There’s nothing that says “happy birthday” like a stack of enticing books you don’t have time to read. Then again, you did find a stock of Chimay Trappist ale at the local LCBO, some of which, it turns out, you’ve got time to drink. Life tends to work out that way.
One of my newly-acquired books is an old classic written by a Catholic priest for anyone pursuing a more contemplative, scholarly sort of life. The author is A.G. Sertillanges, and the book is The Intellectual Life. Here are just a few of the many insights:
“To get something without paying for it is the universal desire; but it is the desire of cowardly hearts and weak brains. The universe does not respond to the first murmured request, and the light of God does not shine under your study lamp unless your soul asks for it with persistent effort.”
“As to the public, if it sometimes stimulates, it often disturbs, scatters the mind; and by going to pick up two pennies in the street, you may lose a fortune. An impassioned solitude is better, for there every seed produces a hundredfold, and every ray of sunlight suffuses the landscape with autumnal gold.”
“Every age is not as good as every other, but all ages are Christian ages, and there is one which for us, and in practice, surpasses them all: our own. In view of it are our inborn resources, our graces of today and tomorrow, and consequently the efforts we must make in order to correspond with them. Let us not be like those people who always seem to be pallbearers at the funeral of the past. Let us utilize, by living, the qualities of the dead. Truth is ever new. Like the grass of morning, moist with glistening dew, all the old virtues are waiting to spring up afresh. God does not grow old.”