Self-knowledge leading to self-hatred and humility, is the condition of the love and knowledge of God. Spiritual exercises that make use of distractions have this great merit, that they increase self-knowledge. Every soul that approaches God must be aware of who and what it is. To practice a form of mental or vocal prayer that is, so to speak, above one’s moral station is to act a lie: and the consequences of such lying are wrong notions about God, idolatrous worship of private and unrealistic phantasies and (for lack of the humility of self-knowledge) spiritual pride.
The idolatrous worship of ethical values in and for themselves defeats its own object - and defeats it not only because... there is a lack of all-around development, but also and above all because even the highest forms of moral idolatry are God-eclipsing and therefore guarantee the idolater against the enlightening and liberating knowledge of Reality.
If only man could be induced to laugh more they might hate less, and find more serenity here on earth. If they cannot worship together, or accept the same laws, or tolerate the wonderful diversity of thought and behavior and physique with which they have been blessed, at least they can laugh together.
When one has this intelligent self-love is commanded to love his neighbor as himself, what else is enjoined than that he shall do all in his power to commend to him the love of God? This is the worship of God, this is true religion, this right piety, this the service due to God only.
Be more prudent for your children than perhaps you have been for yourself. When they, too, are parents they will imitate you, and each of you will have prepared happy generations who will transmit, together with your memory, the worship of your wisdom.
So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship. But man seeks to worship what is established beyond dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. For these pitiful creatures are concerned not only to find what one or the other can worship, but to find something that all would believe and worship; what is essential is that all may be together in it. This craving for community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity form the beginning of time. For the sake of common worship they’ve slain each other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged one another, “Put away your gods and come and worship ours, or we will kill you and your gods!”