Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer (January 14, 1875- September 4, 1965) was born into an Alsatian family which
for generations had been devoted to religion, music, and education.  His father and maternal
grandfather were ministers; both of his grandfathers were talented organists.  Having decided
to go to Africa as a medical missionary rather than as a pastor, Schweitzer in 1905 began the
study of medicine at the University of Strasbourg.  In 1913, having obtained his M.D. degree,
he founded his hospital at Lambaréné in French Equatorial Africa, but in 1917 he and his wife
were sent to a French internment camp as prisoners of war.
Read more about Albert here.

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A great secret of success is to go through life as a person who never gets used up.

      
It is not enough merely to exist.  It's not enough to say, "I'm earning enough to support my family.  I do my work well. I'm a good father, husband, mother, wife, churchgoer."  That's all very well.  But you must do something more.  Seek always to do some good, somewhere.  Every person has to seek in his or her own way to realize his or her true worth.  You must give some time to your fellow human beings.  For remember, you don't live in a world all your own.  Your brothers and sisters are here, too.
  
   
Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them.
  
Those who thank God much are the truly wealthy.  So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, whatever the experience. Your life is something opaque, not transparent, as long as you look at it in an ordinary human way. But if you hold it up against the light of God's goodness, it shines and turns transparent, radiant and bright. And then you ask yourself in amazement:  Is this really my own life I see before me?
   

Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of the way, but must accept his or her lot calmly, even if they roll a few stones upon it.


Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to humankind.

 

One can do only what one can do.  But if someone does that each day
he or she can sleep at night and do it again the next day.

  

  
Constant kindness can accomplish much.  As the sun
makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding,
mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.

  

  Everything deep is also simple and can be reproduced
simply as long as its reference to the whole truth is maintained.
But what matters is not what is witty but what is true.

 

I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing
I know: the only ones among you who will be really
happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

 

  

One truth stands firm.  All that happens in world history
rests on something spiritual.  If the spiritual is strong,
it creates world history.  If it is weak, it suffers world history.

 

One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles
possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.

   
 
The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes
better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities,
it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover
their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.
 

Wherever you turn you can find someone who needs you.

 

We cannot possibly let ourselves get frozen into
regarding everyone we do not know as an absolute stranger.

 
One is truly ethical only when one obeys the compulsion
to help all life which he or she is able to assist,
and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.
 

Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part
of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live
my life for itself, but always in the experience
which is going on around me.

 

Great values are lost at every moment because we miss
opportunities, but the values that are turned into will
and action constitute a richness that must not be undervalued.
Our humanity is by no means as materialistic as people claim so complacently.

 

    

I want to be a simple human being, doing something
small in the spirit of Jesus . . . .  "What you have
done to the least of these my brethren you have
done to me."  Just as the wind is driven to spend
its force in the big empty spaces so must the people who
know the laws of the spirit go where we are most needed.

    

It was quite incomprehensible to me--this was before I began going
to school--why in my evening prayers I should pray for human beings only.
So when my mother had prayed with me and had kissed me goodnight,
I used to add silently a prayer that I had composed myself for
all living creatures.  It ran thus:  "O, heavenly Father, protect
and bless all things that have breath; guard them from all evil,
and let them sleep in peace."

 

When in the spring the withered gray of the pastures
gives place to green, this is due to the millions
of young shoots which sprout up freshly from the old roots.
In like manner the revival of thought which is essential
for our time can only come through a transformation
of the opinions and ideals of the many brought about
by individual and universal reflection about
the meaning of life and of the world.

  
 

Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which people cease
to live unreflectively and begin to devote themselves to
their lives with reverence in order to raise them to their
true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward,
and to exalt the will-to-live.

   

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