Sunday, July 28, 2013

Meditations of a Parish Priest

Book: Meditations of a Parish Priest
Author: Roux, Joseph (Abbe)
Edition:  eReader from Google Books
Read: July 2013
413 pages
Rated: 3 out of 5

I became acquanted with Roux through a friend of mine, Kirk Whitney when we were doing a battle of quotes. He won, principally because of Roux. Over the summer I found the book where he found the quotes and read through it.

Read as a whole, the book is just so-so. But I would not recommend you read the book that way. Instead look at a page at a time. The book is in a style similar to Pascal's Pensee's, a collection of thoughts. A lot of them sound like truisms. But what is wrong with a truism? His collection allows you to think about what is true and take stock of who you are. As can be seen by my collection of his quotes, he is very quotable.

Good Quotes:
  • A monk was once asked, "How do you know the world, since you live in solitude?" "I study it in myself.  Prelude
  • Great souls are harmonious.  Chp
  • Two sorts of writers possess genius: those who think, and those who cause others to think.  Chp 1.xvi
  • Antique art clothed the human body in modesty and majesty.  Chp 1.xxxvii
  • Never did writers have less sensibility and say more about it than those of the eighteenth century.  Chp 1.xliii
  • Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know. Chp 1.lxxi
  • Words are shells. Open the shell, you will find the kernel which will delight you.   Chp 1.lxxi
  • A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool.  Chp 1.lxxiv
  • Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.  Chp 1.lxxvi
  • To interest the passions, to impassion the interests, behold! this is the aim of eloquence. Chp 2.iii
  • A single phrase well thought out is worth a whole thousand of these superfluous ideas; a single idea, well developed, is worth a whole thousand of these redundant phrases.  Chp 2.xix
  • when the age is not one of virtue or even of law, force finally wins the day against reason, and the sword cuts short speech.  Chp 2.xxi
  • Nothing stains and nothing cleanses like blood.  Chp 3.xi
  • Certain names always awaken certain prejudices.  Chp 3.xxvi
  • Interests desire order; morals give it.   Chp 3.xxvii
  • Memory is an impression which reverberates from time to time in the course of our life.  Chp 4.ii
  • In the matter of praise we consult our appetite more than our health.  Chp 4.vii
  • Let us not have our heads in our hearts, nor our hearts in our heads.  Chp 4.xix
  • No labor is hopeless.  Chp 4.xxiii
  • We are more conscious that a person is in the wrong when the wrong concerns ourselves.  Chp 4.xxv
  • how much alone is a virtuous man. Chp 4.xxvii
  • Our experience is composed rather of illusions lost than of wisdom acquired.  Chp 4.xxviii
  • Our character often makes our conscience.  Chp 4.xxxii
  • Experience teaches the good that there are wicked people, and the wicked that there are good people.  Chp 4.xxxv
  • Our judgments are inspired by our acts more than our acts by our judgment.  Chp 4.xxxvii
  • How many sacrifice honor, a necessity, to glory, a luxury.  Chp 4.xxxviii
  • Yesterday I plucked up some plants and flung them on the dung-heap. ... I found them this morning blossoming and smiling.  Chp 4.xliii
  • Success causes us to be more praised than known. Chp 4.xlvi
  • The wicked man has two ways of injuring, — by doing good, and by doing evil.   Chp 4.lxxi
  • The folly which we might have ourselves committed is the one which we are least ready to pardon in another.  Chp 4.lxxxiv
  • A whole heaven is contained in a drop of dew, a whole soul within a tear. Chp 4.lxxxvii
  • It is a very rare thing for a man of talent to succeed by his talent.  Chp 4.lxxxviii
  • There is a slowness in affairs which ripens them, and a slowness which rots them.   Chp 4.xciii
  • What is a day without sun, or a man without goodness?  Chp 4.c
  • Great joys weep, great sorrows laugh. Chp 5.iii
  • At first we hope too much, later on, not enough.  Chp 5.viii
  • He who does not appreciate does not possess. Chp
  • Pleasure once tasted satisfies less than the desire experienced for it torments.  Chp 5.xxi
  • The chief cause of our misery is less the violence of our passions than the feebleness of our virtues.  Chp 5.xxv
  • We often experience more regret over the part we have left, than pleasure over the part we have preferred.  Chp 5.xxvi
  • Long-continued happiness seems to require an excuse, and long-continued unhappiness, pardon.  Chp 5.xxxi
  • When unhappy, one doubts everything; when happy, one doubts nothing.  Chp 5.xxxiii
  • Whoever does not recognize himself in good fortune, will recognize himself just to that degree in misfortune.  Chp 5.xxxvi
  • I look at what I have not, and think myself unhappy; others look at what I have, and think me happy. Chp 5.xxxviii
  • Evil often triumphs, but never conquers.  Chp 5.xlv
  • Lofty mountains are full of springs; great hearts are full of tears.  Chp 5.lvi
  • To live, to outlive, to live again, should be the whole of man.  Chp
  • Education, properly understood, is that which teaches discernment, in order that one may love or hate that which is really loveworthy or hateful.  Chp 7.vii
  • The city does not take away, neither does the country give, solitude; solitude is within us.  Chp 8.xlviii
  • To love is to choose  Chp 9.i
  • We distrust our heart too much, and our head not enough. Chp 9.iv
  • A face which is always serene possesses a mysterious and powerful attraction: sad hearts come to it, as to the sun, to warm themselves again.  Chp 9.x
  • The egoist does not tolerate egoism.  Chp 9.xi
  • I do not always admire what I love, neither do I always love what I admire.  Chp 9.xii
  • Have friends, not for the sake of receiving, but of giving. Chp 9.xiii
  • God alone can properly bind up a bleeding heart. Chp 9.xxviii
  • One ray of sunlight contributes more to the welfare of our poor people than all the dreams of our economists.  Chp 10.iv
  • Man is naturally pious; he is virtuous only supernaturally.  Chp 10.xiv
  • In the presence of God we speak too much; we do not listen enough.  Chp 10.xx
  • Belief in one's self conquers the world; belief in God conquers heaven.  Chp 10.xxii
  • Love everybody for God, and few for thyself. Chp 10.xxxiii
  • So long as philosophy neglects to teach belief, love, prayer, it will be condemned to be only an ornamental science.  Chp 10.xxxvi
  • How many people who believe themselves to be grounded in reason, and are only grounded in routine.  Chp 10.xlvii
  • God often visits us, but most of the time we are not at home. Chp 10.lxv
  • We are full of prejudices and antipathies with regard to God. We love him little because we know him badly, and we know him badly because we love him little.  Chp 10.lxvii
  • Happy is he who possesses the gift of tears! when young, he will bear flowers; when old, fruit!  Chp 10.lxxx
  • No joy is joy without God; no pain is pain with God.  Chp xciii

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

Have you tried to weave a theory of life out of these strands?
Let me take a crack at it. You may know that French Catholicism has a strand of profundity in it not otherwise readily available, under the heading of spiritual direction (itself not very talked about): which is a practical problem: what do you tell someone whom you think needs to pray more or better? If you're a mainstream Catholic, you tell him to see a therapist. Somehow there is this French strand, which might meet the German strand represented solely and in its entirety by Karl Rahner. The meeting place, the fabric, then, is something about knowing via the senses, which takes place in the imagination when one consults one's imagery. "There is no knowledge without the phantasm", i.e., the mental image. Aristotle. The problem seems to be that the mental image underlying any act of knowledge (affirmation, judgment): of a supposed memory, of a brick I just dropped on my foot, anything: can be instantly turned into a symbol for something else, and we immediately lose track of whether we are speaking or listening. I call this self-division. Apparently the few who sincerely try Jesuit spiritual exercises have a nice term here: recollection, literally meaning one's reintegration, as opposed to being beside oneself. See Thomas Green, Opening to God.
Wittgenstein: "you cannot escape the cage of words". A better problem would be whether you can escape the echo chamber, and the answer is learning to take responsibility for everything that passes through your awareness. You know in that peril (root of "experience" in Greek) whether you said it or heard it. When you hear something wrong in it, that prods you to check your source. When you said it, you let it stand. "Don't think twice." In my rule: blurt.
Maybe the way to approach all this, speaking again of spiritual direction, is in conversation, so that the other person is allowed to remark upon when you seem to be beside yourself, and vice versa.
I'll leave it there as a crude start.