on her feelings all the time. She'll scorn public opinion a dozen times for your sake and call it a sacrifice, but she'll get her own back by tormenting you, and then later simply declare that she can't stand you. If you don't get the upper hand, her first kiss won't give you the right to expect a second. She'll play with you till she's tired of it, then a couple of years later she'll marry some brute out of duty to Mama and persuade herself she's unhappy, because it was not heaven's will to unite her with the only man she ever loved (you that is) on account of his private's greatcoat, though under that thick grey coat there beat an ardent, noble heart..
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
Small and hidden is the door that leads inward, and the entrance is barred by countless prejudices, mistaken assumptions, and fears. Always one wishes to hear of grand political and economic schemes, the very things that have landed every nation in a morass. Therefore it sounds grotesque when anyone speaks of hidden doors, dreams, and a world within. What has this vapid idealism got to do with gigantic economic programmes, with the so-called problems of reality? But I speak not to nations, only to the individual few, for whom it goes without saying that cultural values do not drop down like manna from heaven, but are created by the hands of individuals. If things go wrong in the world, this is because something is wrong with the individual, because something is wrong with me. Therefore, if I am sensible, I shall put myself right first. For this I need—because outside authority no longer means anything to me—a knowledge of the innermost foundations of my being, in order that I may base myself firmly on the eternal facts of the human psyche.
C.G. Jung
For what, in the name of heaven, is more to be desired than wisdom? What is more to be prized? What is better for a man, what more worthy of his nature? Those who seek after it are called philosophers; and philosophy is nothing else, if one will translate the word into our idiom, than ‘the love of wisdom.’ Wisdom … is ‘the knowledge of things human and divine and of the causes by which those things are controlled.’ And if the man lives who would belittle the study of philosophy, I quite fail to see what in the world he would see fit to praise.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Pretty soft!' he cried. 'To have to come and live in New York! To have to leave my little cottage and take a stuffy, smelly, over-heated hole of an apartment in this Heaven-forsaken, festering Gehenna. To have to mix night after night with a mob who think that life is a sort of St Vitus's dance, and imagine that they're having a good time because they're making enough noise for six and drinking too much for ten. I loathe New York, Bertie. I wouldn't come near the place if I hadn't got to see editors occasionally. There's a blight on it. It's got moral delirium tremens. It's the limit. The very thought of staying more than a day in it makes me sick. And you call this thing pretty soft for me!' I felt rather like Lot's friends must have done when they dropped in for a quiet chat and their genial host began to criticise the Cities of the Plain. I had no idea old Rocky could be so eloquent. 'It would kill me to have to live in New York,' he went on. 'To have to share the air with six million people! TO have to wear stiff collars and decent clothes all the time! To - ' He started. 'Good Lord! I suppose I should have to dress for dinner in the evenings. What a ghastly notion!' I was shocked, absolutely shocked. 'My dear chap!' I said, reproachfully. 'Do you dress for dinner every night, Bertie?' 'Jeeves,' I said coldly. 'How many suits of evening clothes have we?' 'We have three suits full of evening dress, sir; two dinner jackets- ' 'Three.' 'For practical purposes, two only, sir. If you remember, we cannot wear the third. We have also seven white waistcoats.' 'And shirts?' 'Four dozen, sir.' 'And white ties?' 'The first two shallow shelves in the chest of drawers are completely filled with our white ties, sir.' I turned to Rocky. 'You see?' The chappie writhed like an electric fan. 'I won't do it! I can't do it! I'll be hanged if I'll do it! How on earth can I dress up like that? Do you realise that most days I don't get out of my pyjamas till five in the afternoon and then I just put on an old sweater?' I saw Jeeves wince, poor chap. This sort of revelation shocked his finest feelings.
P.G. Wodehouse
My desire for knowledge is intermittent, but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before,—a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy. It is the lighting up of the mist by the sun. Man cannot know in any higher sense than this, any more than he can look serenely and with impunity in the face of the sun: “You will not perceive that, as perceiving a particular thing,” say the Chaldean Oracles.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Most people-all, in fact, who regard the whole heaven as finite-say it lies at the centre. But the Italian philosophers known as Pythagoreans take the contrary view. At the centre, they say, is fire, and the earth is one of the stars, creating night and day by its circular motion about the centre. They further construct another earth in opposition to ours to which they give the name counterearth. In all this they are not seeking for theories and causes to account for observed facts, but rather forcing their observations and trying to accommodate them to certain theories and opinions of their own. But there are many others who would agree that it is wrong to give the earth the central position, looking for confirmation rather to theory than to the facts of observation. Their view is that the most precious place befits the most precious thing: but fire, they say, is more precious than earth, and the limit than the intermediate, and the circumference and the centre are limits. Reasoning on this basis they take the view that it is not earth that lies at the centre of the sphere, but rather fire. The Pythagoreans have a further reason. They hold that the most important part of the world, which is the centre, should be most strictly guarded, and name it, or rather the fire which occupies that place, the 'Guardhouse of Zeus', as if the word 'centre' were quite unequivocal, and the centre of the mathematical figure were always the same with that of the thing or the natural centre. But it is better to conceive of the case of the whole heaven as analogous to that of animals, in which the centre of the animal and that of the body are different. For this reason they have no need to be so disturbed about the world, or to call in a guard for its centre: rather let them look for the centre in the other sense and tell us what it is like and where nature has set it. That centre will be something primary and precious; but to the mere position we should give the last place rather than the first. For the middle is what is defined, and what defines it is the limit, and that which contains or limits is more precious than that which is limited, see ing that the latter is the matter and the former the essence of the system. (2-13-1) There are similar disputes about the shape of the earth. Some think it is spherical, others that it is flat and drum-shaped. For evidence they bring the fact that, as the sun rises and sets, the part concealed by the earth shows a straight and not a curved edge, whereas if the earth were spherical the line of section would have to be circular. In this they leave out of account the great distance of the sun from the earth and the great size of the circumference, which, seen from a distance on these apparently small circles appears straight. Such an appearance ought not to make them doubt the circular shape of the earth. But they have another argument. They say that because it is at rest, the earth must necessarily have this shape. For there are many different ways in which the movement or rest of the earth has been conceived. (2-13-3)
Aristotle (On the Heavens)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they who sorrow, because they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, because they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they shall be fed. Blessed are they who have pity, because they shall be pitied. Blessed are the pure in heart, because they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, because they shall be called the sons of God. 5.10-22Blessed are they who are persecuted for their righteousness, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when they shall revile you and persecute you and speak every evil thing of you, lying, because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because your reward in heaven is great; for thus did they persecute the prophets before you.
Richmond Lattimore (The New Testament)
Now, there’s another interesting thing about the Semitic mythologies: All other mythologies that I know have as their primary divinities those representing nature—the gods of the heavens and of the Earth, and the powers of nature, which are within us as well as out there. And in those mythologies the tribal ancestor is always a secondary god. In the Semitic mythologies, this situation is reversed. The prime divinity in all the Semitic traditions is the local, ancestral divinity. As I pointed out, when you have the same divinities as everybody else, you can say, “He whom you call Zeus we call Indra.” But when your principal divinity is your local tribal divinity, you cannot say this. And so we have a pattern of exclusivism here; we have a pattern of social emphasis or social laws, and we have an antinature accent.
Joseph Campbell (Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell))
Wherefore should I sorrow for what I eat, for what I drink, or for what I may array this miserable food for worms called my earthy body? Hath not my Heavenly Father provided for me, even as for the sparrow on the housetop, and hath He not in His graciousness pointed towards His lowly servitor? The Lord stuck His finger in the net of my nerves gently--yea, verily, in desultory fashion--and brought slight disorder among the threads. And then the Lord withdrew His finger, and there were fibres and delicate root-like filaments adhering to the finger, and they were the nerve-threads of the filaments. And there was a gaping hole after the finger, which was God's finger, and a wound in my brain in the track of His finger. But when God had touched me with His finger, He let me be, and touched me no more, and let no evil befall me; but let me depart in peace, and let me depart with the gaping hole. And no evil hath befallen me from the God who is the Lord God of all Eternity.
Knut Hamsun (Hunger)
It seems that in the kingdom of Heaven, the cosmic lottery works in reverse; in the kingdom of Heaven, all of our notions of the lucky and the unlucky, the blessed and the cursed, the haves and the have-nots, are turned upside down. In the kingdom of Heaven, the last will be first and the first will be last. In India, I realised that while the poor and oppressed certainly deserve my compassion and help, they do not need my pity. Widows and orphans and lepers and untouchables enjoy special access to the Gospel that I do not have. They benefit immediately from the Good News that freedom is found not in retribution but in forgiveness, that real power belongs not to the strong but to the merciful, that joy comes not from wealth but from generosity. The rest of us have to get used to the idea that we cannot purchase love or fight for peace or find happiness in high positions. Those of us who have never suffered are at a disadvantage because Jesus invites His followers to fellowship in His suffering. In fact, the first thing Jesus did in His sermon on the mount was to mess with our assumptions about the cosmic lottery. In Luke’s account, Jesus says, "Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.” (Luke 6:20-21; 24-25) It seems that the kingdom of God is made up of the least of these. To be present among them is to encounter what the Celtic saints called “thin spaces”, places or moments in time in which the veil separating heaven and earth, the spiritual and the material, becomes almost transparent. I’d like to think that I’m a part of this kingdom, even though my stuff and my comforts sometimes thicken the veil. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – these are God things, and they are available to all, regardless of status or standing. Everything else is just extra, and extra can be a distraction. Extra lulls us into the complacency and tricks us into believing that we need more than we need. Extra makes it harder to distinguish between God things and just things.
Rachel Held Evans (Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions)
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace. The town’s poor seem to me often to live the most independent lives of any. Maybe they are simply great enough to receive without misgiving. Most think that they are above being supported by the town; but it oftener happens that they are not above supporting themselves by dishonest means, which should be more disreputable. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society. If I were confined to a corner of a garret all my days, like a spider, the world would be just as large to me while I had my thoughts about me. The philosopher said: “From an army of three divisions one can take away its general, and put it in disorder; from the man the most abject and vulgar one cannot take away his thought.” Do not seek so anxiously to be developed, to subject yourself to many influences to be played on; it is all dissipation. Humility like darkness reveals the heavenly lights. The shadows of poverty and meanness gather around us, “and lo! creation widens to our view.” We are often reminded that if there were bestowed on us the wealth of Croesus, our aims must still be the same, and our means essentially the same. Moreover, if you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences; you are compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar and the most starch. It is life near the bone where it is sweetest. You are defended from being a trifler. No man loses ever on a lower level by magnanimity on a higher. Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
To Lao-tse (LAOdsuh), the harmony that naturally existed between heaven and earth from the very beginning could be found by anyone at any time, but not by following the rules of the Confucianists. As he stated in his Tao To Ching (DAO DEH JEENG), the "Tao Virtue Book," earth was in essence a reflection of heaven, run by the same laws - not by the laws of men. These laws affected not only the spinning of distant planets, but the activities of the birds in the forest and the fish in the sea. According to Lao-tse, the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the more trouble. Whether heavy or fight, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did life become sour. To Lao-tse, the world was not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons. Its lessons needed to be learned, just as its laws needed to be followed; then all would go well. Rather than turn away from "the world of dust," Lao-tse advised others to "join the dust of the world." What he saw operating behind everything in heaven and earth he called Tao (DAO), "the Way.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
According to a legend preserved in Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, the tormented nymph Io, when released from Argus by Hermes, fled, in the form of a cow, to Egypt; and there, according to a later legend, recovering her human form, gave birth to a son identified as Serapis, and Io became known as the goddess Isis. The Umbrian master Pinturicchio (1454–1513) gives us a Renaissance version of her rescue, painted in 1493 on a wall of the so-called Borgia Chambers of the Vatican for the Borgia Pope Alexander VI (Fig. 147). Figure 147. Isis with Hermes Trismegistus and Moses (fresco, Renaissance, Vatican, 1493) Pinturicchio shows the rescued nymph, now as Isis, teaching, with Hermes Trismegistus at her right hand and Moses at her left. The statement implied there is that the two variant traditions are two ways of rendering a great, ageless tradition, both issuing from the mouth and the body of the Goddess. This is the biggest statement you can make of the Goddess, and here we have it in the Vatican—that the one teaching is shared by the Hebrew prophets and Greek sages, derived, moreover, not from Moses’s God,17 but from that goddess of whom we read in the words of her most famous initiate, Lucius Apuleius (born c. a.d. 125): I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of the powers divine, queen of all that are in hell, the principal of them that dwell in heaven, manifested alone and under one form of all the gods and goddesses. At my will the planets of the sky, the wholesome winds of the seas, and the lamentable silences of hell are disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout the world, in divers manners, in variable customs, and by many names.
Joseph Campbell (Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell))
The reader may ask me why I did not try to escape what was in store for me after Hitler had occupied Austria. Let me answer by recalling the following story. Shortly before the United States entered World War II, I received an invitation to come to the American Consulate in Vienna to pick up my immigration visa. My old parents were overjoyed because they expected that I would soon be allowed to leave Austria. I suddenly hesitated, however. The question beset me: could I really afford to leave my parents alone to face their fate, to be sent, sooner or later, to a concentration camp, or even to a so-called extermination camp? Where did my responsibility lie? Should I foster my brain child, logotherapy, by emigrating to fertile soil where I could write my books? Or should I concentrate on my duties as a real child, the child of my parents who had to do whatever he could to protect them? I pondered the problem this way and that but could not arrive at a solution; this was the type of dilemma that made one wish for “a hint from Heaven,” as the phrase goes. It was then that I noticed a piece of marble lying on a table at home. When I asked my father about it, he explained that he had found it on the site where the National Socialists had burned down the largest Viennese synagogue. He had taken the piece home because it was a part of the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. One gilded Hebrew letter was engraved on the piece; my father explained that this letter stood for one of the Commandments. Eagerly I asked, “Which one is it?” He answered, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land.” At that moment I decided to stay with my father and my mother upon the land, and to let the American visa lapse.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion. Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment. The nation itself, with all its so-called internal improvements, which, by the way are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim, as the million households in the land; and the only cure for it, as for them, is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose. It lives too fast. Men think that it is essential that the Nation have commerce, and export ice, and talk through a telegraph, and ride thirty miles an hour, without a doubt, whether they do or not; but whether we should live like baboons or like men, is a little uncertain. If we do not get out sleepers, and forge rails, and devote days and nights to the work, but go to tinkering upon our lives to improve them, who will build railroads? And if railroads are not built, how shall we get to heaven in season? But if we stay at home and mind our business, who will want railroads? We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us. Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man, an Irishman, or a Yankee man.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Isn't that a beautiful tale, grandfather," said Heidi, as the latter continued to sit without speaking, for she had expected him to express pleasure and astonishment. "You are right, Heidi; it is a beautiful tale," he replied, but he looked so grave as he said it that Heidi grew silent herself and sat looking quietly at her pictures. Presently she pushed her book gently in front of him and said, "See how happy he is there," and she pointed with her finger to the figure of the returned prodigal, who was standing by his father clad in fresh raiment as one of his own sons again. A few hours later, as Heidi lay fast asleep in her bed, the grandfather went up the ladder and put his lamp down near her bed so that the light fell on the sleeping child. Her hands were still folded as if she had fallen asleep saying her prayers, an expression of peace and trust lay on the little face, and something in it seemed to appeal to the grandfather, for he stood a long time gazing down at her without speaking. At last he too folded his hands, and with bowed head said in a low voice, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee and am not worthy to be called thy son." And two large tears rolled down the old man's cheeks. Early the next morning he stood in front of his hut and gazed quietly around him. The fresh bright morning sun lay on mountain and valley. The sound of a few early bells rang up from the valley, and the birds were singing their morning song in the fir trees. He stepped back into the hut and called up, "Come along, Heidi! the sun is up! Put on your best frock, for we are going to church together!" Heidi was not long getting ready; it was such an unusual summons from her grandfather that she must make haste. She put on her smart Frankfurt dress and soon went down, but when she saw her grandfather she stood still, gazing at him in astonishment. "Why, grandfather!" she exclaimed, "I never saw you look like that before! and the coat with the silver buttons! Oh, you do look nice in your Sunday coat!" The old man smiled and replied, "And you too; now come along!" He took Heidi's hand in his and together they walked down the mountain side. The bells were ringing in every direction now, sounding louder and fuller as they neared the valley, and Heidi listened to them with delight. "Hark at them, grandfather! it's like a great festival!" The congregation had already assembled and the singing had begun when Heidi and her grandfather entered the church at Dorfli and sat down at the back. But before the hymn was over every one was nudging his neighbor and whispering, "Do you see? Alm-Uncle is in church!" Soon everybody in the church knew of Alm-Uncle's presence, and the women kept on turning round to look and quite lost their place in the singing. But everybody became more attentive when the sermon began, for the preacher spoke with such warmth and thankfulness that those present felt the effect of his words, as if some great joy had come to them all.
Johanna Spyri (Heidi)
Poor old Jean Valjean, of course, loved Cosette only as a father; but, as we noted earlier, into this fatherly love his lonely single status in life had introduced every other kind of love; he loved Cosette as his daughter, and he loved her as his mother, and he loved her as his sister; and, as he had never had either a lover or a wife, as nature is a creditor that does not accept nonpayment, that particular feeling, too, the most indestructible of all, had thrown itself in with the rest, vague, ignorant, heavenly, angelic, divine; less a feeling than an instinct, less an instinct than an attraction, imperceptible and invisible but real; and love, truly called, lay in his enormous tenderness for Cosette the way a vein of gold lies in the mountain, dark and virginal. We should bear in mind that state of the heart that we have already mentioned. Marriage between them was out of the question, even that of souls; and yet it is certain that their destinies had joined together as one. Except for Cosette, that is, except for a child, Jean Valjean had never, in all his long life, known anything about love. Serial passions and love affairs had not laid those successive shades of green over him, fresh green on top of dark green, that you notice on foliage that has come through winter and on men that have passed their fifties. In short, and we have insisted on this more than once, this whole inner fusion, this whole set, the result of which was lofty virtue, had wound up making Jean Valjean a father for Cosette. A strange father, forged out of the grandfather, son, brother, and husband that were all in Jean Valjean; a father in whom there was even a mother; a father who loved Cosette and worshipped her, and for whom that child was light, was home, was his homeland, was paradise.
Victor Hugo
Do you wish me to recall Vimes, sir?” “Good heavens, no. Vimes in Uberwald will be more amusing than an amorous armadillo in a bowling alley. And who else could I send? Only Vimes could go to Uberwald.” “But surely this is an emergency, sir?” “Hmm?” “What else are we to call it, sir, when a young man of such promise throws away his career for the pursuit of a girl?” The Patrician stroked his beard and smiled at something. There was a line across the map: the progress of the semaphore towers. It was mathematically straight, a statement of intellect in the crowding darkness of miles and miles of bloody Uberwald. “Possibly . . . a bonus,” he said. “Uberwald has much to teach us. Fetch me the papers on the werewolf
Terry Pratchett (The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24))
For Calvin, then, a God-sized vision constitutes far more than having a “big” vision of God’s capacity to display great power in the world. Rather, it calls us to completely reorient our frame of reference through which we look at the world. Someone who lives with a God-sized vision affirms that gaining knowledge of God precedes gaining knowledge of man. To acquire this knowledge of God, we turn to Scripture. There we see Christ, and in reflecting on Christ, we gain more knowledge of God the Father. As Martin Luther observes, Christ is a mirror of our heavenly Father’s loving heart. Yet this Father will also judge according to his own standards of righteousness, not ours. This God holds the nations in his hands. He alone empowers our ministry. We must not depend on methods, cultural exegesis, strategies, and techniques (helpful though some of them can be) as our end-all approach to doing ministry. We desperately need to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day lives. A God-sized vision helps us to understand that the Lord really does love us and care for us. He provides for us. The doctrine of God’s providence gives us both courage and comfort. Trusting that God as our loving heavenly Father wants our good, we can even dare to pray the Lord’s Prayer with sincerity, including the phrase “Thy will be done.
Collin Hansen (A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir)
here is the normal sequencing of the dualistic mind: it compares, it competes, it conflicts, it conspires, it condemns, it cancels out any contrary evidence, and it then crucifies with impunity. You can call it the seven Cs of delusion and the source of most violence, which is invariably sacralized as good and necessary to “make the world safe for democracy” or to “save souls for heaven.
Richard Rohr (Falling Upward, Revised and Updated: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life)
They claim that they perceive a mode of being superior to your existence on this earth. The mystics of spirit call it ‘another dimension, ’ which consists of denying dimensions. The mystics of muscle call it ‘the future,’ which consists of denying the present. To exist is to possess identity. What identity are they able to give to their superior realm? They keep telling you what it is not, but never tell you what it is. All their identifications consist of negating: God is that which no human mind can know, they say—and proceed to demand that you consider it knowledge—God is non-man, heaven is non-earth, soul is non-body, virtue is non-profit. A is non-A, perception is non-sensory, knowledge is non-reason. Their definitions are not acts of defining, but of wiping out. “It is only the metaphysics of a leech that would cling to the idea of a universe where a zero is a standard of identification. A leech would want to seek escape from the necessity to name its own nature—escape from the necessity to know that the substance on which it builds its private universe is blood. “What is the nature of that superior world to which they sacrifice the world that exists? The mystics of spirit curse matter, the mystics of muscle curse profit. The first wish men to profit by renouncing the earth, the second wish men to inherit the earth by renouncing all profit. Their non-material, non-profit worlds are realms where rivers run with milk and coffee, where wine spurts from rocks at their command, where pastry drops on them from clouds at the price of opening their mouth. On this material, profit-chasing earth, an enormous investment of virtue—of intelligence, integrity, energy, skill—is required to construct a railroad to carry them the distance of one mile; in their non-material, non-profit world, they travel from planet to planet at the cost of a wish. If an honest person asks them: ‘How?’—they answer with righteous scorn that a ‘how’ is the concept of vulgar realists; the concept of superior spirits is ‘Somehow.’ On this earth restricted by matter and profit, rewards are achieved by thought; in a world set free of such restrictions, rewards are achieved by wishing.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven. Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.
A.W. Tozer (The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy)
I read somewhere about a family who had only one son. They were very poor. This son was extremely precious to them, and the only thing that mattered to his family was that he bring them some financial support and prestige. Then he was thrown from a horse and crippled. It seemed like the end of their lives. Two weeks after that, the army came into the village and took away all the healthy, strong men to fight in the war, and this young man was allowed to stay behind and take care of his family. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good, but we really just don’t know. When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test for each of us is to stay on that brink not concretize. The spiritual journey is not about Heaven and finally getting to a place that’s really swell. In fact, that way of looking at things is what keeps us miserable Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called Samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly. The very First Noble Truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last—that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security. From this point of view, the only time we ever know what’s really going on is when the rug’s been pulled out and we can’t find anywhere to land. We use these situations either to wake ourselves up or to put ourselves to sleep. Right now, the very instant of our groundlessness is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness.
Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)
Life has always been commonplace to common- place people; it has been sublime only when men have lived sublimely. Every great cause that ever challenged the support of men demands our service today. The only Holy Land is the ground under our feet; the one Golden Age is the better time we may help bring in; the Kingdom of Heaven is here when we live it from within. To recognize this moment as the supreme opportunity, to reverence the little task at hand as the highest call, is the one way to make of the vocation a path to the achievement, in ever growing measure, of culture, service, sanity and wisdom.
Edward Howard Griggs (Self-Culture Through the Vocation)
Two rows of straight Jacobean chairs stood facing each other. On one side were the men; on the other the women. When the house was full, with all the guests, servants, and visiting servants, there was a goodly company. The service always ended with the same hymn, called the Benediction hymn, sung kneeling: Father give us now Thy Blessing, Take us now beneath Thy Care; May we all enjoy Thy presence. And Thy tender mercies share. Guard us through this night from danger, Keep us in Thy heavenly love; Through our life do Thou be near us, Then receive us all above.
John Julius Norwich (An English Christmas)
Well, Jane Eyre, and are you a good child?” Impossible to reply to this in the affirmative: my little world held a contrary opinion: I was silent. Mrs. Reed answered for me by an expressive shake of the head, adding soon, “Perhaps the less said on that subject the better, Mr. Brocklehurst.” “Sorry indeed to hear it! she and I must have some talk;” and bending from the perpendicular, he installed his person in the arm-chair opposite Mrs. Reed’s. “Come here,” he said. I stepped across the rug; he placed me square and straight before him. What a face he had, now that it was almost on a level with mine! what a great nose! and what a mouth! and what large prominent teeth! “No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?” “They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer. “And what is hell? Can you tell me that?” “A pit full of fire.” “And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?” “No, sir.” “What must you do to avoid it?” I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: “I must keep in good health, and not die.” “How can you keep in good health? Children younger than you die daily. I buried a little child of five years old only a day or two since,—a good little child, whose soul is now in heaven. It is to be feared the same could not be said of you were you to be called hence.” Not being in a condition to remove his doubt, I only cast my eyes down on the two large feet planted on the rug, and sighed, wishing myself far enough away. “I hope that sigh is from the heart, and that you repent of ever having been the occasion of discomfort to your excellent benefactress.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre: The Original 1847 Unabridged and Complete Edition (Charlotte Brontë Classics))
The body and mind grow accustomed to conditions, even terrible ones.
Mitch Albom (The First Phone Call from Heaven)
The pain you go through in life doesn't really touch you...not the real you...you are so much lighter than you think.
Mitch Albom (The First Phone Call from Heaven)
What the Lord gives you, you do not squander.
Mitch Albom (The First Phone Call from Heaven)
Faith it is said, is better than belief, because belief is when someone else does the thinking.
Mitch Albom (The First Phone Call from Heaven)
Small towns begin with a sign. The words are as simple as the title to a story. Once you cross, you are inside that story, and all that you do will be part of its tale.
Mitch Albom (The First Phone Call from Heaven)
Desire sets our compass, real life steers our course.
Mitch Albom (The First Phone Call from Heaven)
I wander through the feria and greet my colleagues who are wandering as dreamily as I am. Dreamily× dreamily = a prison in literary heaven. Wandering. Wandering. The honor of poets: the chant we hear as a pallid judgment. I see young faces looking at the books on display and feeling for coins in the depths of pockets as dark as hope. 7 × 1 = 8, I say to myself as I glance out of the corner of my eye at the young readers and a formless image is superimposed on their remote little smiling faces as slowly as an iceberg. We all pass under the balcony where the letters A and E hang and their blood gushes down on us and stains us forever. But the balcony is pallid like us, and pallor never attacks pallor. At the same time, and I say this in my defense, the balcony wanders with us too. Elsewhere this is called mafia. I see an office, I see a computer running, I see a lonely hallway. Pallor× iceberg = a lonely hallway slowly peopled by our own fear, peopled with those who wander the feria of the hallway, looking not for any book but for some certainty to shore up the void of our certainties. Thus we interpret life at moments of the deepest desperation. Herds. Hangmen. The scalpel slices the bodies. A and E × Feria del Libro = other bodies; light as air, incandescent, as if last night my publisher had fucked me up the ass. Dying can seem satisfactory as a response, Blanchot would say. 31 × 31 = 961 good reasons. Yesterday we sacrificed a young South American writer on the town altar. As his blood dripped over the bas-relief of our ambitions I thought about my books and oblivion, and that, at last, made sense. A writer, we've established, shouldn't look like a writer. He should look like a banker, a rich kid who grows up without a care in the world, a mathematics professor, a prison official. Dendriform. Thus, paradoxically, we wander. Our arborescence × the balcony's pallor = the hallway of our triumph. How can young people, readers by antonomasia, not realize that we're liars? All one has to do is look at us! Our imposture is blazoned on our faces! And yet they don't realize, and we can recite with total impunity: 8, 5, 9, 8, 4, 15, 7. And we can wander and greet each other (I, at least, greet everyone, the juries and the hangmen, the benefactors and the students), and we can praise the faggot for his unbridled heterosexuality and the impotent man for his virility and the cuckold for his spotless honor. And no one moans: there is no anguish. Only our nocturnal silence when we crawl on all fours toward the fires that someone has lit for us at a mysterious hour and with incomprehensible finality. We're guided by fate, though we've left nothing to chance. A writer must resemble a censor, our elders told us, and we've followed that marvelous thought to its penultimate consequence. A writer must resemble a newspaper columnist. A writer must resemble a dwarf and MUST survive. If we didn't have to read too, our work would be a point suspended in nothingness, a mandala pared down to a minimum of meaning, our silence, our certainty of standing with one foot dangling on the far side of death. Fantasies. Fantasies. In some lost fold of the past, we wanted to be lions and we're no more than castrated cats. Castrated cats wedded to cats with slit throats. Everything that begins as comedy ends as a cryptographic exercise.
Roberto Bolaño (The Savage Detectives)
A year ago I was myself intensely miserable, because I thought I had made a mistake in entering the ministry: its uniform duties wearied me to death. I burnt for the more active life of the world—for the more exciting toils of a literary career—for the destiny of an artist, author, orator; anything rather than that of a priest: yes, the heart of a politician, of a soldier, of a votary of glory, a lover of renown, a luster after power, beat under my curate’s surplice. I considered; my life was so wretched, it must be changed, or I must die. After a season of darkness and struggling, light broke and relief fell: my cramped existence all at once spread out to a plain without bounds—my powers heard a call from heaven to rise, gather their full strength, spread their wings, and mount beyond ken. God had an errand for me; to bear which afar, to deliver it well, skill and strength, courage and eloquence, the best qualifications of soldier, statesman, and orator, were all needed: for these all centre in the good missionary. “A
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre: The Original 1847 Unabridged and Complete Edition (Charlotte Brontë Classics))
Though demonized by his Jewish and British enemies, Hajj Amin al-Husayni in fact cooperated well enough with the mandate administration. Only gradually did he use his religious authority to achieve a position of significant political influence contrary to British interests. It was a potent mix. The key event in this transformation was the so-called ‘Western Wall riots’ in 1929. The Western Wall was the only revealed section of what remained from the massive retaining wall built by Herod. This wall allowed Herod to enlarge the platform on which the Second Temple stood before being destroyed in 70 CE. Given this association, the wall became Judaism’s most important place of pilgrimage and prayer. The wall also was part of a Muslim religious trust (waqf): Muslim attachment to the wall and to the al-Haram al-Sharif (or ‘Noble Sanctuary’, as the Temple Mount is known in Arabic) is due to their association with the story of Muhammad’s night journey to heaven. The wall is known to Muslims as al-Buraq, because Muhammad tethered his horse there, and the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque, built in the 7th century, are two of Islam’s most revered buildings.
Martin Bunton (The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction)
Isaac Newton is perhaps the greatest scientist who ever lived. In a world obsessed with witchcraft and sorcery, he dared to write down the universal laws of the heavens and apply a new mathematics he invented to study forces, called the calculus. As physicist Steven Weinberg has written, 'It is with Isaac Newton that the modern dream of a final theory really begins.' In its time, it was considered to be the theory of everything-that is, the theory that described all motion. It all began when he was twenty-three years old. Cambridge University was closed because of the black plague. One day in 1666, while walking around his country estate, he saw an apple fall. Then he asked himself a question that would alter the course of human history. If an apple falls, then does the moon also fall? Before Newton, the church taught that there were two kinds of laws. The first were the laws found on Earth, which were corrupted by the sin of mortals. The second were the pure, perfect, and harmonious laws of the heavens. The essence of Newton's idea was to propose a unified theory that encompassed the heavens and the Earth. In his notebook, he drew a fateful picture (see figure 1). If a cannonball is fired from a mountaintop, it goes a certain distance before hitting the ground. But if you fire the cannonball at increasing velocities, it travels farther and farther before coming back to Earth, until it eventually completely circles the Earth and returns to the mountaintop. He concluded that the natural law that governs apples and cannonballs, gravity, also grips the moon in its orbit around the Earth. Terrestrial and heavenly physics were the same.
Michio Kaku (The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything)
There are many who call themselves after the name of Christ, who are yet outside the Church of Christ. Theirs is in every way a woeful lot. To be so near Jesus, and yet not to be of his blessed fold,—to be within reach of his unsearchable riches, and yet to miss of them, to be so blessed by his neighborhood, and yet not to be savingly united to him,—this is indeed a desolation. Their creed is words: it is not life. They know not the redeeming grace of Jesus rightly. They understand not the mysterious dispositions of his Sacred Heart. They disesteem his hidden Sacraments. They know God only wrongly and partially. Their knowledge is neither light nor love. Every thing about Jesus, the merest accessory of his Church, the faintest vestige of his benediction, the very shadow of his likeness, is of such surpassing importance, that for the least of these things the whole world would be but a paltry price to pay. The gift of being in the true Church is the greatest of all God’s gifts which can be given out of heaven. We cannot exaggerate its value. It is the pearl beyond price. Hence also the woefulness of being out of the Church is not to be told in words. I doubt if it is even to be compassed in thought. What, then, if we had so far lost Jesus, as to be out of his Church? Unbearable thought! yet not without some sweetness, as it makes us feel more keenly how indispensable he is to us, and what a merciful good-fortune he has given us to enjoy.
Frederick William Faber (The Precious Blood)
The Pagan Characteristic. — Perhaps there is nothing more astonishing to the observer of the Greek world than to discover that the Greeks from time to time held festivals, as it were, for all their passions and evil tendencies alike, and in fact even established a kind of series of festivals, by order of the State, for their “all-too-human.” This is the pagan characteristic of their world, which Christianity has never understood and never can understand, and has always combated and despised. — They accepted this all-too-human as unavoidable, and preferred, instead of railing at it, to give it a kind of secondary right by grafting it on to the usages of society and religion. All in man that has power they called divine, and wrote it on the walls of their heaven. They do not deny this natural instinct that expresses itself in evil characteristics, but regulate and limit it to definite cults and days, so as to turn those turbulent streams into as harmless a course as possible, after devising sufficient precautionary measures. That is the root of all the moral broad-mindedness of antiquity. To the wicked, the dubious, the backward, the animal element, as to the barbaric, pre-Hellenic and Asiatic, which still lived in the depths of Greek nature, they allowed a moderate outflow, and did not strive to destroy it utterly. The whole system was under the domain of the State, which was built up not on individuals or castes, but on common human qualities. In the structure of the State the Greeks show that wonderful sense for typical facts which later on enabled them to become investigators of Nature, historians, geographers, and philosophers. It was not a limited moral law of priests or castes, which had to decide about the constitution of the State and State worship, but the most comprehensive view of the reality of all that is human. Whence do the Greeks derive this freedom, this sense of reality? Perhaps from Homer and the poets who preceded him. For just those poets whose nature is generally not the most wise or just possess, in compensation, that delight in reality and activity of every kind, and prefer not to deny even evil. It suffices for them if evil moderates itself, does not kill or inwardly poison everything — in other words, they have similar ideas to those of the founders of Greek constitutions, and were their teachers and forerunners.
Friedrich Nietzsche
he realized what Dad meant when he compared the oil-game to heaven, where many are called and few are chosen.
Upton Sinclair (Oil!)