Commonplace Book

"We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it." -Mary Oliver

"However, the grace of the gospel, which is so hard for the pious to comprehend, confronts us with the truth. It says to us, you are a sinner, a great, unholy sinner. Now come, as the sinner that you are, to your God who loves you. For God wants you as you are, not desiring anything from you-a sacrifice, a good deed-but rather desiring you alone...

The mask you wear in the presence of other people won't get you anywhere in the presence of God. God wants to see you as you are, wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to go on lying to yourself and to other Christians as if you were without sin. You are allowed to be a sinner. Thank God for that; God loves the sinner but hates the sin."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

"The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation."

-Simone Weil

"The premise of God's justice is his love... everything gained and everything claimed follows upon something given, and comes after something gratuitous and unearned... in the beginning there is always a gift."

-Josef Pieper, Leisure the Basis of Culture

"What I really lack is to be clear in my mind about what I am to do, not what I am to know... The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find that idea for which I can live and die... It must be taken up into my life, and that is what I must now recognize as the most important thing."

-Søren Kierkegaard

"A real philosopher thinks with his head, and his heart, and his hands, and his feet, and the boots on his feet."

-G.K. Chesterton

"The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

-Proverbs 4:18

"Of all the disciplines theology is the fairest, the one that moves the head and heart most fully, the one that comes closest to human reality, the one that gives the clearest perspective on the truth which every disciple seeks. . . . But of all disciplines, theology is also the most difficult and the most dangerous, the one in which a man is most likely to end in despair, or — and this is almost worse — arrogance.”

-Karl Barth

I cannot think unless I have been thought,

Nor can I speak unless I have been spoken.

I cannot teach except as I am taught,

Or break the bread except as I am broken.

O Mind behind the mind through which I seek,

O Light within the light by which I see,

O Word beneath the words with which I speak,

O founding, unfound Wisdom, finding me,

O sounding Song whose depth is sounding me,

O Memory of time, reminding me,

My Ground of Being, always grounding me,

My Maker’s Bounding Line, defining me,

Come, hidden Wisdom, come with all you bring,

Come to me now, disguised as everything.

"O Sapientia," Malcolm Guite

"This was part of my education as a philosopher: not merely to seem to be in training for the highest form of life, but to be, rather than seem, the friend of God."

-Gregory of Nazianzus, "De Vita Sua"

"Reason has its own domain, and faith hers. But reason can enter the domain of faith by bringing there its need to ask questions, its desire to discover the internal order of the true, and its aspiration to wisdom—that's what happens with theology. And faith can enter the domain of reason, bringing along the help of a light and a truth which are superior, and which elevate reason in its own order—that is what happens with Christian philosophy."

-Jaques Maritain, The Peasant of Garonne

And truly, I reiterate, nothing’s small!

No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,

But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;

No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;

No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim;

And (glancing on my own thin, veinèd wrist),

In such a little tremor of the blood

The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul

Doth utter itself distinct. Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries...

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "Aurora Leigh" 86