Friday, April 30, 2010

Quote #115: De Profundis by Christina Rossetti

Oh why is heaven built so far,
Oh why is earth set so remote?
I cannot reach the nearest star
That hangs afloat.

I would not care to reach the moon,
On round monotonous of change;
Yet even she repeats her tune
Beyond my range.

I never watch the scatter'd fire
Of stars or sun's far-trailing train,
But all my heart is one desire,
And all in vain:

For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
And catch at hope.

Quote #114: on excessive taxation

"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." -- Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States.

Quote #113: on the nature of education

“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities - that's training or instruction - but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed” -- St. Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England and martyr.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why do we quote?

A good question.  What is it about quotations that captivate those of us who like them?  I have books of quotations -- by the Founding Fathers, by Abraham Lincoln, by various theological authors, etc.  Why?  What is it about the words of others that is so appealing?  Partly it is authority -- the use of words by notable authors to support my own contentions.  It allows me to speak without using my own voice.  But that, I think, isn't the main reason.  The main reason is joy in the phrasing and wisdom of others.  What I like about quotations is the ability to reference a particularly well-put point or insight, and to share that literary or verbal excellence with others.  That to me is why quotations are so interesting.

As Lincoln once quipped, "For those who like that kind of thing, it's the kind of thing they like." 

Quote #112: don't act in a hurry

"Here is a very wise rule:  never act in a hurry, and always be ready to alter your preconceived ideas.  And here is another principle that goes with it; don't be too ready to accept the first story that is told you, or hand on to others the rumours you hear, and the secrets entrusted to you.  Find out some wise counsellor to advise you, a man of enlightened conscience, and be prepared to go by his better judgement, instead of trusting your own calculations.  Believe me, a holy life gives a man the wisdom that reflects God's will, and a wide range of experience.  The humbler he is, the more submissive in God's service, the more wise and calm will be his judgements on every question."  - The Imitation of Christ, Bk. 1, Ch. 4, Para. 2 (Ronald Knox translation).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Worshipping the Intellect

"There seems to be an inverse corrolary between those who worship the intellect and those who use it. [Sam] Harris, like so many atheists, is a devout worshipper of the intellect."

Mark P. Shea, Catholic blogger

St. Augustine (by Sandro Botticelli)

St. Ignatius Loyola (by Francisco Zurbaran)

Benjamin Rush (by Charles Willson Peale)

Patrick Henry at the Virginia House of Burgesses (by Henry Rothermel)

Edmund Burke (by Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Samuel Adams (by John Singleton Copley)

Alexander Hamilton (by John Trumbull)