I’ve seen this quotation in Â a few places, and it blows me away. Â I have not yet read the book that it’s from, and it’ll probably be a while before I do; a bookÂ called Irony of American History doesn’t sound like the kind of reading one can easily shoehorn between all the little tasks that make up the life of a working mom. Â But this passage … well, it’s beautiful, and arresting. It also strikes me as being profundly true.
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; there we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; there we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”
– Reinhold Niebuhr,Â Irony of American History.