Monday, September 06, 2021

Hold it lightly

Thus the pious man realizes, also, that whatever he may have at his disposal has been bestowed upon him as a gift. And there is a difference between a possession and a gift. Possession is loneliness. The very word excludes others from the use of the possessed object without the consent of the possessor, and those who insist on possession ultimately perish in self-excommunication and loneliness. On the contrary, in receiving a gift, the recipient obtains, besides the present, the love of the giver. A gift is thus the vessel that contains the affection, which is destroyed as soon as one begins to look on it as a possession. The pious man avers that he has a perpetual gift from God, for in all that comes to him he feels the love of God. In all the thousand and one experiences that make up a day, he is conscious of that love intervening in his life.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 315

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