There is in every intellect a natural exigency for a true concept of God: we are born with the thirst to know and to see Him, and therefore it cannot be otherwise.
True happiness is not found in any other reward than that of being united with God. If I seek some other reward besides God Himself, I may get my reward but I cannot be happy.
Violence is not completely fatal until it ceases to disturb us.
Coercion from outside, strong temperamental inclinations and passions within ourselves, do nothing to effect the essence of our freedom. They simply define its action by imposing certain limits on it.
A letter arrives stamped with the slogan The U. S. Army, key to peace. No army is the key to peace, neither the U. S. Army nor the Soviet Army nor any other. No great nation has the key to anything but war. Power has nothing to do with peace. The more men build up military power, the more they violate peace and destroy it.
If you found God with great ease, perhaps it's not God that you have found.
Show us your Christ, Lady, after this our exile, yes: but show Him to us also now, show Him to us here, while we are still wanderers.
I seek to speak to you, in some way, as your own self. Who can tell what this may mean? I myself do not know, but if you listen, things will be said that are perhaps not written in this book. And this will be due not to me but to the One who lives and speaks in both.
To really know our 'nothingness' we must also love it. And we cannot love it unless we see that it is good. And we cannot see that it is good unless we accept it.
AN ELDER was asked by a certain soldier if God would forgive a sinner. And he said to him: Tell me, beloved, if your cloak is torn, will you throw it away? The soldier replied and said: No. I will mend it and put it back on. The elder said to him: If you take care of your cloak, will God not be merciful to His own image?
What is the use of praying if at the very moment of prayer, we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to our prayer?
We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, nor rests in any visible end. He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.
The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.
Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.
A FAITH that merely confirms us in opinionatedness and self-complacency may well be an expression of theological doubt. True faith is never merely a source of spiritual comfort. It may indeed bring peace, but before it does so it must involve us in struggle. A faith that avoids this struggle is really a temptation against true faith.
The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows, not by clarity and substance but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis.
In perfect humility all selfishness disappears and your soul no longer lives for itself or in itself for God: and it is lost and submerged in Him and transformed into Him.
We must slow down to a human tempo and we'll begin to have time to listen.
The world as pure object is something that is not there. It is not a reality outside us for which we exist....It is a living and self-creating mystery of which I am myself a part, to which I am myself, my own unique door.
Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person of false self. I wind my experiences around myself and cover myself with glory like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself and to the world as if I were an invisible body that could only become visible when something visible covered its surface.
Many of our most cherished plans for the glory of God are only inordinate passion in disguise. And the proof of this is found in the excitement which they produce. The God of peace is never glorified by violence.
But the man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God's love precisely because of his shortcomings, can begin to be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his own illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God.
For although he is right with us and in and out of us and all through us, we have to go on journeys to find Him.
MANY poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves.
Everything that happens to the poor, the meek, the desolate, the mourners, the despised, happens to Christ.
The true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion, from indistinction, from immersion in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent.
Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.
We believe, not because we want to know, but because we want to be.
It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.
Ultimately the only way that I can be myself is to become identified with Him in Whom is hidden the reason and fulfillment of my existence.
It is as if in creating us God asked a question, and in awakening us to contemplation He answered the question, so that the contemplative is at the same time, question and answer.
If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
The whole of life is to spiritualize our activities by humility and faith, to silence our nature by charity.
I don't even need to know precisely what I am doing, except that I am acting for the love of God.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actuallly doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.
Since I know only a few Chinese characters, I obviously am not a translator. These readings are then not attempts at faithful reproduction but ventures in personal and spiritual interpretation.
What is the good of religion without personal spiritual direction?
The wisdom of the flesh is a judgement that the ordinary ends of our natural appetites are the goods to which the whole of man's life are to be ordered. Therefore it inevitably inclines the will to violate God's law.
The reality of a person is a deep and hidden thing, buried not only in the invisible recesses of man's own metaphysical secrecy but in the secrecy of God Himself.
Therefore each particular being, in its individuality, its concrete nature and entity, with all its own characteristics and its private qualities and its own inviolable identity, gives glory to God by being precisely what He wants it to be here and now, in the circumstances ordained for it by His Love and His infinite Art.
Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.
Hence monastic prayer, especially meditation and contemplative prayer, is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him whom we have found, who loves us, who is near to us, who comes to us to draw us to himself.
In our creation, God asked a question and in our truly living; God answers the question.