Abstract

It is when we pray truly that we really are. Our being is brought to a high perfection by this. There must be a time when the man of prayer goes to pray as if it were the first time in his life he had ever prayed. This new language of prayer has to come out of something that transcends all our traditions, and comes out of the immediacy of love. Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart has turned to stone.

Prayer is the movement of trust, of gratitude, of adoration, or of sorrow, that places us before God, seeing both Him and ourselves in the light of His infinite truth, and moves us to ask Him for the mercy, the spiritual strength, the material help, that we all need. The man whose prayer is so pure that he never asks God for anything does not know who God is, and does not know who he is himself: for he does not know his own need of God. All true prayer somehow confesses our absolute dependence on the Lord of life and death. It is, therefore, a deep and vital contact with Him whom we know not only as Lord but as Father. It is when we pray truly that we really are. Our being is brought to a high perfection by this.

The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one another’s imagined greatness.

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist... most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by the multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence... It destroys the fruitfulness of one's own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

It was hard for an American to understand the contented acceptance by English men and women of permanent places in the lowest social rank.

1) We talk about you. 2)We talk to you. 3)We talk with one another. And 4) We talk with one another about ourselves. When we are talking about one another, and when we are talking to (or at) one another there is no dialogue. The dialogue starts when we are at the place of talking with one another. Sometimes in the process of dialogue, we discover we have moved to the deeper, fourth stage. We are talking with one another about ourselves.

O God, forgive our wanton waste of the wealth of the soil and sea and air; our desecration of natural beauty; our heedlessness of those who shall come after us, if only we be served; our undue love of money; our contempt for small things and our worship of what is big; our neglect of struggling peoples, For such wrongs to our natural and human heritage, and for many things left undone, forgive us, O God.

I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing:
‘Mercy, Pity, Peace
Is the world’s release.’

Thus he sang all day
Over the new-mown hay,
Till the sun went down,
And haycocks lookèd brown.

I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath and the furze:
‘Mercy could be no more
If there was nobody poor,

‘And Pity no more could be,
If all were as happy as we.’
At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.

[Down pour’d the heavy rain
Over the new reap’d grain;
And Misery’s increase
Is Mercy, Pity, Peace.]

Certain artists and critics attacked me for painting the ‘Woman’, but I felt that this was their problem, not mine. I don’t really feel like a non-objective painter at all… …It’s really absurd to make an image, like a human image. With paint, today, when you think about it, since we have this problem of doing it or not doing it. But then all of a sudden it was even more absurd not to do it. So I fear I have to follow my desires.

Every so often, a painter has to destroy painting. Cezanne did it, Picasso did it with Cubism. Then Pollock did it. He busted our idea of a picture all to hell. Then there could be new paintings again.

The pictures (I have) done since the 'Women', they’re emotions, most of them. Most of them are landscapes and highways and sensations of that, outside the city – with the feeling of going to the city or coming from it. I am not a pastoral character. I’m not a – how do you say that? – ‘country dumpling’. I am here and I like New York City. But I love to go out in a car.. ..I’m just crazy about going over the roads and highways.

The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from hell. For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite, and holy whereas it now appears finite and corrupt.

After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.

The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.

A peasant who is unburdened by debt and has an adequate holding is the freest and most independent man among us; neither food problems nor the threat of unemployment need worry him and the subjection to the moods of nature which he exchanges for that of the market and the business cycle, usually ennobles a man instead of embittering him. His life, from whatever angle we view it, is the most satisfying, the richest and the most complete in terms of human needs.

Let that which stood in front go behind, let that which was behind advance to the front, let bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions, let the old propositions be postponed.

Certainly he is not of the generation that regards honesty as the best policy. However, he does regard it as a policy.

Nobody has worked harder at inactivity with such a force of character, with such unremitting attention to detail, with such conscientious devotion to the task.

Alphabet letterpress printing, in which each letter was cast on a separate piece of metal, or type, marked a psychological breakthrough of the first order. It embedded the word itself deeply in the manufacturing process and made it into a kind of commodity. The first assembly lie, a technique of manufacture which in a series of set steps produces identical complex objects made up of replaceable parts, was not one which produced stoves or shoes or weaponry but one which produced the printed book. In the late 1700s, the industrial revolution applied to other manufacturing the replaceable-part techniques which printers had worked with for three hundred years. Despite the assumptions of many semiotic structuralists, it was print, not writing, that effectively reified the word, and, with it, noetic activity.

As a foundation for their own intellectual self-possession, Catholics in the United States need a MYSTIQUE of more than technology and science. They need also a Christian MYSTIQUE of such things as sports and lunch clubs . . . and indeed a MYSTIQUE of the whole social surface which is a property of life in the United States. This social surface is maintained in great part by the arts of communication in the peculiar and highly developed conditions in which these arts exist in the United States. Here what the ancient world knew as "rhetoric' or "oratory' -- the art of swaying other men, conceived as more or less the crown of all education -- long ago migrated from the faculties of languages into the university course in commerce and finance, where it is taught under labels such as "advertising,' or "copy writing,' or "merchandizing' and "marketing' and "salesmanship.' This twentieth century rhetoric, like all rhetoric, has a strong personalist torque -- it has ultimately to face the problem of dealing with the individual as an individual -- and has given rise to the American stress on personal relations and personnel problems and adjustments which has appeared as one of the great, and not entirely unsuccessful, compensatory efforts of a mechanistic civilization, grown self-conscious, to deal with its own peculiar shortcomings. American Catholics need a MYSTIQUE of this peculiar American personalism, too.