What a cunning mixture of sentiment, pity, tenderness, irony surrounds adolescence, what knowing watchfulness! Young birds on their first flight are hardly so hovered around.
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God ordains that beggars should beg for greatness, as for all else, when greatness shines out of them, and they don't know it.
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The world is eaten up by boredom. You can't see it all at once. It is like dust. You go about and never notice, you breathe it in, you eat and drink it. It is sifted so fine, it doesn't even grit on your teeth. But stand still for an instant and there it is, coating your face and hands. To shake off this drizzle of ashes you must be for ever on the go. And so people are always on the go.
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Fact is Our Lord knew all about the power of money: He gave capitalism a tiny niche in His scheme of things, He gave it a chance, He even provided a first installment of funds. Can you beat that? It's so magnificent. God despises nothing. After all, if the deal had come off, Judas would probably have endowed sanatoriums, hospitals, public libraries or laboratories.
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The modern state no longer has anything but rights; it does not recognize duties any more.
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I know the compassion of others is a relief at first. I don't despise it. But it can't quench pain, it slips through your soul as through a sieve. And when our suffering has been dragged from one pity to another, as from one mouth to another, we can no longer respect or love it.
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It is the perpetual dread of fear, the fear of fear, that shapes the face of a brave man.
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When you think of the huge uninterrupted success of a book like Don Quixote, you're bound to realize that if humankind have not yet finished being revenged, by sheer laughter, for being let down in their greatest hope, it is because that hope was cherished so long and lay so deep!
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The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.
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Faith is not a thing which one loses, we merely cease to shape our lives by it.
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And what have you laymen made of hell? A kind of penal servitude for eternity, on the lines of your convict prisons on earth, to which you condemn in advance all the wretched felons your police have hunted from the beginning -- enemies of society, as you call them. You're kind enough to include the blasphemers and the profane. What proud or reasonable man could stomach such a notion of God's justice? And when you find that notion inconvenient it's easy enough for you to put it on one side. Hell is not to love any more, Madame. Not to love any more!
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What does the truth matter? Haven't we mothers all given our sons a taste for lies, lies which from the cradle upwards lull them, reassure them, send them to sleep: lies as soft and warm as a breast!
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No one ever discovers the depths of his own loneliness.
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Civilization exists precisely so that there may be no masses but rather men alert enough never to constitute masses.
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A poor man with nothing in his belly needs hope, illusion, more than bread.
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The wish to pray is a prayer in itself. God can ask no more than that of us.
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It's a fine thing to rise above pride, but you must have pride in order to do so.
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Purity is not imposed upon us as though it were a kind of punishment, it is one of those mysterious but obvious conditions of that supernatural knowledge of ourselves in the Divine, which we speak of as faith. Impurity does not destroy this knowledge, it slays our need for it.
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Have you never been moved by poor men's fidelity, the image of you they form in their simple minds? Why should you always talk of their envy, without understanding that what they ask of you is not so much your worldly goods, as something very hard to define, which they themselves can put no name to; yet at times it consoles their loneliness; a dream of splendor, of magnificence, a tawdry dream, a poor man's dream --and yet God blesses it!
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Who are you to condemn another's sin? He who condemns sin becomes part of it, espouses it.
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A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.
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Bernanos, Georges

No biography at present.

21 quotations