Outward appearances and personality techniques are not enough. The tests of life will separate the pretenders from those who possess true virtue. Right now, it may be hard to tell who has real merit and who has only charm, but time will surely tell.
Purity means we distinguish that which has not been corrupted from that which has, and we commit ourselves to staying away from the latter. It means we discipline our thinking with habits of thought that are clean, wholesome, and constructive.
If we’re not growing, we’re giving in to the forces of destruction. Rejuvenation is not something that can be done once and then forgotten. It has to be repeated as often as we find ourselves exhausted. The cup of life has to be refilled every day.
Only a fool will disregard the advice of those who have “been there.” If necessary, faith and courage will see us through uncharted territory, but if the territory has, in fact, been charted, we are unwise if we don’t profit from maps made by others.
We may be working our way toward accomplishing some weighty goal, but most of us could still stand to lighten up now and then. There’s no worthwhile destination we can aim toward that isn’t reached better by those who have a song in their hearts.
We must first learn to be honest with ourselves — and this requires an admission of our own frailties and foibles. When we’ve learned to face the (sometimes painful) truth about ourselves, we’ll be in a better position to deal honestly with others.
When a person has learned the enduring principles that have proven their value to human beings over many centuries, we say that his or her character is solidly “rooted.” That person will be better able to withstand the difficulties of life.
The world is unpeaceful. And if there is nothing more to help us than science and self-improvement, there can be none of the peace we so deeply desire. “All men who live with any degree of serenity live by some assurance of grace” (Reinhold Niebuhr).
The word “edify” comes from a Latin verb meaning “to build.” When one person edifies another, he strengthens the other intellectually, morally, or spiritually. And surely, that’s what we should desire: to build others up rather than tear them down.
We need “initiative” (the ability to get things started) and also “finishiative” (the ability to complete what has been started). Without closure many of our good deeds will be less good. We should finish as much of our work as we can.