Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Fidelity

"The best perfection of a religious man is to do common things in a perfect manner. A constant fidelity in small things is a great and heroic virtue." -

"Truth and fidelity are the pillars of the temple of the world; when these are broken,, the fabric falls, and crushes all to pieces." - Owen Feltham

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"Charity should be the habit of our estimates; kindness of our feelings; benevolence of our affections; cheerfulness of our social intercourse; generosity of our living; improvement of our progress; prayer of our desires; fidelity of our sex-examination; being and doing good of our entire life." - John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury

"I will this day try to live a simple, sincere, and serene life; repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike trust in God." - John H. Vincent, fully John Heyl Vincent

"Live more closely to the rhythms of nature... To keep our priorities straight, it is helpful to live more deliberately, with enough discipline to evoke and sustain a sensitivity to the inner life. To honor the rhythms and requirements of your life, be sure that the pattern you adopt is organic and flexible, rather than arbitrary and artificial... Live each day mindfully. Spiritual life requires no strongman acts, no glittering achievements or spectacular successes, but it does require passionate fidelity to the hundred little things of mundane life." - Mother Tessa Bielecki

"Atheism can benefit no class of people; neither the unfortunate, whom it bereaves of hope, nor the prosperous, whose joys it renders insipid, nor the soldier, of whom it makes a coward, nor the woman whose beauty and sensibility it mars, nor the mother, who has a son to lose, nor the rulers of men, who have no surer pledge of the fidelity of their subjects than religion." - François-René de Chateaubriand, fully François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand

"Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them, is simple fidelity to what each day brings." -

"The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated, except by those whose feelings are withered by vitiated society. Holy, simple, and beautiful in its construction, it is the emblem of all we can imagine of fidelity and truth." - Washington Irving

"Life is first boredom, then fear. Whether or not we use it, it goes, and leaves what something hidden from us chose, and age, and then the only end of age... Time has transfigured them into untruth. The stone fidelity they hardly meant has come to be their final blazon, and to prove our almost-instinct almost true: what will survive of us is love." - Philip Larkin, fully Philip Arthur Larkin

"Most often faith is understood as belief in certain propositional, doctrinal formulations that in some essential ands static way are supposed to “contain” truth. But if faith is relational, a pledging of trust and fidelity to another, and a way of moving into the force field of life trusting in dynamic center of value and power, then the “truth” of faith takes on a different quality. Truth is lived: it is a pattern of being in relation to others and to God. In this light, doctrines and creeds come to be seen as playing a different though still crucial role. Rather than being the repositories of truth, like treasure chests to be honored and assented to, they becomes guides for the construction of contemporary ways of seeing and being." - James W. Fowler III

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." - Helen Keller. aka Helen Adams Keller

"If the union of man and woman is the fruit of a love that is given in purity, generosity and fidelity, then the body itself is spiritualized in the service of a love that ennobles it, and, with God’s blessing, sanctifies." - Jean Mouroux

"A good government implies two things: first, fidelity to the object of government, which is the happiness of the people; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained. Some governments are deficient in both these qualities; most governments are deficient in the first." - Alexander Hamilton

"The success of any legal system is measured by its fidelity to the universal ideal of justice." - Earl Warren

"Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mischief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtues - constancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmness - are closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so jut an abhorrence; and in their excess all these virtues very easily fall into it." - Edmund Burke

"No man can mortgage his injustice as a pawn for his fidelity." - Edmund Burke

"Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through a long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness." - George Santayana

"Success surely comes with conscience in the long run, other things being equal. Capacity and fidelity are commercially profitable qualities." - Henry Ward Beecher

"What science calls unity and uniformity of nature, truth calls the fidelity of God." - James Martineau

"By trusting another we often win his trust... Trusting often makes Fidelity." - John Clarke

"Courage is not a virtue or value among other personal values like love or fidelity. It is the foundation that underlies and gives reality to all other virtues and personal values. Without courage our love pales into mere dependency. Without courage our fidelity becomes conformism." - Rollo May, fully Rollo Reese May

"A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heroes, but simply live each day with new hope, like children, in wonderment as the sun rises and in thanksgiving as it sets. Community is only being created when they have recognized that the greatness of man is to accept his insignificance, his human condition and his earth, and to thank God for having put in a finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness. The beauty of man is in this fidelity to the wonder of each day." - Jean Vanier

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. " - Joseph Addison

"Of all the inanimate objects, of all men's creations, books are the nearest to us for they contain our very thoughts, our ambitions, our indignations, our illusions, our fidelity to the truth, and our persistent leanings to error. But most of all they resemble us in their precious hold on life." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors, unless with a view to some mutual benefit. To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming -- in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the ruler within you -- means a loss of opportunity for some other task." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"I can cast out the wrong idea of fidelity and understand that in the end one cannot be faithful in the true life-giving sense if it means being unfaithful to oneself." - May Sarton, pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton

"Time has transfigured them into Untruth. The stone fidelity They hardly meant has come to be Their final blazon, and to prove Our almost-instinct almost true: What will survive of us is love. " - Philip Larkin, fully Philip Arthur Larkin

"For Posidonius, ouranos, heaven, offers the paradigm for man. The stars teach ethics. The individual who pursues his duties without emotional involvement in them and without the correlative expectation of results, who recognizes honesty as the good and the hallmark of the wise man, and who seeks to honour the higher daimon in himself discovers a fidelity within the soul which is both its overarching oikeiosis and its link to the World-Soul. He sees that the principles of physics can be translated into the laws of psychology from which are derived ethics and the rules of right conduct. Without wavering in his loyalty to the deepest insights of the Stoic tradition, Posidonius exemplified in his own life and thought the ability of the philosopher to penetrate afresh and more precisely the mystery of the kosmos and the less ordered realm in which human beings dwell. His fearlessness of method and the marriage of observation and abstract thought influenced the generations which came immediately after him, and inspired a number of thinkers in the dawn of the European Enlightenment. [paraphrased]" - Posidonius, aka Posidonius of Rhodes or Posidonius of Apameia (meaning "of Poseidon") NULL

"By insisting on a long engagement period, a female weeds out casual suitors, and only finally copulates with a male who has proved his qualities of fidelity and perseverance in advance. Feminine coyness is in fact very common among animals, and so are prolonged courtship or engagement periods." - Richard Dawkins

"The life of God – precisely because God is triune – does not belong to God alone. God who dwells in inaccessible light and eternal glory comes to us in the face of Christ and the activity of the Holy Spirit. Because of God’s outreach to the creature, God is said to be essentially relational, ecstatic, fecund, alive as passionate love. Divine life is therefore also our life. The heart of the Christian life is to be united with the God of Jesus Christ by means of communion with one another. The doctrine of the Trinity is, ultimately, therefore a teaching not about the abstract nature of God, nor about God in isolation from everything other than God, but a teaching about God’s life with us and our life with each other." - Saint Bonaventure, born John of Fidanza Bonaventure

"I know well, Monsieur, how much you have to endure in your present duty, and I ask Our Lord to strengthen you in your difficulties. It is in such circumstances that we acquire virtue; where there is no suffering, there is little merit. My wish is that God may grant us great indifference with regard to duties. O Monsieur, how sure we would then be of doing His Holy Will, which is our sole aspiration, and how much peace and contentment we would enjoy, or so it seems to me!" - Saint Vincent de Paul

"With whose imperfections will you bear, and what insult are you capable of enduring, if a thoughtless word from your own Superior is unbearable?" - Saint Vincent de Paul

"The psyche cannot tolerate a vacuum of love. In the severely abused or deprived child, pain, dis-ease, and violence rush in to fill the void. In the average person in our culture, who has been only normally deprived of touch, anxiety and an insatiable hunger for possessions replace the missing eros. The child lacking a sense of welcome, joyous belonging, gratuitous security, will learn to hoard the limited supply of affection. According to the law of psychic compensation, not being held leads to holding on, grasping, addiction, possessiveness. Gradually, things replace people as a source of pleasure and security. When the gift of belonging with is denied, the child learns that love means belonging to. To the degree we are arrested at this stage of development, the needy child will dominate our motivations. Other people and things (and there is fundamentally no difference) will be seen as existing solely for the purpose of my survival and satisfaction. Mine will become the most important word." - Sam Keen

"He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections." - Samuel Adams

"One evening he was in his room, his brow pressing hard against the pane, looking, without seeing them, at the chestnut trees in the park, which had lost much of their russet-colored foliage. A heavy mist obscured the distance, and the night was falling grey rather than black, stepping cautiously with its velvet feet upon the tops of the trees. A great swan plunged and replunged amorously its neck and shoulders into the smoking water of the river, and its whiteness made it show in the darkness like a great star of snow. It was the single living being that somewhat enlivened the lonely landscape." - Théophile Gautier, fully Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, aka Le Bon Theo

"We ought not to schismatize on either men or measures. Principles alone can justify that." - Thomas Jefferson

"One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men." - Thomas Merton

"Our willingness to take an alternative approach to a problem will perhaps relax the obsessive fixation of the adversary on his view, which he believes is the only reasonable possibility and which he is determined to impose on everyone else by coercion…This mission of humility in social life is not merely to edify, but to keep minds open to many alternatives. The rigidity of a certain type of thought has seriously impaired this capacity, which nonviolence must recover." - Thomas Merton

"Peace is not, after all, something you work for, or “fight for.” It is indeed “fighting for peace” that starts all the wars." - Thomas Merton

"A Song : On The Green Margin - On the green margin of the brook, Despairing Phyllida reclined, Whilst every sigh, and every look, Declared the anguish of her mind. Am I less lovely then? (she cries, And in the waves her form surveyed); Oh yes, I see my languid eyes, My faded cheek, my colour fled: These eyes no more like lightning pierced, These cheeks grew pale, when Damon first His Phyllida betrayed. The rose he in his bosom wore, How oft upon my breast was seen! And when I kissed the drooping flower, Behold, he cried, it blooms again! The wreaths that bound my braided hair, Himself next day was proud to wear At church, or on the green. While thus sad Phyllida lamented, Chance brought unlucky Thyrsis on; Unwillingly the nymph consented, But Damon first the cheat begun. She wiped the fallen tears away, Then sighed and blushed, as who would say Ah! Thyrsis, I am won. " - William Cowper

"What we do need to worry about is the possibility that we will be reduced, in the face of the enormities of our time, to silence or to mere protest." - Wendell Berry

"Man … always acts either self-loving, just for the hell of it, or God-loving, just for the heaven of it; his reasons, his appetites are secondary motivations. Man chooses either life or death, but he chooses; everything he does, from going to the toilet to mathematical speculation, is an act of religious worship, either of God or of himself." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them, if only to avoid them." - Victor Hugo

"No more duty can be urged upon those who are entering the great theater of life than simple loyalty to their best convictions." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Every effort for progress, for enlightenment, for science, for religious, political, and economic liberty, emanates from the minority, and not from the mass." - Emma Goldman

"His [Scott Fitzgerald's] talent was as natural as the pattern that made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly anymore because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"The bitter, yet merciful, lesson which death teaches us is to distinguish the gold from the tinsel, the true values from the worthless chaff." - Felix Adler