I love G.K. Chesterton, if for no other reason than his ability to offer a sentence that is worthy of a lifetime. This is one of my favorites:
Every one on this earth should believe, amid whatever madness or moral failure, that his life and temperament have some object on the earth. Every one on the earth should believe that he has something to give to the world which cannot otherwise be given.
Which reminds me of witty Chesterton-esque quote I heard last summer in a Sunday homily in Omaha:
God wastes nothing. No one is a complete failure. At the very least you can serve as a bad example.
Which reminds of of the time that I was sternly warning my children to not go near the edge of a concrete pond and, after I myself suddenly slipped into the pond, my six year old daughter said without missing a beat,
Thanks for the demo, Dad.
Which reminds me — speaking of the divine hap in human mishaps — of the marvelous Pope Benedict quote (a tautology) that I could read time and again with profit:
We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.
And at last all of this leads me to pray again with Blessed Newman:
We are all created to God’s glory—we are created to do His will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name.
God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his—if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.
Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me—still He knows what He is about.
O Lord, O Ruler of Israel, Thou that guidest Joseph like a flock, O Emmanuel, O Wisdom, I give myself to Thee. I trust Thee wholly. Thou art wiser than I—more loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfill Thy high purposes in me whatever they be—work in and through me. I am born to serve Thee, to be Thine, to be Thy instrument. Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to see—I ask not to know—I ask simply to be used.