Articles tagged: books

Perhaps it is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives. In later life we admire, we are entertained, we may modify some views we already hold, but we are more likely to find in books merely a confirmation of what it is in our minds already; as in a love affair, it is our own features that we see reflected flatteringly back. But in childhood, all books are books of divination, telling us about the future, and like the fortune teller who sees a long journey in the cards or death by water they influence the future. I suppose that is why books excited us so much. What do we ever get nowadays from reading to equal the excitement and the revelation in those first fourteen years?

The Lost Childhood and Other Essays - Graham Greene

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The world sees and judges according to appearances; God sees what is in the heart. Thus, "God regards the greatness of the love that prompts a man, rather than the greatness of his achievement."

Thomas is particularly scathing with regard to those who seek to substitute knowledge or learning for true devotion: "A humble countryman who serves God is more pleasing to Him than a conceited intellectual who knows the course of the stars, but neglects his own soul." Holiness is more important than learning: "A humble knowledge of oneself is a surer road to God than a deep searching of the sciences."

... we should never deceive ourselves into believing that reading books about spirituality is an adequate substitute. As Thomas notes: "At the Day of Judgment we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done."

— Thomas à Kempis, spiritual master, in All Saints (1997) by Robert Ellsberg

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“Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity... We cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance.”

— Alfred Edward Newton, American author, publisher, and avid book collector

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