Happy Friday! Today I thought it would be fun to go through my old commonplace books and pick a few quotes to share. (If you don’t know, a commonplace is a notebook where you can copy your favorite quotes from books, essays, and poems so that they’re all in one place.) It’s always fun to flip through and remember what I was reading, and it’s a great resource for finding the perfect quote when you’re writing an essay. Here are five quotes to inspire you–I hope you find something here to think on deeply.
The armor of falsehood is subtly wrought out of darkness, and hides a man not only from others, but from his own soul.A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster
A Room with a View is one of my favorite books, and this quote is so, so good. When we lie, we tend to think we’re only deceiving others, but falsehood affects the liar too, by obscuring our souls in a dark, murky cloud and separating us from God.
As soon as beauty is sought, not from religion and love, but for pleasure, it degrades the seeker. High beauty is no longer attainable by him in canvas or in stone, in sound, or in lyrical construction; an effeminate, prudent, sickly beauty, which is not beauty, is all that can be formed; for the hand can never execute anything higher than the character can inspire.“Art,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For Emerson, art itself was a kind of religion, but I picked this quote because it shows the power of art to either degrade or elevate us. I especially love Emerson’s assertion that art, in order to attain to “high beauty,” must draw inspiration from the truly good. You can find more of my thoughts on beauty and faith here.
In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest.The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis
You didn’t really think I’d write a post without referencing C.S. Lewis, did you? This blog is quickly becoming a Lewis fan club. I love the special emphasis he places on friendship in The Four Loves; as he points out, friendship was venerated by the Ancients, but tends to be forgotten and under-appreciated by modern society.
“Yes, we’re not angels but humans,” said Dame Clare, “and human nature is made so that it needs variety. The Church is like a wise mother and has given us this great cycle of the liturgical year with its different words and colors. You’ll see how you will learn to welcome the feast days and saints’ days as they come round, each with a different story, and, as it were, a different aspect; they grow very dear, though still exacting.”In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden
In This House of Brede is another favorite of mine, and this quote is the best summation of the liturgical year I’ve ever read. Just as there are different seasons in a year and in our lives, so there are seasons in our spiritual lives and in the liturgy of the Church that help to keep us from becoming spiritually stagnant.
Even more profound, if we reflect on our own reflection, we receive a more beautiful proof, a demonstration that we have, in our reason, a power to grasp immaterial truths—a power that somehow exceeds the particular, physically defined powers of our senses and imagination and is capable of grasping universal truth. Could this be a proof of the immateriality of the soul?A Meaningful World, by Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt
I’m currently reading this book for school, and quite enjoying it. This quote followed a passage discussing the elegant beauty of Euclidian proofs and the human ability to think in the abstract, which implies that there is something more than survival instinct driving our discoveries in science and mathematics.