Part of the Main

We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty.

— G. K. Chesterton, Volume 28: The Illustrated London News

Holding a child in your arms gave you much the same feeling as pushing your finger down into the earth when you were gardening, or having your horse nuzzle the palm of your hand for sugar. Quite suddenly you felt that your life was not an isolated thing, but existed in all other lives, as all other lives existed within yours. There wasn‘t anything anywhere to which you could say, ‘We don‘t need each other.’

— Elizabeth Goudge, The Herb of Grace

The song seraphically free
Of taint of personality,
So pure that it salutes the suns
The voice of one for millions,
In whom the millions rejoice
For giving their one spirit
voice.

— George Meredith, The Lark Ascending

To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger—these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.

— Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
Is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
Is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
Well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
Own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind.

— John Donne, No Man Is An Island

A certain brother said: “It is right for a man to take up the burden for them who are near to him, whatever it may be, and, so to speak, to put his own soul in the place of that of his neighbour, and to become, if it were possible, a double man, and he must suffer, and weep, and mourn with him, and finally the matter must be accounted by him as if he himself had put on the actual body of his neighbour, and as if he had acquired his countenance and soul, and he must suffer for him as he would for himself.”

— Charles Williams, Descent of the Dove

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