Leo Tolstoy
· The Circle of Reading
Translated by Dmitry Fadeyev

January 3

“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work,” said Christ. This work of his belongs to every one of us. We cannot know the whole of the work that God does through us, but we cannot not know what our part in it should be.


Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

— Matthew 7:21


If you lack the strength to burn and spread the light, then at least do not cover it.


The one who knows the rules of common sense is lower than the one who loves them. The one who loves them is lower than the one who applies them.

— Chinese proverb


The chief question of our lives is simply this: in this short span of life we are given, are we doing that which the one who sent us into life wants from us?

Are we doing it?


I feel burdened, I ask for God’s help. But, after all, it is I who should be serving God, and not God who should be serving me. All it takes is to remember this, and the burden is lightened.


There is no abyss between heaven and earth, and it would be blasphemy to think that the abode which God gave us must remain forever at the mercy of evil, selfishness and oppression. The earth is not a place for atonement, it is our dwelling place, in which we must labor for the attainment of truth and justice, for which every human being’s soul yearns.

— Mazzini


Human work must be done honorably and thoroughly, because we are now Men; whether we ever expect to be angels, or were ever slugs, being practically no matter.

— John Ruskin

Imagine that the purpose of life is your happiness, and life will be cruel nonsense. Acknowledge what your human wisdom, your reason and your heart tell you: that life is a service to the one who sent you into this world, and life becomes a constant joy.