Disappointments that aren’t a result of our own foolishness are a testing of our faith or a correction from heaven, and it is our own fault if these disappointments don’t work for our own good.
We are inclined to call things by wrong names. We call prosperity ‘happiness’, and adversity ‘misery’ eventhough adversity is the school of wisdom and often the way to eternal happiness.
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Life is greater than all art. I would go even further and declare that the man whose life comes nearest to perfection is the greatest artist. For what is art without the sure foundation and framework of a noble life?
Were it not for the presence of the unwashed and the half-educated, the formless, queer and incomplete, the unreasonable and absurd, the infinite shapes of the delightful human tadpole, the horizon would not wear so wide a grin.
We are told truly that meekness and modesty are the rich and charming garments of the soul. The less showy our outward attire is, the more distinctly and brilliantly does the beauty of these inner garments shine.
To be a Christian is to be subversive, or at least that is how he will be viewed by society. Since his loyalty is to one who is beyond history, he cannot give his ultimate allegiance to any government, business, class, or any other institution. His views cannot be expected to coincide with the majority view around him. He can be expected to be in continual conflict with the structures of society, for to be at peace with God means to be in conflict with the world.
Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.
This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century — solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others.
A human being is a part of a whole called by us the ’Universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men.
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Whoever is spared personal pain must feel himself called to help in diminishing the pain of others. We must all carry our share of the misery which lies upon the world.
Revolution is an attempt to close the gap between the ideal and the real. It is a struggle to move from the ‘is’ to the ‘ought’. It is motivated by both a revulsion at the injustice of the present and a feeling of loyalty to something higher. Thus it is an attempt to move beyond the present to a future that seems within reach.
We need to incorporate within our own lives the revolution we seek. We need not only a theory of a liberated society, but the practice of it. We need the experience of living a new reality. Instead of talking about abstract ideals, we need to live a new life. The time has come for a change and it must begin with me.
The radical will not work through the power structure in order to take it over. Neither will he wait until the establishment is ready to accept his ideas, for he may very well spend his whole life waiting as so many have done. He begins to act now on the vision. He is building a new society which will replace the old.
It is not with your own wealth that you give alms to the poor, but with a fraction of their own which you give back; for you are usurping for yourself something meant for the common good of all. The earth is for everyone, not only for the rich.
When we look at the future we have three basic choices: we can continue as we are at present, short sightedly guzzling finite resources in a crazy rush of consumerism; we can attempt to mollify some of the grosser aspects of consumerism, and try still to hang on to our present ‘living standard’; or we can change, willingly, profoundly and radically.
If the nature of work is properly appreciated and applied, it will stand in the same relation to the higher faculties as food is to the human body. It nourishes and enlivens the higher man and urges him to produce the best he is capable of. It directs his free will along the proper course and disciplines the animal in him into progressive channels. It furnishes an excellent background for man to display his scale of values and develop his personality.
I felt that if I wished to live and understand the meaning of life, I must seek it amongst….the simple, unlearned, and poor men.
An increasing number of people are growing uncomfortable with the gulf between the world’s rich and the poor. Ostentatiously splashing your money around simply draws attention to that disparity, and to your own position on the lucky higher ground. It suggests a callousness, an inhumanity, a let’s-just-rub-their-noses-in-it arrogance.
It is a grave error to accuse a man who pursues self-knowledge of ‘turning his back on society’. The opposite would be more nearly true: that a man who fails to pursue self-knowledge is and remains a danger to society, for he will tend to misunderstand everything that other people say or do, and remain blissfully unaware of the significance of many of the things he does himself.
In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
There are moments in your life when you must act even though you cannot carry your best friends with you. The still small voice within you must always be the final arbiter when there is a conflict of duty.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?