235) Wisdom from G. K. Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English journalist and author.  He wrote over 100 books and over 4,000 newspaper columns and articles.  He was an adult convert to Christianity, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and an ardent defender of the faith.  For more about Chesterton go to  www.chesterton.org

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (b. 29 May 1874 – d....

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.

You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the play and the opera, and grace before the concert and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing; and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

If Americans can be divorced for ‘incompatibility of temper,’ I cannot imagine why they are not all divorced.  I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one.  The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable.  For a man and a woman are, as such, incompatible.  The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis…  Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.

The Iliad is great only because all life is a battle, The Odyssey because all life is a journey, the Book of Job because all life is a riddle.

Love means loving the unlovable, or it is no virtue at all.  Charity means pardoning the unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all.  Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all.  And faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.

The chief idea of my life is the idea of taking things with gratitude, and not taking things for granted.

Our civilization has decided, and very justly decided, that determining the guilt or innocence of men is too important to be trusted to trained men.  If it wishes for light upon that awful matter, it asks men who know no more law than I know, but who can feel things that I felt in the jury-box.  When it wants a library cataloged, or the solar system discovered, or any trifle of that kind, it uses up its specialists.  But when it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round.  The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.

The word “good” has many meanings.  For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of 500 yards, I should call him a good shot but not necessarily a good man.

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmastime.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?

The doctrine of human equality rests on this:  that there is no man really clever who has not found that he is stupid.

The reformer is always right about what is wrong.  He is all too often wrong about what is right.

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.

The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen.  In fact, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman.


Psalm 103:2  —  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

Psalm 107:1  —  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

I Thessalonians 5:18  —  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

A MORNING PRAYER FROM THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER:  O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning:  Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace;  that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks;  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.