It has been my experience that those who claim to be the most spiritual are usually the least so.
When you have been with your partner for so many years, they become the glove compartment map that you've worn dog-eared and white-creased, the trail you recogonize so well you could draw it by heart and for this very reason keep it with you on journeys at all times. And yet, when you least expect it, one day you open your eyes and there is an unfamiliar turnoff, a vantage point taht wasn't there before, and you have to stop and wonder if maybe this landmark isn't new at all, but rather something you have missed all along.
Another key element of human ecology is the inviolability of human life, especially at its beginning and its end. The Holy See insistently proclaims that the first and most fundamental of all human rights is the right to life, and that when this right is denied all other rights are threatened. The assumption that abortion and euthanasia are human rights deserving legislative sanction is seen by the Holy See as a contradiction which amounts to a denial of the human dignity and freedom which the law is supposed to protect. A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2000/index.htm
The true greatness of a nation is not measured by the vastness of its territory, or by the multitude of its people, or by the profusion of its exports and imports; but by the extent to which it has contributed to the life and thought and progress of the world. A man's greatness is not estimated by the size of his body or of his purse; not by his family connections or social position, however high these may be. He may bulk large in public estimation today, but tomorrow he will be forgotten like a dream, and his very servants may secure a higher position and a name lasting possibly a little longer.A man's greatness is estimated by his influence, not over the votes and empty cheers of a changing and passing crowd, but by his abiding, inspiring influence in their bidden thoughts, upon their ways of thinking, and consequently of acting. That is why the Wycliffes, Shakespeares, Miltons, Newtons, Wesleys, and Gladstones of English history live, and will live, in everlasting memory, while lesser men are remembered only through them, and the crowd of demagogues, pretenders, and self-seekers are named, if ever named, only to point a moral, or adorn a tale.So with nations. A great nation is not one which, like Russia, has an enormous territory ; or, like China, has an enormous population. It is the nation which gives mankind new modes of thought, new ideals of life, new hopes, new aspirations; which lifts the world out of the rut, and sets it going on a cleaner and brighter road.
I should like you to remember two or three fixed principles which shine through all the history of mankind. The first is that mere bigness is not greatness. There is no dignity, no nobleness, in mere bulk. The true greatness of a nation depends upon the character of its ethical ideal and the energy with which it pursues it. I count it a peculiar good fortune for the American nation that it was conceived in liberty and intelligence and swaddled in order and justice, and that its early years were watched over by men who saw in such an organization the best hopes of the human race. But the baptism of the fathers does not guarantee the consecration of their children; and the republic can be kept true to its ideals only by the devoted efforts of each succeeding generation. Thus is it the privilege of the quiet scholar, who sees and speaks the truth, to shape from his study the policy of nations and the course of history.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
These same experiences make of the sequence of life cycles a generational cycle, irrevocably binding each generation to those that gave it life and to those for whose life it is responsible. Thus, reconciling lifelong generativity and stagnation involves the elder in a review of his or her own years of active responsibility for nurturing the next generations, and also in an integration of earlier-life experiences of caring and of self-concern in relation to previous generations.
This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century -- solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others.