Faith, hope, love - Czeslaw Milosz on the foundations of Christianity

via Warrior


Faith is when someone sees
A leaf on the water or a drop of dew
And he knows that they are - because they are necessary.
Even though one closes one's eyes, one dreams,
In the world there will only be what was,
And the leaf will be lifted further by the river waters.

Faith is also if someone is hurt
Leg with a stone and knows that stones
They are there to hurt our legs.
Watch the tree cast long shadows,
And ours, and the flowers' shadow falls to the ground:
What has no shadow, exists without strength.


There is hope if one believes,
That the earth is not a dream but a living body,
And that sight, touch or hearing does not lie.
And all the things I knew here,
They are like a garden when you stand in the gate.

You can't go in there. But it is certainly there.
If we had looked better and smarter,
A new flower and a star yet
In the garden of the world we would see.

Some say we are deluded by the eye
And that there is nothing, it just seems,
But these are the ones who have no hope.
They think that when a person turns around,
The whole world behind him immediately ceases to be,
It was as if he had been kidnapped by the hands of thieves.


Love means looking at yourself,
The way one looks at things that are alien to us,
Because you are just one thing among many.
And who looks at it that way, though he himself does not know it,
From worries of various sorts his heart heals,
A bird tells him and a tree tells him: friend.

Then both himself and things want to use,
That they stand in the filling glow.
It's nothing that it sometimes doesn't know what to serve:
It is not he who serves best who understands.

Definitions of universal Christian truths framed in non-theological terms (see source)


- indispensable in life
- confidence that there are no cases
- the conviction that everything is planned, has its place
- the ability to see the beauty of the world, despite its badness


- ephemeral
- seldom encountered
- the opposite of certainty
- inner peace
- belief in the meaning and higher order of the world (including the world after death)


- friendship with the world
- approval
- sense
- humility
- modesty
- service
- wisdom

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