Quotes Sampler

“A shade of sorrow passed over Taliesin’s face. ‘There are those,’ he said gently, ‘who must first learn loss, despair, and grief. Of all paths to wisdom, this is the cruelest and longest. Are you one who must follow such a way? This even I cannot know. If you are, take heart nonetheless. Those who reach the end do more than gain wisdom. As rough wool becomes cloth, and crude clay a vessel, so do they change and fashion wisdom for others, and what they give back is greater than what they won.” (Lloyd Alexander, The High King)

“Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.” (Augustine in Wax, Psalms in 30 Days: A Prayer Guide through the Psalms)

“In other words, when Hebrews 5:2 says that Jesus ‘can deal gently with the ignorant and the wayward,’ the point is that Jesus deals gently and only gently with all sinners who come to him, irrespective of their particular offense and just how heinous it is. What elicits tenderness from Jesus is not the severity of the sin but whether the sinner comes to him. Whatever our offense, he deals gently with us. If we never come to him, we will experience a judgment so fierce it will be like a double-edged sword coming out of his mouth at us (Rev. 1:16; 2:12; 19:15, 21). If we do come to him, as fierce as his lion-like judgment would have been against us, so deep will be his lamb-like tenderness for us (cf. Rev. 5:5–6; Isa. 40:10–11). We will be enveloped in one or the other. To no one will Jesus be neutral.” (Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly)

“Of course, the most popular way to quell this unsettling sense of not-at-home-ness is by trying to make ourselves at home in the world, even if that looks like mostly distracting ourselves from the unsettling fact of our alienation. As Heidegger would put it—in a way he learned from Augustine—I am absorbed by ‘everydayness’; I give myself over to those ‘producers of bustling activity’ who are more than happy to take the burden of selfhood off my hands.16 We learn to forget our alienation by letting ourselves be taken over by the distractions and entertainments and chatter of the world. We trade one sort of self-alienation for another that gives the illusion of homey comfort: ‘You belong here’ is the lie told to us by everyone from Disney to Vegas. We try to cover up not knowing who we are by letting everyone else sell us an identity, or at least a distraction from needing one.” (Smith, On the Road with Saint Augustine)