the most difficult art known on earth


Storm clouds pushing over the top of Mission Ridge,
only to evaporate as they descend over the east slope

“…the restless search of men into which their homesickness for the long-lost Paradise has ever and again driven them. It is intensely moving to see the fervor, the passionate tenacity with which men try to swim across the wide stream that divides the two shores of time and eternity, that separates God from man. Every power of the soul that man possesses is exerted to produce a sanctification that shall result in a holiness worth of God. Stoic morals and the ethics of Protestant culture, the erotic transformation of all nature, the sublime mystical trance, Platonic wisdom and idealistic speculation, all these and countless other manifestations of similar kind are all in the last analysis closely related.”

“When we are told of the elder son that ‘he was angry and would not go in’ when the lost brother had again found his way home and gained his father’s forgiveness, we have a picture of the proud moral man that is true for all ages. The works-righteous perfectionist is always envious because God is so gracious towards others. By such hateful,envious thoughts every deed is poisoned and corrupted; its value gone.”

“Man has to ‘learn the most difficult art known on earth,’ namely, to gain the consciousness of being a sinner; he must learn to regard his riches, his dependence on the results of his own efforts as his poverty, and the poverty of a humble contrite heart as his true riches. Torn from the heights and dominion and submission and mortality, man can only stammer, ‘Forgive us our trespasses.’ Whether he will receive an answer to his prayer is a matter quite beyond his own control.”

Quotes from the first two chapters of Adolph Köberle, The Quest for Holiness