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Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

— Simone Weil  <link>

Love consents to all and commands only those who consent. Love is abdication. God is abdication.

— Simone Weil  <link>

God’s love for us is not the reason for which we should love him. God’s love for us is the reason for us to love ourselves. How could we love ourselves without this motive? It is impossible for man to love himself except in this roundabout way.

— Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace  <link>

What Grace Cannot Prevent

The spirit of the Gospels has not been handed down in a pure state from one Christian generation to the next. To undergo suffering and death joyfully was from the very beginning considered a sign of grace in the Christian martyrs—but grace cannot do more for a human being than it could for Christ.

Those who believe that God himself, once he became a man, could not face the harshness of destiny without a long tremor of anguish, should understand that those who give the impression of having risen to a higher plane, who seem superior to ordinary human misery, are those who resort to the aids of illusion, exaltation, and fanaticism to conceal the harshness of destiny from their own eyes.

The person who does not wear the armor of the lie cannot experience force without being touched by it to the very soul. Grace can prevent this touch from corrupting him, but it cannot spare him the wound. Having forgotten this all too well, Christian tradition only rarely recovers that simplicity that renders so poignant every sentence in the story of the Passion.

— Simone Weil, from “The Iliad: or the Poem of Force”  <link>

Love is an orientation and not a state of the soul. Anyone who does not know this will fall into despair at the first onset of affliction.

— Simone Weil  <link>

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.

— Simone Weil  <link>

Contradiction is the instrument of transcendence.

— Simone Weil  <link>

The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry.

— Simone Weil  <link>

That Which Separates

Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.

— Simone Weil  <link>

Learning to Read

As one has to learn to read or to practice a trade, so one must learn to feel in all things, first and almost solely, the obedience of the universe to God. It is really an apprenticeship. Like every apprenticeship, it requires time and effort. He who has reached the end of his training realizes that the differences between things or between events are no more important than those recognized by someone who knows how to read, when he has before him the same sentence reproduced several times, written in red ink and blue, and printed in this, that, or other kind of lettering. He who does not know how to read only sees the differences. For him who knows how to read, it all comes to the same thing, since the sentence is identical. Whoever has finished his apprenticeship recognizes things and events, everywhere and always, as vibrations of the same divine and infinitely sweet word. This does not mean that he will not suffer. Pain is the color of certain events. When a man who can and a man who cannot read look at a sentence written in red ink, they both see the same red color, but this color is not so important for the one as for the other.

— Simone Weil, Waiting for God  <link>