Tagged: quotes


The 3 Most Difficult Things a Human Being Can Do

Anthony de Mello, quoting Sidney Harris: The three most difficult things that a human being can do are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are first, returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; and third, admitting that you are wrong.

Beauty by John O'Donohue

Beauty and Liturgy

When was the last time you went to Mass in order to experience beauty? In his book Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, John O’Donohue explains the connection between beauty and liturgy: …whenever we awaken beauty, we are helping to make God present in the world. Consequently the rituals and liturgy of religion can be occasions where beauty truly comes alive….Thomas Aquinas and and the medieval thinkers wisely recognized that beauty was at the heart of reality; it was where truth, unity, goodness and presence came together. Without beauty they...

Painting the Bedroom

How Parents Pray

“Being a loving parent is work that guarantees the transformation of the ego for in the work of rearing children the limits of your selfishness, need and smallness are continually challenged. Somehow you find within your heart a love that is willing to stretch further and further. In this sense, the work of parenting is profoundly blessed work. Some people pray in words; in the work of raising children, parents pray every day with every fibre of their being.” John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, page 164

Beauty by John O'Donohue

Emptiness that Haunts the Heart: A Caution for the Digital Age

Is the digital age making it more difficult for us to recognize, appreciate and encounter beauty? Traditionally, journey was a rhythm of three forces: time, self and space. Now the digital virus has truncated time and space. Marooned on each instant, we have forfeited the practice of patience, the attention to emergence and delight in the Eros of discovery. The self has become anxious for what the next instant might bring. This greed for destination obliterates the journey. The digital desire for the single instant schools the mind...


Quote of the Day: The Storm Center of the Universe

“For when we talk about confirmation our conversation is really about baptism; when we are dealing with baptism we are discoursing about Christian initiation; when we are into initiation we are face to face with conversion in Jesus Christ dead and rising; and when we are into conversion in Jesus Christ dead and rising we are at the storm center of the universe.” – Aidan Kavanagh, OSB

Book and Fireplace

More Quotes on the Glories of Reading

I’m a voracious reader. You have to read to survive. People who read for pleasure are wasting their time. Reading isn’t fun; it’s indispensable. –Woody Allen What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book, with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright?…Without moving, you walk through the countries you see in your mind’s eye; and your thoughts, caught up in the story, stop at the details or rush through the plot. You pretend you’re the characters and...

Don Quixote by Dore

2 References to the Knight of the Sorrowful Face

I just started Gene Wolfe’s novel The Knight, and the first thing I encountered was this epigraph by Lord Dunsany which just happens to mention my favorite knight: The Riders Who treads those level lands of gold, The level fields of mist and air, And rolling mountains manifold And towers of twilight over there? No mortal foot upon them strays, No archer in the towers dwells, But feet too airy for our ways Go up and down their hills and dells. The people out of old romance, And...

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Top 10 Henry David Thoreau Quotes

I was looking at my commonplace book and was again struck by the eloquence of Henry David Thoreau. Here are some of my favorite Thoreau quotes, most of them from Walden: I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. …to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, which is precisely the present moment Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. In short, I am convinced, both by faith...


Possessed by Books

I’ve known some bibliomaniacs in my time, but Archdeacon Meadow has got to be one of the worst afflicted: Archdeacon Meadow accumulated so many books that he was forced to sell a considerable portion of his collection. But as their auction proceeded he experienced such passionate anguish that he left the room and returned again in disguise to begin bidding for his own books. –Otto L. Bettman, The Delights of Reading: Quotes, Notes and Anecdotes

William Faulkner

Like a Good Neighbor, A Book Is Always There

In my book ROMAN Reading: 5 Practical Skills for Transforming Your Life through Literature, I mention that reading a book is like talking with a neighbor. William Faulkner expresses this idea in the following quote: The books I read are the ones I knew and loved when I was a young man and to which I return as you do to friends: the Old Testament, Dickens, Conrad, Cervantes–Don Quixote. I read that every year, as some do the Bible….I’ve read these books so often that I don’t always...

Thornton Wilder

Is Purgatory Like a Novel?

What makes fiction so powerful and so poignant? Thornton Wilder sums it up in one of the most moving quotes I have ever read: If Queen Elizabeth or Frederick the Great or Ernest Hemingway were to read their biographies, they would exclaim, “Ah, my secret is still safe.” But if Natasha Rostov were to read War and Peace she would cry out as she covered her face with her hands: “How did he know, how did he know?” Is this what the pain of Purgatory might be like:...


Humiliation through Rereading

This quote by Joseph Epstein rings true with me: Rereading can be…a humility-inducing activity, when, on rereading, one learns that the first time around with a book, one’s politics or fantasies or personal anxieties were in fact doing most of the work. Rereading books first read when young, one is inclined to weep for the naif one not so long ago was. And while at it one discovers, if one gets to reread the same book twenty years hence, one is even one now. I can think of...

Henry Fielding

What Is Reading For?

I saw this comment on a post in someone else’s blog the other day: My theory is, at least they’re reading. Who cares what they read? Just read, damn it. If the discussion were about kids who were just learning to read, I’d be inclined to agree–there is a point in everyone’s life when the best way to improve as a reader is to read as much as you can, regardless of the content (mostly–I hate Captain Underpants!). But the blog post was about reading in general, and...

A Grief Observed

About ten days ago I wrote about a former student who had been ordained a deacon. Yesterday I saw him again, but the circumstance were far from joyful. He was the assisting deacon at a funeral mass I attended. The funeral was for my friend’s husband, who passed away at the age of 49 from cancer. He found out he had cancer about ten months ago, shortly after he found out they were expecting their third child. Their daughter was born a few weeks before he died. C.S....