It would be interesting during this meditative period of Lent to hear what others have said about our non-material lives. You won't find most of these quotes in contemporary sermons, but these nuggets based on faith in humans warrant attention, and you might even recognize some of these people who spoke them:
Let's start as far back as the second century after the birth of Christ to hear Ignatius of Antioch exclaim with conviction before his martyrdom: "I am God's wheat, and I am being ground by the teeth of beasts so that I may appear as pure bread."
Or to St. Patrick of Ireland who in the fifth century said with equal conviction, "I was like a stone lying deep in mud, but He that is mighty lifted me up and placed me on top of the wall."
Also in the same century, commenting on the ageless controversy over vulgarity and sin, Sir Isaak Walton said, "I love only such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to look upon one another next morning."
It was the 18th century's Jean Pierre de Caussade who put his religious belief forward when he said, "All the actions, all the movements of the saints, make up the gospel of the Holy Spirit. Their holy souls are the paper, their sufferings and their actions are the ink."
A century later, the English essayist and poet Joseph Addison put his musings on our infallibility, when he wrote succinctly, "The best may err." Later, on another subject he said, "Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments, but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper light."
Jane Austen, the famed 19th century writer, made a statement that spoke of imperfections: "It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of us."
John Adams, our second president, made a thoughtful comment about members of non-Christian faith when in the nineteenth century he exclaimed: "The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations."
In that same century, the charitable preacher Henry Ward Beecher delivered several sage comments from the pulpit:
- "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation."
- "'I can forgive, but I cannot forget' is only another way of saying, 'I cannot forgive.'"
- "Every man should keep a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends."
- "Repentance may begin instantly, but reformation often requires a sphere of years."
- "We never know the love of the parent until we become parents ourselves."
- "Theology is but our ideas of truth classified and arranged."
- "Conceit is the most incurable disease that is known to the human soul."
- "The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is, that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't."
In the 19th century, it was Mother Teresa of Calcutta who believed that "It is by forgiving that one is forgiven," and "Holiness consist of doing the will of God with a smile."
And last but not least for us to live by, the 20th century preacher and activist Pauline Webb set the basis for a still ongoing controversy when she proclaimed, "Christianity brings liberation through the Gospel in faith and action; but the Christian Church has not been a sufficiently liberating institution for women, in the sense of not opening up to them the full range of possibilities."
So much coming soon, starting with today's Heritage House Nordic Film at 2 and 6 p.m. Check the Gazette's events page for daily details.
Rotten Tomatoes average: "21 Jump Street," B-