Any spiritual view which focuses attention on ourselves, and puts the human creature with its small ideas and adventures in the center foreground is dangerous til we recognize its absurdity. — Evelyn Underhill, The Spiritual Life
Know that no man in this life ever gave up so much that he could not find something else to let go. Few people, knowing what this means, can stand it long. [and yet] it is an honest requital, a just exchange. To the extent that you eliminate self from your activities, God comes into them — but not more and no less. Begin with that, and let it cost you your uttermost. In this way, and no other, is true peace to be found.
— Meister Eckhart, The Talks of Instruction
Lord, they are foolish and mad, who, because thou has few friends, always compare Thy true friendship with that of the false world — for that is the fault of their great blindness--and who are forever complaining of some suffering or other. Ah, how loving thy paternal rod is in very truth! Blessed is he whom Thou has never sparked with it! Lord, I now see full well that suffering is not due to harshness; it comes from loving tenderness. Let no one say again that Thou hast forgotten Thy friends! Thou has forgotten those — or Thou hast despaired of them — whom Thou has spared suffering here, whom Thou wilt save hereafter from eternal distress and to whom Thou will give everlasting joy. Ah, Lord, grant that these two visions may never leave the eyes of my heart, and that I may never lose Thy friendship.
— Heinrich Seuse, Little Book of Eternal Wisdom
Think of a hospital. The patients are dying like flies, every method is tried to make things better. It's no use. Where does the sickness come from? It comes from the building, the whole building is full of poison. So it is in the religious sphere. One person thinks that it would help if we get a new hymnal, another a new altar-book, another a musical service, and so on. It's no use. It comes from the building. This whole pile of lumber of an established church, which from time immemorial has not been ventilated, spiritually speaking— the air confined in this lumber room has developed poison, and for this reason the religious life is sick or has died out.
— Søren Kierkegaard
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
— Matthew, 10: 34-37