An actor need not remain on the stage until the very end of the play: if he wins applause in those acts in which he appears, he will have done well enough. In life, too, a man can perform his part wisely without staying on the stage until the play is finished. However short your life may be, it will still be long enough to live honestly and decently. If, on the other hand, its duration is extended, there need be no more sorrow than a farmer feels when the pleasant springtime has passed, and summer and autumn have arrived. For spring, the season of youth, gives promise of fruit to come, but the later seasons are those that reap the harvests and gather them in. And the particular harvest of old age, I repeat, is its abundant recollection of blessings acquired in earlier years.
– Cicero, Selected Works, (p. 241)
The newness of our life therefore is this, that we walk in purity before God, eschew all corruption and uncleanness, and separate ourselves from all the defilements of the world, in order that we may offer ourselves in sacrifice to God; at the same time we must walk in integrity and uprightness with our neighbours. The performance of these two things is all that is requisite to the perfection of the Christian life.
– John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians, p. 437
His attention focussed on the higher spheres of contemplative activity, he is initiated into the hidden mysteries of God, and through his words of wisdom he lovingly ministers to those who are capable of learning about these things. In this way he does not use his talent solely for his own benefit, but also shares its benediction with his fellow-men.
– Philokalia, vol. IV, p. 149
I have done nothing but grow slowly out of some of my ignorance.
– Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies, p. 104
If you aspire to friendship with Christ, you will hate money and the gluttonous love of money; for money lures towards itself the mind of whoever loves it and diverts it from love of Jesus….
You should realize, however, that money is in fact disastrous to you, and the disaster will be all the greater because you will also lose your true wealth, God, without whom the life of salvation is impossible.
If you love money you do not love Christ….
– Nikita Stithatos, On The Inner Nature of Things, nos. 56 & 57.
Whatever be your designs and aims, let his cross continually interpose between your affections and this world….
What he [Jesus] did forego and trample on for our sake, that ought not to be the object of our affections; nor can such affections prevail in us if he dwell in our hearts by faith.”
– John Owen, On Spiritual Mindedness
Do not say in your heart, it is now impossible for me to acquire a virginal purity, for I have succumbed in so many ways to the seduction and delirium of the body. For once the soul engages fervently and strenuously in the labours of repentance and we shed tears of compunction, then the prison-house is razed to the ground, the fire of the passions is extinguished, we are spiritually reborn through the abiding presence of the Paraclete, and once again the soul becomes a palace of purity and virginity.
– Nikitas Stithatos, On The Inner Nature of Things, no. 50
[The poor] are the ones who have nothing to prove or to protect – no posing, no posturing before people or before God. When all you’ve got is all you’ve got, all that’s left is to be yourself and you can only receive. And that, in a sense, is why the poor are blessed, because they know what really matters.
– from the Introduction to Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, p. 31
I just joined as a freelancer on Elance.com and while trying it out (I haven’t had a client yet) I realised this whole setup contradicts Wendell Berry’s vision of keeping things local as much as possible. Even so, I joined because it occurred to me that not to do so was to tread the path towards obsolescence. Continue reading “Wendell Berry and Elance”
The light that enters the soul through the agency of the divine Spirit is liable to withdraw as a result of our laxity, negligence or perfunctoriness in matters of food or speech. Carelessness over what we eat and an unstable diet, as well as an uncontrolled tongue and unguarded eyes, will naturally drive the light from the soul and plunge us into darkness. And once we are filled with darkness all the beasts in the wild places of our heart and our whelp-like passion-imbued thoughts rove raucously through it, seeking to feed on our impassioned proclivities and to despoil the treasure garnered in us by the Spirit.
– Nikitas Stithatos, On the Inner Nature of Things, 47