Mother Teresa had just delivered a speech against abortion, and she wanted to talk to me. Mother Teresa was unerringly direct. She disagreed with my views on a woman's right to choose and told me so. Over the years, she sent me dozens of notes and messages with the same gentle entreaty. Mother Teresa never lectured or scolded me; her admonitions were always loving and heartfelt. I had the greatest respect for her opposition to abortion, but I believe that it is dangerous to give any state the power to enforce criminal penalties against women and doctors. I consider that a slippery slope to state control in China and Communist Romania. I also disagreed with her opposition--and that of the Catholic Church--to birth control. However, I support the right of people of faith to speak out against abortion and try to dissuade women, without coercion or criminalization, from choosing abortion instead of adoption. Mother Teresa and I found much common ground in many other areas including the importance of adoption.

All great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.

Being humble does not mean you must put yourself in a state of constricted consciousness. Constantly ask God to bring you to true humility and to have faith in yourself. Some Tzaddikim suffer opposition only because they do not have faith in themselves!

Over the centuries, we've moved on from Scripture to accumulate precepts of ethical, legal and moral philosophy. We've evolved a liberal consensus of what we regard as underpinnings of decent society, such as the idea that we don't approve of slavery or discrimination on the grounds of race or sex, that we respect free speech and the rights of the individual. All of these things that have become second nature to our morals today owe very little to religion, and mostly have been won in opposition to the teeth of religion.

That is spiritual knowledge which alters the relish of the soul; for we must know there is a bitter opposition in our nature against all saving truths; especially, there is a contrariety between our nature and that doctrine which teaches us we must deny ourselves and be saved by another. The soul must relish before it can digest.

The opposition reflected the polarization that existed in this country.

The struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.

My readers at that time were still men of letters; but there had to be other people waiting to read my poems.

Many who are very just in their dealings between man and man will yet be very fraudulent or rapacious with regard to the public.

To-day we are living in an age of combinations and trusts, and the individual workman is as weak against the combination of wealth as would be a straw in a cyclone. It is essential that the United States Government, where it can exercise, should exercise its power to protect the weak against the rapacity of the strong.

I was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature.

Humor is a means of obtaining pleasure in spite of the distressing effects that interface with it.

During the last quarter of a century all the authority associated with the function of spiritual guidance ... has seeped down into the lowest publications. ... Between a poem by Valéry and an advertisement for a beauty cream promising a rich marriage to anyone who used it there was at no point a breach of continuity. So as a result of literature’s spiritual usurpation a beauty cream advertisement possessed, in the eyes of little village girls, the authority that was formerly attached to the words of priests.

Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being.

It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills.

The sin of smiling whilst Louise was weeping, the sin of shedding my own tears and not hers. The sin of being another being.

Down comes rain drop, bubble follows; On the house-top one by one Flock the synagogue of swallows, Met to vote that autumn's gone.

There is a set of people whom I cannot bear—the pinks of fashionable propriety,—whose every word is precise, and whose every movement is unexceptionable, but who, though versed in all the categories of polite behaviour, have not a particle of soul or cordiality about them. We allow that their manners may be abundantly correct. There may be eloquence in every gesture, and gracefulness in every position; not a smile out of place, and not a step that would not bear the measurement of the severest scrutiny. This is all very fine: but what I want is the heart and gaiety of social intercourse; the frankness that spreads ease and animation around it; the eye that speaks affability to all, that chases timidity from every bosom, and tells every man in the company to be confident and happy. This is what I conceive to be the virtue of the text, and not the sickening formality of those who walk by rule, and would reduce the whole of human life to a wire-bound system of misery and constraint.

I am convinced that, on the good sense of the people, we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.