Harmful good

Maxwell Perkins, the famous book editor, once wrote: “One of my deepest convictions is that the terrible harms that are done in this world are not done by deliberately evil people, who are not numerous and are soon found out. They are done by the good—by those who are so sure that God is with them. Nothing can stop them, for they are certain that they are right.”

—quoted by Father Henry

Fehren in U.S. Catholic (May 1986)

Overcoming heart trouble

The unrest in church politics! “The heart is a stubborn and despondent thing.” Stubbornness and despondency—these can only be overcome in prayer.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer during the German church’s controversy over Hitler

It only hurts when you hit bottom

Peradventure some sinner will say, “perceive nor feel any weight in myself, do I ever so many sins.” To whom we answer that if a dog having a great stone bound about his neck is cast down from a high tower, he feels no weight of that stone as long as he is falling down, but when he is once fallen to the ground he is burst all to pieces by the reason of that weight.

—from a sermon preached by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester (ca. 1508)

The human focus

If we decided to examine the universe objectively in the sense of paying equal attention to portions of equal mass, this would result in a lifelong preoccupation with interstellar dust, relieved only at brief intervals by a survey of incandescent masses of hydrogen—not in a thousand million lifetimes would the turn come to give man even a second’s notice. It goes without saying that no one—scientists included—looks at the universe this way, whatever lip-service ...

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