Saturday, September 22, 2012

turning men's wandering eyes towards first causes

"You, young man, who understand this language and to whom the heroes of the mind seem mysteriously to beckon, but who fear to lack the necessary means, listen to me. Have you two hours a day? Can you undertake to keep them jealously, to use them ardently, and then, being of those who have authority in the Kingdom of God, can you drink the chalice of which these pages would wish to make you savor the exquisite and bitter taste? If so, have confidence. Nay, rest in quiet certainty.

If you are compelled to earn your living, at least you will earn it without sacrificing, as many do, the liberty of your soul. If you are alone, you will but be more violently thrown back on your noble purposes. Most great men followed some calling. Many have declared that the two hours I postulate suffice for an intellectual career. Learn to make the best use of that limited time; plunge every day of your life into the spring which quenches and yet ever renews your thirst.

Do you want to have a humble share in perpetuating wisdom among men, in gathering up the inheritance of the ages, in formulating the rules of the mind for the present time, in discovering facts and causes, in turning men's wandering eyes towards first causes and their hearts towards supreme ends, in reviving if necessary some dying flame, in organizing the propaganda of truth and goodness? That is the lot reserved for you. It is surely worth a little extra sacrifice; it is worth steadily pursuing with jealous passion."

[A.G. Sertillanges]

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