- By Elder Thatcher

A Thematic Blog - -By Elder Thatcher
"By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"After All We Can Do"

 Michaelangelo Buonaroti, hailed as one of the most masterful artists in history, enjoyed much fame during his life.  He was given the distinction of being the first artist to have his biography published during his lifetime.  He was referred to, in Florence and around Italy, as Il Divino, or "The Divine One."  Once he entered the forefront of the Renaissance art society, his fame spread, and throughout his life he received commission upon commission by the most respected patrons in Italy. 

 Although reported to be somewhat arrogant regarding his talents, his own words provide a deep insight.

"If people knew how hard I worked to gain my mastery, it would not be so wonderful."  

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michaelangelo

Hesiod  (c. 700 BC)

The early Greek poet and author, Hesiod, a contemporary of Homer, believed as well in diligence.

"Mediocrity is easy, it can be had in quantity.  The road is smooth, safe, and it lies close by.  But, in front of excellence the immortal gods have put sweat and hard work and long and steep is the road to it, and rough at first.  But, when you make it to the top then it is easy, even though it is hard."  

 Several months ago, I went to a meeting where I was privileged to hear a man named Elder Kevin W. Pearson speak to a group of missionaries.  He is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a special witness of Jesus Christ.  He said something that struck me and which I want to apply.

"Hard work reveals capacity....The harder I work, the more my innate capacity is revealed to me." 

Another special witness of the Savior, David O. McKay, who passed away in 1970, had a similar energy by which he did great things and inspired others to rise higher. 

"You are the one who has to decide whether you'll do it or toss it aside; whether you'll strive for the goal that's afar, or just be content to stay where you are."

 This life is a time to work and to work hard.  God will not justify anyone who refuses to measure up to his own potential.  We mortals are weak but we can give what we have, and when we do so, God can do great things through us. 
God doesn't want us to be average.  He wants us to be heirs of Eternal Life.  He wants us to be outstanding.  To obtain that type of excellence requires, as Michaelangelo said, hard, concerted, focused, and prolonged labor.

Our potential of our Divine spark is limitless when we strike the flint of our own diligent effort to the steel of God's grace.  It will light a fuse that can only be cut by our own doubt. 

In others' words,


"Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your salvation with fear and trembling before him."    

-Mormon 9:27

Book of Mormon Online - Mormon Chapter 9                                                                  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Keys to Happiness

Socrates taught, "Know Thyself."  
 (469-399 BC)

"You are a child of God.  He is the Father of your Spirit.  Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven.   Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it.  However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line.  You are a child of God!" 
                                            -Boyd K. Packer
Cicero taught, "Control Thyself."
 (106-43 BC)

"Learn to control yourselves; learn to be in the hands of God as clay in the hands of the potter."  

"I have frequently said that the greatest endowment God ever gave to man is good, sound, solid sense to know how to govern ourselves."  

"If you first gain power to check your words, you will then begin to have power to check your judgment, and at length actually gain power to check your thoughts and reflections."  

                                                                            -Brigham Young
Christ taught, "Give Thyself."
(c. 5BC-1AD -- 30-33 AD)

"To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves.  No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man.  Service to others is akin to duty--the fulfillment of which brings true joy."  
                                                   -Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Absolutely Essential

I apologize for the last post. I'm simplifying.  I will return to the real purpose of this blog and minimize my own commentary (soap-boxing) on the quotes I provide.  I can't really say it any better anyway. 

I am reprimanded by the words of a favorite author of mine, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  In his book The Little Prince, the title character so truly teaches (as I have now illustrated):

"Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."

Saint-Exupéry was a French pilot during WWII.  In spite of his involvement on behalf of his country, he despised war and viewed life with the eye of a poet.  He wrote much concerning charity, which the prophet Mormon defines as "the pure love of Christ."

The insights of Saint-Exupéry are simple but profound.  For fear of saying anything to detract from  their greatness, I will refrain from comment, but merely place quotes in a pleasant order.

"Charity never humiliated him who profited from it, nor ever bound him by the chains of gratitude, since it was not to him but to God that the gift was made."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry             

"If a man say, 'I love God,' and hateth his brother, he is a liar:  for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
1 John 4:20-21

"For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow."
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Love does not cause suffering; what causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love's opposite."  
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Let go. Let God.  Without charity, life is meaningless.  With it, life is given energy and purpose.  In it's pure unadulterated form, Love is the greatest thing in the world and the greatest absolute essential.
 As a summation of his philosophy, we can take these words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to heart.

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."