What we want hasn’t changed for thousands of years because as far as we can tell the human template hasn’t changed either. We still want the purse that will always be filled with gold, and the Fountain of Youth. We want the table that will cover itself with delicious food whenever we say the word, and that will be cleaned up afterwards by invisible servants. . . . We want cute, smart children who will treat us with the respect we deserve. We want to be surrounded by music, and by ravishing scents and attractive visual objects. We don’t want to be too hot or too cold. We want to dance. We want to speak with the animals. We want to be envied. We want to be immortal. We want to be as gods.
But in addition, we want wisdom and justice. We want hope. We want to be good.
There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.
I’ve never known any human being, high or humble, who ever regretted, when nearing life’s end, having done kindly deeds. But I have known more than one millionaire who became haunted by the realization that they had led selfish lives.
Service is the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.
Give and it shall be given unto you / is still the truth about life. / But giving life is not so easy. / It doesn’t mean handing it out to some mean fool, or letting the living dead eat you up. / It means kindling the life-quality where it was not.
It’s not enough to be gentle with those who are like us if we can’t find it in ourselves to be kind with those who are less fortunate than we are. The true test of our compassion lies in our ability to have concern for those least like ourselves.
Justice demands that we seek and find the stranger, the broken, the prisoner and comfort them and offer them our help.
You know, Emily was a selfish old woman in her way. She was very generous, but she always wanted a return. She never let people forget what she had done for them.
When you attach value to giving help, you attach value to needing help. The danger of tying your self-worth to being a helper is feeling shame when you have to ask for help. Offering help is courageous and compassionate, but so is asking for help.
Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.
Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s.
The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt.
The moment you have protected an individual, you have protected society.
Our lives are touched by those who lived centuries ago, and we hope that our lives will mean something to people who won’t be alive until centuries from now. It’s a great “chain of being,” someone once told me, and I think our job is to do the best we can to hold up our small segment of the chain. That’s . . . one kind of politics — doing your utmost to keep that chain connected, unbroken.