Saturday, September 8, 2007

Readings: Needles from the Haystack

Following are some brief excerpts which, to me, resonate truth. The quotes are taken from books I read over the winter of 2006-2007, during a period when I was chiefly engaged in the reading of The Notebooks of Simone Weil, The Book of Acts, and the Epistles of St. Paul:

“My generation wanted to shed unnecessary guilt, irrational respect, emotional dependence; but the process has become altogether too much like sterilization. It may be a remedy for one problem, but it has created another. We are saved from breeding relationships we cannot feed; but we are also prevented from breeding those we need.”

--John Fowles, Daniel Martin

“One of the monsters in my father’s seventeenth-century theological bestiary was quietism; it always sounded attractive to me when he denounced it…the notion that both virtue and vice were the enemies of grace.”

--John Fowles, Daniel Martin

--Allen Ginsberg, in the poem “Kaddish”; the concept: “sanity, a trick of agreement.”

“The joys of this life are not its joys, but our fear of climbing into a higher life; the torments of this life are not its torments, but our self-torment on account of this fear.

--Franz Kafka, The Zürau Aphorisms

“The will of heaven cannot be conceived as though it were the will of earth. Heaven has very different views; what seems to us important is to it insignificant, and vice versa. What we avoid may, in its eyes, be useful, necessary; what we regard as central is to it peripheral; and what we fail altogether to discern is viewed by it, as the focal point of human life.”

--Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer