John Greenleaf Whittier (on outward evidence not availing us)

They fail to read clearly the signs of the times who do not see that the hour is coming when, under the searching eye of philosophy and the terrible analysis of science, the letter and the outward evidence will not altogether avail us; when the surest dependence must be upon the Light of Christ within, disclosing the law and the prophets in our own souls, and confirming the truth of outward Scripture by inward experience; when smooth stones from the brook of present revelation shall prove mightier than the weapons of Saul; when the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, as proclaimed by George Fox and lived by John Woolman, shall be recognized as the only efficient solvent of doubts by an age of restless inquiry.

John Greenleaf Whittier: The writings, 1888-9, vol. 7, p. 313. Letter to “The Friends Review,” 1870.

Rufus Jones – What is Vital?

The time has come – it is long overdue – for a Christianity that is fresh and vital and in conformity with established truth, but, what is no less important, proves its reality by the test-tube method of corresponding results. Too long our Christianity has consisted of words – has begun and ended in words. We must have a Christianity that is self-demonstrative in results. Too long the Church has seen the world sag down to the pagan level and fight the wars which it has blessed and furnished youth to go out to fight, instead of being the organ of that divine love – that agape – which Christ lived and died to illustrate and transmit. And when these disastrous wars were over the Church has contented itself once more with pious words and talk instead of organizing a crusade of love to feed the hungry and rebuild the world on nobler lines. Every local church in Christendom ought to be a creative center of transforming life and love in its community…We should then have a Christianity of power and not one of ancient statements and present-day talk.

George Bernard Shaw – The True joy of Life

This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by
yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish
little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not
devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I
live, my privilege to do for Whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly
used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.

Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got
hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible
before handing it on to future generations.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.

When death comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

When Death Comes — Mary Oliver.

Nothing is more practical than finding God…than falling in love

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

Fr. Pedro Arrupe via Shelly F.

A Light Is Lit in Order to Give Light (Romero)

A Christian community is evangelized in order to evangelize.
A light is lit
in order to give light.
A candle is not lit to be put under a bushel, said Christ.
It is lit and put up high
in order to give light.

That is what a true community is like.

A community is a group of men and women
who have found the truth in Christ and in his gospel, and who follow the truth
and join together to follow it more strongly.

It is not just an individual conversion, but a community conversion.
It is a family that believes,
a group that accepts God.

In the group, each one finds that the brother or sister is a source of strength
and that in moments of weakness they help one another and, by loving one another and believing,
they give light and example.

The preacher no longer needs to preach,
for there are Christians who preach by their own lives. I said once and I repeat today
that if, unhappily, some day they silence our radio and don’t let us write our newspaper,
each of you who believe
must become a microphone, a radio station,
a loudspeaker,
not to talk, but to call for faith.

I am not afraid that our faith may depend
only on the archbishop’s preaching; I don’t think I’m that important.

I believe that this message,
which is only a humble echo of God’s word, enters your hearts,
not because it is mine,
but because it comes from God.

Oscar Romer – OCTOBER 29, 1978

Romero on Christmas

No one can celebrate
a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud,
those who, because they have
everything, look down on others,
those who have no need
even of God–for them there
will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone
to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
That someone is God.
Emmanuel. God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God.

-Oscar Romero