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Classic & Contemporary Excerpts from July 10, 2000

Classic and contemporary excerpts on beauty, prayer, and loving God
2000This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.
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.
Wonder, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. … [T]o the medical staff, the birth of our child is all part of the day's work; to my wife and me, it is a miracle. Wherein is the difference? Certainly not in the biology of the event. … The difference resides in the expectations that each brings to the event.
[M]ost of us seem to assume that union with God is attained by laboriously ascending a ladder of virtues, which finally fashion our holiness and make us fit for him. In truth, the reverse is far more accurate: the great saints and mystics have been those who fully accepted God's love for them. It is this which makes everything else possible. Our incredulity in the face of God's immense love, and also self-hate or an unyielding sense of guilt, can be formidable obstacles to God's love, and are often subtle and unrecognized forms of pride, in putting our "bad" above his mercy.
A spirituality without a prayer life is no spirituality at all, and it will not last beyond the first defeats. Prayer is an opening of the self so that the Word of God can break in and make us new. Prayer unmasks. Prayer converts. Prayer impels. Prayer sustains us on the way. Pray for the grace it will take to continue what you would like to quit.
God, as promised, proves to be mercy clothed in light.
Since it is God we are speaking of, you do not understand it. If you could understand it, it would not be God.
All things are perceived in the light of charity, and hence under the aspect of beauty; for beauty is simply Reality seen with the eyes ...
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