A seeker came to the teacher, asking, “I am interested in the spiritual quest – what books would you suggest I read?’

The teacher smiled and pointed to his empty bookshelves, saying, ‘The best books are people.’

Wishing to justify himself, the seeker said, ‘Surely, a spiritual man like yourself would recommend that I read the Bible. Which translation of the Bible would you suggest?’

The teacher smiled faintly and replied, ‘The best translation of the Bible is a saint!’”

Source | Edward Hays, The Ladder: Parable-Stories of Ascension and Descension
(Forest of Peace Pub., 1999) page 76


As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God. In the words of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas, “People of the Book risk putting the book above people.” — Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

  • What kind of book are you to the people around you?
  • How would you define a saint?


There’s a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts.

One of them asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?”

The rabbi answered, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.”

  • What heart to you carry around? Is it a heart of stone, frigid, rigid and sterile or a heart of flesh, pulsing with the pulse of God, soft, tractable, and not afraid to break open, touched, renewed, refreshed and recreated?
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