When I first got interested in theology many years ago, it was the concepts and ideas that meant the most to me. Nowadays it’s these voices from the past that have come to mean the most to me.

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When the dim light, at Lauds, comes strike her window, Bellsong falls out of Heaven with a sound of glass.

Prayers fly in the mind like larks, Thoughts hide in the height like hawks:  And while the country churches tell their blessings to the distance,  Her slow words move (Like summer winds the wheat) her innocent love: Desires glitter in her mind  Like morning stars:

Until her name is suddenly spoken  Like a meteor falling.

She can no longer hear shrill day Sing in the east, Nor see the lovely woods begin to toss their manes. The rivers have begun to sing. The little clouds shine in the sky like girls: She has no eyes to see their faces.

Speech of an angel shines in the waters of her thought like diamonds,  Rides like a sunburst on the hillsides of her heart.

And is brought home like harvests, Hid in her house, and stored Like the sweet summer’s riches in our peaceful barns.

But in the world of March outside her dwelling, The farmers and the planters Fear to begin their sowing, and its lengthy labor, Where, on the brown, bare furrows, The winter wind still croons as dumb as pain.

[Lyrics by 20th century poet, Trappist monk, and social activist Thomas Merton. Music by French Style Furs.]

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The psychology of crisis and change: The fear of change is the fear of disruption, disintegration of one’s own inner unity and the unity of one’s accustomed world. (These two are inseparable.)

A personal crisis is creative and salutary if one can accept the conflict and restore unity on a higher level, incorporating the opposed elements in a higher unity. One thus becomes a more complete, a more developed person, capable of wider understanding, empathy, and love for others, etc. This is familiar…

What is less familiar is the fact that crisis becomes constant and permanent when a man allows himself to be preoccupied, before all else, with “holding himself together”—with his own inner unity. This is one of the great dangers of the enclosed contemplative life for weak and introspective minds—precisely the ones who seem most drawn to it.

Thomas Merton, from ’Conjecture of a Guilty Bystander’

[song: ‘Solitary Life’. music by French Style Furs from album Is Exotic Bait. Lyrics by Thomas Merton.]

"[Authentic Pluralism] fosters a culture that honors rather than isolates and disparages religious difference. It affirms the right of others to believe and practice their faith, not only in their private lives but also in the public square — while expecting them to allow still others to do the same. Authentic pluralism does not minimize religious differences by saying that “all religions are ultimately the same.” That is false and insipid. Pluralism encourages good conversations and arguments across differences, taking them seriously precisely because they are understood to be about important truths, not merely private “opinions.”

Quote Series #63: Kill Your Self

thoughts-of-all-trades:

Rene Descartes
"I think therefore I am."

Jean Paul Sartre
“The consciousness that says ‘I am’ is not the consciousness that thinks.”

Rumi
“Be like melting snow — wash yourself of yourself.”

Exodus 3:14
"I am that I am."

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Saints are impractical. Artists and philosophers are impractical. The world has only room for the practical.
Vr. Fulton Sheen

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