FENELON, Francis de S. Quotes
(1651-1715), French archbishop
If all the crowns of Europe were placed at my disposal on condition that I should abandon my books and studies, I should spurn the crowns away and stand by the books.
Genuine good taste consists in saying much in few words, in choosing among our thoughts, in having order and arrangement in what we say, and in speaking with composure.
Children are very nice observers, and will often perceive your slightest defects.—In general, those who govern children, forgive nothing in them, but everything in themselves.
Resign every forbidden joy; restrain every wish that is not referred to God's will; banish all eager desires, all anxiety; desire only the will of God; seek him alone and supremely, and you will find peace.
To be content with even the best people, we must be contented with little and bear a great deal. Those who are most perfect have many imperfections, and we have great faults; between the two, mutual toleration becomes very difficult.
The greatest of all crosses is self.—If we die in part every day, we shall have but little to do on the last.—These little daily deaths will destroy the power of the final dying.
Despondency is not a state of humility.—On the contrary, it is the vexation and despair of a cowardly pride; nothing is worse.—Whether we stumble, or whether we fall, we must only think of rising again and going on in our course.
In the light of eternity we shall see that what we desired would have been fatal to us, and that what we would have avoided was essential to our well-being.
I believe that we are conforming to the divine order and the will of Providence when we are doing even indifferent things that belong to our condition.
Good taste rejects excessive nicety; it treats little things as little things, and is not hurt by them.
Violent excitement exhausts the mind, and leaves it withered and sterile.
The passion of acquiring riches in order to support a vain expense, corrupts the purest souls.
If we were faultless we should not be so much annoyed by the defects of those with whom we associate.
Had we not faults of our own, we should take less pleasure in complaining of others.
It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect.—The more perfect we are, the more gentle and quiet we become toward the defects of others.
It is the misfortune of kings that they scarcely ever do the good they have a mind to do; and through surprise, and the insinuations of flatterers, they often do the mischief they never intended.
We must truly serve those whom we appear to command; we must bear with their imperfections, correct them with gentleness and patience, and lead them in the way to heaven.
Make not a bosom friend of a melancholy, sad soul.—He will be sure to aggravate thine adversity and to lessen thy prosperity.—He goes always heavily loaded, and thou must bear half.
Speak, move, act in peace, as if you were in prayer. In truth, this is prayer.
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul; we may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remain firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence, not in an exemption from suffering.
True piety hath in it nothing weak, nothing sad, nothing constrained. It enlarges the heart; it is simple, free, and attractive.
Our piety must be weak and imperfect if it do not conquer the fear of death.
Trouble and perplexity drive me to prayer, and prayer drives away perplexity and trouble.
A good discourse is that from which one can take nothing without taking the life.
I would have every minister of the Gospel address his audience with the zeal of a friend, with the generous energy of a father, and with the exuberant affection of a mother.
If the riches of the Indies, or the crowns of all the kingdoms of Europe, were laid at my feet in exchange for my love of reading, I would spurn them all.
O Lord, I do most cheerfully commit all unto Thee.
Whoever will labor to get rid of self, to deny himself according to the instructions of Christ, strikes at once at the root of every evil, and finds the germ of every good.
Never let us be discouraged with ourselves. It is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked; on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light; and let us remember for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till we begin to cure them.
So long as we are full of self we are shocked at the faults of others. Let us think often of our own sin, and we shall be lenient to the sins of others.
Nothing will make us so charitable and tender to the faults of others, as, by self-examination, thoroughly to know our own.
It is this unquiet self-love that renders us so sensitive. The sick man, who sleeps ill, thinks the night long. We exaggerate, from cowardice, all the evils which we encounter; they are great, but our sensibility increases them.
Let us pray God that he would root out of our hearts everything of our own planting and set out there, with his own hand, the tree of life bearing all manner of fruits.
Sordid and infamous sensuality, the most dreadful evil that issued from the box of Pandora, corrupts the entire heart and eradicates every virtue.
The true genius that conducts a state is he, who doing nothing himself, causes everything to be done; he contrives, he invents, he foresees the future; he reflects on what is past; he distributes and proportions things; he makes early preparations; he incessantly arms himself to struggle against fortune, as a swimmer against a rapid stream of water; he is attentive night and day, that he may leave nothing to chance.
A man's style is nearly as much a part of himself as his face, or figure, or the throbbing of his pulse; in short, as any part of his being which is subjected to the action of his will.
Temptations are a file which rub off much of the rust of our self-confidence.
To realize God's presence is the one sovereign remedy against temptation.
God, who is liberal in all his other gifts, shows us, by the wise economy of his providence, how circumspect we ought to be in the management of our time, for he never gives us two moments together.
There is no real elevation of mind in a contempt of little things. It is, on the contrary, from too narrow views that we consider those things of little importance, which have, in fact, such extensive consequences.
The most virtuous of all men, says Plato, is he that contents himself with being virtuous without seeking to appear so.
The voluptuous and effeminate are never brave; they have no courage in time of danger.