Category: Inspirational Sayings

“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.”
(Aragorn, in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. Print.)

Luther, on trial for his life at the Diet of Worms, refused to recant his writings. Here is the famous conclusion of his speech, as determined by Reformation Scholar Keiko Olbermann:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.”

(Luther is often quoted as saying “Here I stand, I can do no other.” While stirring, this is felt by most Luther scholars to be spurious).

See Christianity Today article “What Luther Said“.

“Only Love can truly save the world.”
(“Wonder Woman” 2017)

“God is Love.”
(1 John 4:8, The Holy Bible)

Romans 8:18 is one of those oft quoted passages which many find to be a source of comfort in their times of trial. Saint Paul weighs present day sufferings against a future glory so vast that everything that tempts us to worry and fret simply pales into nothing:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

I recently listened to an old podcast sermon by Tim Keller, and a particular quote really grabbed my interest, and reminded me of the power of perspective. The following isn’t an exact quote, but comes close:

“If you are a Christian, if you lose something in this world it’s like someone pickpocketed 25 cents off you, when you have billions somewhere safe in a trust fund.”

(This was a tossed off remark; the full sermon discussing the part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount which is the source of the term “strait and narrow”, is available online at Gospel in Life).

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

This quote is of unknown origin. Frequently it is misattributed to St. Francis of Assissi, who nonetheless once stated something fairly similar in sentiment:

Chapter XVII of his Rule of 1221, Francis told the friars not to preach unless they had received the proper permission to do so. Then he added, “Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds.” (St Anthony Messenger)

I knew a Taoist engineering professor, who often repeated the phrase: “He who knows the priority–what comes first and what comes second–knows the Tao, or the way that he must go.”

Christianity could almost be summed thus: “He who knows the Way (Christ), knows the priority.”

“Memento mori—remember death! These are important words. If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different. If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour. Perhaps you have half a century before you die—what makes this any different from a half hour?”
(Leo Tolstoy)

“Men have forgotten God”

image

Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

(Source: “Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”, an address by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn given when he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983).

(Image credit: This is an image from the Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, and Spaarnestad Photo, accessed on Wikimedia Commons, and used in accordance with Creative Commons 3.0 license).

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”
(Yogi Berra, 1925-2015)

Here is a source of some other “Yogi-isms”:
“50 Greates Yogi Berra Quotes” at
USA Today.

When I was young, a poem that held a lot of inspiration for me was “the paradoxical commandments”. This contained a series of statements to the effect that the good you do will be destroyed, but do it anyway. For example, “What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.”

To this I would add a line: “if you aspire to holiness, you will fail, and others will call you a hypocrite. Aspire to holiness anyway.”

The full text of that poem is below. It has often been mistakenly attributed to Mother Theresa (a version was published in her book A Simple Path, where it was said to be from a sign posted on a wall).
The original collection of sayings were created by a college student named Kent M. Keith and published in 1968 in a pamphlet titled “The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council”.
(Source: The Quote Investigator.)

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.