... the greatest menace to our capacity for contemplation is the incessant fabrication of tawdry empty stimuli which kill the receptivity of the soul.— Josef Pieper
The most pioneering Josef Pieper quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for nonactivity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture and ourselves.
Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves.
We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence.
Of course the world of work begins to become - threatens to become - our only world, to the exclusion of all else. The demands of the working world grow ever more total, grasping ever more completely the whole of human existence.
Unchaste abandon and the self-surrender of the soul to the world of sensuality paralyzes the primordial powers of the moral person: the ability to perceive, in silence, the call of reality, and to make, in the retreat of this silence, the decision appropriate to the concrete situation of concrete action.
...Enduring comprises a strong activity of the soul, namely, a vigorous grasping of and clinging to the good; and only from this stout-hearted activity can the strength to support the physical and spiritual suffering of injury and death be nourished.
No one can obtain felicity by pursuit.
This explains why one of the elements of being happy is the feeling that a debt of gratitude is owed, a debt impossible to pay. Now, we do not owe gratitude to ourselves. To be conscious of gratitude is to acknowledge a gift.
Wonder is defined by Thomas [Aquinas] in the Summa Theologiae [I-II, Q.
32, a. 8], as the desiderium sciendi, the desire for knowledge, active longing to know.
Happiness and joy are not the same. For what does the fervent craving for joy mean? It does not mean that we wish at any cost to experience the psychic state of being joyful. We want to have reason for joy, for an unceasing joy that fills us utterly, sweeps all before it, exceeds all measure.
...the intemperately wrathful man is less obnoxious than the intemperately lustful one, while the immoderate pleasure-seeker, intent on dissimulation and camouflage, is unable to give or take a straight look in the eye.
The happy life does not mean loving what we possess, but possessing what we love." Possession of the beloved, St. Thomas holds, takes place in an act of cognition, in seeing, in intuition, in contemplation.
The inmost significance of the exaggerated value which is set upon hard work appears to be this: man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refused to have anything as a gift.
To celebrate a festival means: to live out, for some special occasion and in an uncommon manner, the universal assent to the world as a whole.
The eye of perfected friendship with God is aware of deeper dimensions of reality, to which the eyes of the average man and the average Christian are not yet opened.
The ultimate meaning of the active life is to make possible the happiness of contemplation.
The delight we take in our senses is an implicit desire to know the ultimate reason for things, the highest cause. The desire for wisdom that philosophy etymologically is is a desire for the highest or divine causes. Philosophy culminates in theology. All other knowledge contains the seeds of contemplation of the divine.
Happiness is essentially a gift; we are not the forgers of our own felicity.
The happy man needs nothing and no one.
Not that he holds himself aloof, for indeed he is in harmony with everything and everyone; everything is "in him"; nothing can happen to him. The same may also be said for the contemplative person; he needs himself alone; he lacks nothing.
Repose, leisure, peace, belong among the elements of happiness.
If we have not escaped from harried rush, from mad pursuit, from unrest, from the necessity of care, we are not happy. And what of contemplation? Its very premise is freedom from the fetters of workaday busyness. Moreover, it itself actualizes this freedom by virtue of being intuition.
Only the silent hear and those who do not remain silent do not hear.
Being precedes Truth, and ... Truth precedes the Good.
He who knows does not feel wonder. It could not be said that God experiences wonder, for God knows in the most absolute and perfect way.
If in this supreme test, in face of which the braggart falls silent and every heroic gesture is paralyzed, a man walks straight up to the cause of his fear and is not deterred from doing that which is good -- which ultimately means for the sake of God, and therefore not from ambition or from fear of being taken for a coward -- this man, and he alone, is truly brave.
The "supreme good" and its attainment -- that is happiness. And joy is: response to happiness.
The essence of leisure is not to assure that we may function smoothly but rather to assure that we, embedded in our social function, are enabled to remain fully human.
Modern religious teaching have little or nothing to say about the place of prudence in life or in the hierarchy of virtues.
All just order in the world is based on this, that man give man what is his due.
Contemplation does not ignore the 'historical Gethsemane', does not ignore the mystery of evil, guilt and its bloody atonement. The happiness of contemplation is a true happiness, indeed the supreme happiness; but it is founded upon sorrow.
Beauty, however, must here be understood in its original meaning: as the glow of the true and the good irradiating from every ordered state of being, and not in the patent significance of immediate sensual appeal.
... each gratification points to the ultimate one, and that all happiness has some connection with eternal beatitude. Some connection, if only this: that every fulfillment this side of Heaven instantly reveals its inadequacy. It is immediately evident that such satisfactions are not enough; they are not what we have really sought; they cannot really satisfy us at all.
Justice is a habit (habitus), whereby a man renders to each one his due with constant and perpetual will.
Only those are called liberal or free which are concerned with knowledge;
those which are concerned with utilitarian ends... are called servile...The question is... can man develop to the full as a functionary and a worker and nothing else; can a full human existence be contained within an exclusively workaday existence? Stated differently and translated back into our terms: is there such a thing as a liberal art?
The common element in all the special forms of contemplation is the loving, yearning, affirming bent toward that happiness which is the same as God Himself, and which is the aim and purpose of all that happens in the world.
What distinguishes - in both senses of that word - contemplation is rather this: it is a knowing which is inspired by love. "Without love there would be no contemplation." Contemplation is a loving attainment of awareness. It is intuition of the beloved object.
[T]o know means to reach the reality of existing things[.]
The brave man uses wrath for his own act, above all in attack, 'for it is peculiar to wrath to pounce upon evil. Thus fortitude and wrath work directly upon each other.
Happiness,... even the smallest happiness, is like a step out of Time, and the greatest happiness is sharing in Eternity.