Christmas reminds us that it is not enough to bring God into our hearts. When God comes, God never comes alone. Jesus asks us to take in his strange friends, his dispossessed and uprooted children, his unpopular causes and projects.
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car.
No matter how many Christmas presents you give your child, there’s always that terrible moment when he’s opened the very last one. That’s when he expects you to say, “Oh yes, I almost forgot,” and take him out and show him the pony.
I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms.
There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression.
I would never betray a friend to serve a cause. Never reject a friend to help an institution. Great nations may fall in ruin before I would sell a friend to save them.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.
When I speak of darkness, I am referring to a lack of knowing. It is a lack of knowing that includes everything you do not know or else that you have forgotten, whatever is altogether dark for you because you do not see it with your spiritual eye. And for this reason it is not called a cloud of the air, but rather a cloud of unknowing that is between you and your God.
He who wishes to teach us a truth should not tell it to us, but simply suggest it with a brief gesture, a gesture which starts an ideal trajectory in the air along which we glide until we find ourselves at the feet of the new truth.
Light is half a companion.
God, the sky is blue, and the air is shot with gold. A moment ago, we passed a farmyard where a girl about twelve, wearing a blue-and-white dress, stood waving, dwarfed by a lilac bush whose blossoms were already rusted. She seemed to beckon, but of course she was just waving at the world — us — passing by. She would have been alarmed if we’d stopped. But the impression remains that she was inviting us in.
A door opens to me. I go in and am faced with a hundred closed doors.
Simplicity of living means meeting life face to face. It means confronting life clearly, without unnecessary distractions, without trying to soften the awesomeness of our existence or mask the deeper magnificence of life with pretentious, distracting, and unnecessary accumulations.
I hate American simplicity. I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort. If I could pronounce the name James in any different or more elaborate way I should be in favor of doing it.
He prayed as he breathed, forming no words and making no specific requests, only holding in his heart, like broken birds in cupped hands, all those people who were in stress or grief.
The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him, “What are you going through?”
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.