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John Quincy Adams by James Traub
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Cornel West
“The significance of the resurrection claim within “true” Christian descriptions of the self, world and God is that, despite how tragic and hopeless present situations and circumstances appear to be, there is a God who sits high and looks low, a God who came into this filthy, fallen world in the form of a common peasant in order to commence a new epoch, an epoch in which Easter focuses our attention on the decisive victory of Jesus Christ and hence the possibility of our victory over our creature hood, the old creation and this old world, with its history of oppression and exploitation. So to be a Christian is to have a joyful attitude toward the resurrection claim, to stake one’s life on it and to rest one’s hope upon its promise — the promise of a new heaven and a new earth.”
Cornel West

Thomas Merton
“How do you expect to arrive at the end of your journey if you take the road to another man's city?(100)”
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

“This is why most people do not stick with a contemplative discipline for very long; we have heard all sorts of talk about contemplation delivering inner peace but when we turn within to seek this peace, we meet inner chaos instead of peace. But at this point it is precisely the meeting of chaos that is salutary, not snorting lines of euphoric peace. The peace will indeed come, but it will be the fruit, not of pushing away distractions, but of meeting thoughts and feelings with stillness instead of commentary. This is the skill we must learn.

The struggle with distractions is not characterized only by afflictive thoughts. Many sincerely devout people never enter the silent land because their attention is so riveted to devotions and words. If there is not a wordy stream of talking to God and asking God for this and that, they feel they are not praying. Obviously this characterizes any relationship to a certain extent. When we are first getting to know someone, the relationship is nurtured by talking. Only with time does the relationship mature in such a way that we can be silent with someone, that silence comes to be seen to be the deeper mode of communion. And so it is with God; our words give way to silence.”
Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation

Thomas Merton
“What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as "play" is perhaps what he Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash--at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.

Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.”
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Richard Rohr
“There are two ways of being a prophet. One is to tell the enslaved that they can be free. It is the difficult path of Moses. The second is to tell those who think they are free that they are in fact enslaved. This is the even more difficult path of Jesus.”
Richard Rohr, From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality

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