Friday, September 10, 2021


Man is an animal at heart, carnal, covetous, selfish, and vain; yet spiritual in his destiny: a vision beheld by God in the darkness of flesh and blood. Only eyes vigilant and fortified against the glaring and superficial can still perceive God’s vision in the soul’s horror—stricken night of falsehood, hatred, and malice.

We are prone to be impressed by the ostentatious, the obvious. The strident caterwaul of the animal fills the air, while the still, small voice of the spirit is heard only in the rare hours of prayer and devotion. From the streetcar window we may see the hunt for wealth and pleasure, the onslaught upon the weak, faces expressing suspicion or contempt. On the other hand, the holy lives only in the depths. What is noble retires from sight when exposed to light, humility is extinguished in the awareness of it, and the willingness for martyrdom rests in the secrecy of the things to be. Walking upon clay, we live in nature, surrendering to impulse and passion, to vanity and arrogance, while our eyes reach out to the lasting light of truth. We are subject to terrestrial gravitation, yet we are faced by God.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 323

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