bear witness to greatness

“In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through the rags of fog
where we stood, saying I”

Adrienne Rich, “In Those Years”

Christ does not ask you to carry the whole of his heavy cross during your life but only a small part of it, by accepting your suffering. You have nothing to fear. To the contrary, consider yourself happy to have been accounted worthy of taking your share in the sufferings of the Man-God. There is no question on the Lord’s part of either abandonment or punishment; quite the opposite – it bears witness to his love, his great love for you. You must offer God thanks and accept to drink the chalice of Gethsemane.

Sometimes the Lord lets you feel the weight of the cross. This weight seems unbearable to you and yet you carry it because the Lord, who is full of love and mercy, holds out his hand to you and gives you the strength you need. Our Lord needs people who will suffer with him in the face of men’s lack of piety. That is why he leads me along the painful paths you speak of in your letter. Yet may he be blessed for ever since his love puts sweetness into what is bitter; he changes the passing suffering of this life into merit for eternity.

—  Saint Pio of Pietralcina “Padre Pio” (1887-1968), Capuchin
FSP, 119; Ep 3,441; CE,21; Ep 3,413

We all have our demons…our reasons. Today everything is weighing especially heavy on me. I admire your sister and aunt’s strength, they’re the one’s I look to when I’m drowning in sorrow. Your end was your beginning, we all know that. I would never get behind a computer and exploit this like others have. I’m writing this because I want the world to see your light, to bear witness to the greatness you so perfectly personify, and to never forget you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the swing of life, but I never forget. You speak to me always. Eye love you.

Darwin Comes To China

“Thomas Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics took China by storm — phrases such as the strong are victorious and the weak perish resonated in the national consciousness and “spread like a prairie fire, setting ablaze the hearts and blood of many young people,” noted philosopher Hu Shih.

People even adopted Darwin’s ideas as names. “The once famous General Chen Chiung-ming called himself ‘Ching-tsun’ or ‘Struggling for Existence.’ Two of my schoolmates bore the names ‘Natural Selection Yang’ and ‘Struggle for Existence Sun.’

“Even my own name bears witness to the great vogue of evolutionism in China. I remember distinctly the morning when I asked my second brother to suggest a literary name for me. After only a moment’s reflection, he said, ‘How about the word shih [fitness] in the phrase “Survival of the Fittest”?’ I agreed and, first using it as a nom de plume, finally adopted it in 1910 as my name.”

(Hu Shih, Living Philosophies, 1931.)