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Quotes

Contemplation

“He who thinks he knows what it is beforehand prevents himself from find the true nature of contemplation.”—Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

“The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion.”—Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal

“Activity easily can become a form of escapism, causing us to be too outward-minded—a flight from our inner poverty and emptiness, an evasion of coming face to face with our deep selves and our need for healing.”—Frank X. Tuoti, Why Not Be a Mystic?

“Christ is in us and we in Him. Why should the activity and the presence of the Son of Man within us not be real and knowable?”—Carl Jung

“The mind is like a great tree inhabited by monkeys, swinging from branch to branch in an incessant riot of chatter and movement.”—Sri Ramakrisna

“God speaks to the heart only when the heart is recollected.”—Francis De Sales

Institutions

“The test of every religious, political, or educational system, is the man which it forms. If a system injures the intelligence it is bad. If it injures the character it is vicious. If it injures the conscience it is criminal.”—Henri Frédéric Amiel

Love

“In the evening of our life, we judged not by our works but by our love.”—John of the Cross

Perspective

“Ordinary things are more valuable than extraordinary things; nay, they are more extraordinary.”—G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

“It might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”— G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Prayer

“Pray in all simplicity. . . . The publican and the thief were reconciled by a single utterance. In your prayers there is no need for high-flown words, for it is the babblings of children that have more often won the heart of the Father of Heaven.”—John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent

“Consider prayer to be the key to the understanding of truth in Scripture.”—Isaac the Syrian, Daily Readings with St. Isaac the Syrian

“Believe me—and do not let anyone deceive you by showing you a road other than that of prayer.”—Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection

Spiritual Formation

“Our mistake is to think that following Jesus consists in loving our enemies, going the ‘second mile,’ turning the other cheek, suffering patiently and hopefully—while living the rest of our lives just as everyone around us does.”—Dallas Willard

The Margins

“I am not the only one who sees the underside and God at the same time. There are lots of us, we are at home in the biblical stories of antiheroes and people who don’t get it; beloved prostitutes and fishermen.”—Nadia Bolz-Weber