We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.
The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?
When it comes down to it, even on the natural plane, it is much happier and more enlivening to love than to be loved.
The Gospel takes away our right forever, to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.
Maybe I was praying for him then, in my own way. Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow? I doubt it. I believe some people-- lots of people-- pray through the witness of their lives, through the work they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people. Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?
MEDITATION ON THE BUS. Rainy and cold. Thinking gloomily of the sins and shortcomings of others, it suddenly came to me to remember my own offenses, just as heinous as those of others. If I concern myself with my own sins and lament them, if I remember my own failures and lapses, I will not be resentful of others. This was most cheering and lifted the load of gloom from my mind. It makes one unhappy to judge people and happy to love them.
My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?' (Psalm 42:2) But the Psalmist also says, 'In death there is no one that is mindful of thee.' So it made me happy that I could be with my mother the last few weeks of her life, and for the last ten days at her bedside daily and hourly. Sometimes I thought to myself that it was like being present at a birth to sit by a dying person and see their intentness on what is happening to them. It almost seems that one is absorbed in a struggle, a fearful, grim, physical struggle, to breathe, to swallow, to live. And so, I kept thinking to myself, how necessary it is for one of their loved ones to be beside them, to pray for them, to offer up prayers for them unceasingly, as well as to do all those little offices one can. When my daughter was a little tiny girl, she said to me once, 'When I get to be a great big woman and you are a little tiny girl, I'll take care of you,' and I thought of that when I had to feed my mother by the spoonful and urge her to eat her custard. How good God was to me, to let me be there. I had prayed so constantly that I would be beside her when she died; for years I had offered up that prayer. And God granted it quite literally. I was there, holding her hand, and she just turned her head and sighed.
The world was in terrible shape, and I'm glad we stood up and said what we believed; but a lot of the time we'd say these beautiful things about justice and fairness and equality, but we weren't so nice to each other. We'd be jealous and we'd gossip, and we'd be moody and difficult and rude and inconsiderate. Why do I say 'we'? I mean I would be all that-- and if at the time I ever came near to knowing what I'd become, I'd dodge, I'd duck, I'd go on the offensive: the terrible Wall Street bankers. Lots of them were terrible-- and so were lots of us.
I was lonely, deadly lonely. And I was to find out then, as I found out so many times, over and over again, that women especially are social beings, who are not content with just husband and family, but must have a community, a group, an exchange with others. Young and old, even in the busiest years of our lives, we women especially are victims of the long loneliness.It was years before I woke up without that longing for a face pressed against my breast, an arm about my shoulder. The sense of loss was there.I never was so unhappy, never felt so great the sense of loneliness. No matter how many times I gave up mother, father, husband, brother, daughter, for His sake, I had to do it over again.Tamar is partly responsible for the title of this book in that when I was beginning it she was writing me about how alone a mother of young children always is. I had also just heard from an old woman who lived a long and full life, and she too spoke of her loneliness
I don't think God is so jealous about our worship of Him that He will want to separate those who serve His purposes, serve His goodness, because they have read a book, even one written by an atheist, and have been moved, or because they have wanted to be fair all their lives, but have never stepped in a church, from those who have heard God's words in church or read His words in the Bible and become convinced by them.
When we are asked to show our love for God, our desire for him, when he asks us as Jesus asked Peter, 'Lovest thou me?' we have to give proof of it. 'Lovest thou me more than these, more than any human companionship, more than any human love?' It is not filth and ugliness, drugs and drink and perversion he is asking us to prefer him to. He is asking us to prefer him to all beauty and loveliness. To all other love. He is giving us a chance to prove our faith, our hope, our charity. It is as hard and painful as Abraham's ordeal, when he thought he was asked to perform a human sacrifice and immolate his son.
We were just sitting there talking when Peter Maurin came in.We were just sitting there talking when lines of people began to form saying, We need bread.....If there were six small loaves and a few fishes, we had to divide them. There was always bread.We were just sitting there talking and people moved in on us. Let those who can take it, take it. Some moved out and that made room for more. And somehow the walls were expanded.We were just sitting there talking and someone said, Let's all go live on a farm.It was as casual as all that, I often think. It just came about. It just happened.
We suffer these things and they fade form memory. But daily, hourly, to give up our own possessions and especially to subordinate our own impulses and wishes to to others - these are hard, hard things; and I don't think they ever get any easier.You can strip yourself, you can be stripped, but still you will reach out like an octopus to seek your own comfort, your untroubled time, your ease, your refreshment. It may mean books or music - the gratification of the inner sense - or it may mean food and drink, coffee and cigarettes. The one kind of giving up is no easier than the other.
Love is an exchange of gifts,' Saint Ignatius had said. It was in these simple, practical, down-to-earth ways that people could show their love for each other. If the love was not there in the beginning, but only the need, such gifts made love grow.
There was no attack on religion because people were generally indifferent to religion. They were neither hot nor cold. They were the tepid, the materialistic, who hoped that by Sunday churchgoing they would be taking care of the afterlife, if there were an afterlife. Meanwhile they would get everything they could in this.
Men are beginning to realize that they are not individuals but persons in society, that man alone is weak and adrift, that he must seek strength in common action.
Our faith is stronger than death, our philosophy is firmer than flesh, and the spread of the Kingdom of God upon the earth is more sublime and more compelling.
It is easier to have faith that God will support each House of Hospitality and Farming Commune and supply our needs in the way of food and money to pay bills, than it is to keep a strong, hearty, living faith in each individual around us - to see Christ in him.
I believe that we must reach our brother, never toning down our fundamental oppositions, but meeting him when he asks to be met, with a reason for the faith that is in us, as well as with a loving sympathy for them as brothers.
We are the nation the most powerful, the most armed and we are supplying arms and money to the rest of the world where we are not ourselves fighting. We are eating while there is famine in the world.