HEDWIG LEWIS SJ
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Have you caught yourself getting totally absorbed in a book? The experience can be a thrilling one. You forget your surroundings, yourself. Your mind and heart are held captive by the words on the page which create images that incite your imagination and excite your emotions. You get lost in a different world, till someone or something jolts you back to reality, and you suddenly realize you have been under a spell.
Words work like magic in the hands of powerful writers and speakers. Sometimes it is the sound of a word that attracts us, but more often it is the way in which they are arranged to form a sentence. Great minds have the capacity of condensing grand ideas into a pithy phrase or a terse verse that takes a few moments to scan but hours to unravel.
Every now and then such sentences hit us between the eyes in our reading, so we pluck them out from a text and spend time pondering over them. These provide us ample food for thought. They nourish our mind, heart and soul. They influence our attitudes, our beliefs, our behaviour and our relationships.
In other words, a phrase may be powerful enough to challenge our convictions to the core, alter our perception of people and reality, impact our relationships, transform our life-style, convince us to repent and reconcile, encourage us to give and receive love, inspire us to be more generous and serviceable, strengthen our faith in God and in ourselves, and enthuse us to pray.
It is with the hope that words will work such wonders in your heart, mind and soul, that we present Capsules for Contemplation. This is not a random collection of quotes as found in most anthologies. It is a programmed approach to contemplation with two general themes: Personality- development and relationship enrichment. The one-liners have been carefully chosen and systematically arranged to facilitate self-analysis and other-centredness.
"Contemplation" is generally used in a spiritual sense. However, it also refers to an act of deep concentration, of considering or reflecting on or looking at something with full attention, steadily. You are here invited to 'contemplate' each saying so as to draw the maximum benefit from it.
A capsule is something ‘small and compact’; a gelatin shell enclosing medicine – that we take occasionally to improve our health. Each of the quotes in this book is only a single sentence. Many of the sayings, though, are ‘sentence sermons' – entire topics condensed, in a nutshell. Or to use a more relevant analogy, a whole, nourishing meal packed into a capsule. The quotes on ‘The Body’ bring out this reality more concretely, where several parts of our anatomy are referred to symbolically and offer inspiration for life.
The quotes have not been taken from any one source. They have been ‘plucked’ from books, magazines, newspapers, calendars, posters ... (the list is endless). I began the collection over twenty-five years ago, without the slightest idea then that one day they would be compiled and edited for publication.
When the quotes were computerized some years ago, the names of the authors (wherever available) were deleted inadvertently, since most of the texts were changed into ‘inclusive language’ or adapted. I am, however, deeply indebted and grateful to the hundreds of authors whose powerful ‘capsules’ serve as food-for-thought.
As may be expected, each quote lends
itself to different interpretations. Hence, the classifications in this book are
only tentative and broad-based. The ‘Index’ at the end provides useful
Of course, apart from personal contemplation, the quotes in this book, many of them off-beat, unusual, can be extensively used by writers, speakers, preachers and teachers.... to offer these capsules to others so as to enrich and inspire them.
P. S. A word of caution: the capsules
stored in this book
These are like vitamin tablets, which are to be taken one or two a day and allowed to dissolve in the heart and mind and gradually influence the health of a person in all types of circumstances in life. There is a topic index to help readers to find what "medicine" they need for any particular day, mood and circumstances. Of course, the book can be used not just for personal "contemplation" but as a source for teachers, for bulletin boards, for speakers... A useful collection of a broad range of human wisdom. Vidyajyoti, March 2001
The author is a seasoned collector of inspirational material... The book contains such 'capsules', over a thousand of them... These capsules do not have any known side effects and one need not fear an overdose. These are capsules that can be taken by patients as well as their doctors. Spiritual directors and counsellors, especially those who may be experiencing burnout, will find the book to be a great source to refurbish their stocks. It is recommended to all categories of readers. It is guaranteed that religious communities who use this book will improve the quality of their reactions, sorry, recreations. In Christo, July 2000
Words work like magic in the hands of powerful writers and speakers. Great minds have the capacity of condensing grand ideas into ‘capsules’ – a pithy phrase or a terse verse – that are easy to swallow and work wonders for the heart, mind and soul.
This book contains over a thousand such ‘capsules’ meant for contemplation, that is, steady attention leading to deep reflection. They are powerful enough to shake your convictions, alter your perception of people and reality, impact your relationships, transform your life-style, convince you to repent and reconcile, encourage you to give and receive love, inspire you to be more generous and serviceable, strengthen your faith in God and in yourself, and enthuse you to pray.
Take one capsule a day, preferably in the morning. Or take a couple any time you need strength to face a threatening situation or seek solace of mind and heart.
Writers, speakers, preachers and teachers,
may offer these capsules to others so as to enrich and inspire them.