17 April 2008

some markings from Dag Hammarskjöld

My wife and I have scheduled a Christian spirituality workshop for this Saturday. I'll especially focus on Dag Hammarskjöld, UN Secretary General from 1953 until his death in 1961. His book, Markings, published posthumously, was a true inspiration to me as a young Christian. As time goes on, I think I appreciate it more than ever. There are so many great quotations I could cite, but here are a few:

"Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I—
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.
But in the meantime how grievous the memory

Of hours frittered away."
How many of us have the fear of missed opportunities? I would count myself among that number.

"To preserve the silence within—amid all the noise. To remain open and quiet, a moist humus in the fertile darkness where the rain falls and the grain ripens—no matter how many tramp across the parade ground in whirling dust under an arid sky."
I like his imagery in expressing his desire to keep the world, in which he was very deeply engaged, from invading his soul and clamoring where calm should reign.

"In a dream I walked with God through the deep places of creation; past walls that receded and gates that opened, through hall after hall of silence, darkness and refreshment—the dwelling place of souls acquainted with light and warmth—until, around me, was an infinity into which we all flowed together and lived anew, like the rings made by raindrops falling upon wide expanses of calm dark waters."
This is the quote I love the most and understand the least. When my mind soars and my analysis is shut down, I come close to the verge of beginning to grasp it.

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