"The myth of Demeter and Persephone, then, illustrates the power of the Greek religion as a religion of pure ideas--of conceptions, which having no link on historical fact, yet, because they arose naturally out of the spirit of man, and embodied, in adequate symbols, his deepest thoughts concerning the conditions of his physical and spiritual life, maintained their hold through many changes, and are still not without a solemnising power even for the modern mind, which has once admitted them as recognised and habitual inhabitants; and, abiding thus for the elevation and purifying of our sentiments, long after the earlier and simpler races of their worshippers have passed away, they may be a pledge to us of the place in our culture, at once legitimate and possible, of the associations, the conceptions, the imagery, of Greek religious poetry in general, of the poetry of all religions."
"It is with a rush of home-sickness that the thought of death presents itself.... Such sentiment is the eternal stock of all religions, modified indeed by changes of time and place, but indestructible, because its root is so deep in the earth of man's nature. The breath of religious initiators passes over them; a few "rise up with wings as eagles" [Isaiah 40:31], but the broad level of religious life is not permanently changed. Religious progress, like all purely spiritual progress, is confined to a few."
"The poetic experience, like the religious one, is a mortal leap: a change of nature that is also a return to our original nature. Hidden by the profane or prosaic life, our being suddenly remembers its lost identity; and then that "other" that we are appears, emerges. Poetry and religion are a revelation. But the poetic word dispenses with divine authority. The image is sustained by itself, without the need to appeal to rational demon stration or to the protection of a supernatural power: it is the revelation of himself that man makes to himself. The religious word, on the contrary, aims to reveal a mystery that is, by definition, alien to us."
"No person can be considered as possessing a good education without religion. A good education is that which prepares us for our future sphere of action and makes us contented with that situation in life in which God, in his infinite mercy, has seen fit to place us, to be perfectly resigned to our lot in life, whatever it may be."
"Faith and religion, of course, are not one and the same. The distinction between the two is similar to the distinction between what is sometimes referred to as the soul and body of an experience. The soul is the invisible part, rooted in the mind, will, and feelings. The body of the experience is the outward expression of its soul. It is the putting into action of an idea, conviction, hope or desire. Faith, then, is like the soul of an experience. It is an inner acknowledgment of the relationship between God and man. Religion, on the other hand, is like the body. It is an outer expression of that inner acknowledgment."
"The hedge [of hawthorns] formed a type of suite of chapels disappearing under the wall of their flowers heaped as on an altar; under them, the sun placed on the ground a grid of light, as if it had come through a glass window; their fragrance was as smooth and as clearly defined in its form as if I had stood before the Virgin's altar, and the flowers, so ornamented, each distractedly held its dazzling bouquet of stamens, fine and shining ribs of flamboyant style like those which in the church line the ramp of the rood-screen or the mullions of stained-glass windows and which bloomed into the white flesh of strawberry blossoms."
"At the time there was a claustral monk named Frere Jean of the Hashes, who was young, gallant, joyful, good natured, dextrous, bold, adventurous, thoughtful, tall, thin, with a capacious mouth, gifted in the nose, a great dispatcher of hours, quite an accomplisher of masses, a quick doer-in of vigils,--to put it in a nutshell, a true monk if ever there's been one since this monk of a world first monked out a monk; moreover, a cleric to his very teeth in matters of the breviary."
"There is nothing so true as that the frock and the cowl bring on the opprobrium, insults and derision of the world, just as, according to Caecias, the wind attracts clouds. The overwhelming reason is: because monks eat the world's shit, which is to say its sins, and like shit eaters they are consigned to their privies: those are their convents and abbeys."