The sands of time

If I cast my eyes before me, what an infinite space in which I do not exist! And if I look behind me, what a terrible procession of years in which I do not exist, and how little space I occupy in this vast abyss of time!

Bossuet, Sermon sur la mort,

quoted by Philippe Aries in

The Hour of Our Death

One foot in the air

Even in the best of health we should have death always before our eyes [so that] we will not expect to remain on this earth forever, but will have one foot in the air, so to speak.

Martin Luther, quoted

by Philippe Aries in

The Hour of Our Death

Faith plus works?

Among the remembered prayers of the very wise and holy St. Thomas More is this: “The things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us the grace to labor for.” A good example of somebody who understood this is a little girl whom Leslie Weatherhead mentioned in one of his early books. She was much troubled by the fact that her older brother trapped rabbits, and she had begged him in vain to stop. One night her mother heard her praying: “Dear God, please stop Tommy from trapping rabbits. Please don’t let them get trapped. They can’t. They won’t! Amen.” Her mother, troubled and perplexed, asked, “Darling, how can you be so sure that God won’t let the rabbits be trapped?” The blessed child calmly replied: “Because I jumped on the traps and sprung them!” Ex ore infantium. When I tell this story in sermons I see smiles. It is a charming story—but not a cute one. It is a paradigm of Christian praying.

Carroll E. Simcox in

The Christian Century

(Mar. 4, 1987)

Searching for compromise

[Worldly] compromise is so hard to find. It ...

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