IF I PRAY with the intent to listen as well as talk, I can enter into a … stage, that of meditation and reflection. Okay, my life savings has virtually disappeared. What can I learn from this seeming catastrophe?
Philip Yancey, in Christianity Today
OUR LIVES and our worlds are finite, never fully filled, never fully empty, so we always have opportunities for gratitude for the half full or ingratitude, resentment, and bitterness at the half empty and envy of those whose glass is fuller.
Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue
THE GREAT and the humble have the same misfortunes, the same griefs, the same passions; but the one is at the top of the wheel, and the other near the center, and so less disturbed by the same revolutions.
Blaise Pascal, Pensées
AFFLICTION is both a medicine if we sin, and a preservative that we sin not.
Richard Hooker, The Works of Richard Hooker: Tractates and Sermons
IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY with your life, you can change it in two ways: either improve the conditions in which you live, or improve your inner spiritual state. The first is not always possible, but the second is.
Leo Tolstoy, Wise Thoughts for Every Day
WE MOSTLY SPEND [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do … forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in the fundamental verb, to Be.
Evelyn Underhill, The Spiritual Life
THE WELFARE of the few gained at the expense of the many cannot be ethical. … [T]he primitive vision of the Christian Church in the New Testament … is: "The gift that is given to me is given to be given." It's not given to be hoarded. It's given so that surveying the environment I'm in, I find where that gift is needed. And I give it.
Rowan Williams, "Ethics, Economics and Global Justice"
THERE IS no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
W. H. Auden, "September 1, 1939"
WHEN TIMES ARE GOOD, and jobs outnumber workers, it's easy to for-get about our interdependence. … When the system contracts, on the other hand, our utter dependence becomes immediately and painfully clear.
Zack Exley, RevolutioninJesusLand.com
EVERY CHRISTIAN community must know that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the community.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
BE STILL, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend / Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Katharina von Schlegel, "Be Still My Soul"
Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Previous Reflections columns are available on our site.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.