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Do you conceive of your Lord as less because? He shows that humiliation is the best road to exaltation (cf. Mt. 23:12); because He humbles Himself for the sake of the soul that is bent down to the ground, that He may even exalt within Himself that which is bent double under a weight of sin?... If so, you must blame the physician for stooping over suffering and putting up with evil smells in order to give health to the sick?
Gregory of Nazianzus
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He was beautiful, that was always affirmed, but his beauty was hard to fix or to see, for he was always glimmering, flickering, melting, mixing, he was the shape of a shapeless flame, he was the eddying thread of needle-shapes in the shapeless mass of the waterfall. He was the invisible wind that hurried the clouds in billows and ribbons. You could see a bare tree on the skyline bent by the wind, holding up twisted branches and bent twigs, and suddenly its formless form would resolve itself into that of the trickster.
A. S. Byatt
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I refer to the misunderstanding of Soviet Russia as an aggressive power, militaristically and ideologically bent upon world domination 'seeing', to quote a recent speech of the British Prime Minister, 'the rest of the world as its rightful fiefdom.' How any rational person, viewing objectively the history of the last thirty-five years, could entertain this 'international misunderstanding' challenges, if it does not defeat, comprehension. The notion has no basis in fact... If Russia is bent on world conquest, she has been remarkably slothful and remarkably unsuccessful.
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When I fight off a disease bent on my cellular destruction, when I marvelously distribute energy and collect waste with astonishing alacrity even in my most seemingly fatigued moments, when I slip on ice and gyrate crazily but do not fall, when I unconsciously counter-steer my way into a sharp bicycle turn, taking advantage of physics I do not understand using a technique I am not even aware of using, when I somehow catch the dropped oranges before I know I've dropped them, when my wounds heal in my ignorance, I realize how much bigger I am than I think I am. And how much more important, nine times out of ten, those lower-level processes are to my overall well-being than the higher-level ones that tend to be the ones getting me bent out of shape or making me feel disappointed or proud.
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A hundred years or more, she's bent her crown in storm, in sun, in moonsplashed midnight breeze. surviving all the random vagaries of this harsh world. A dense - twigged veil drifts down from crown along her trunk - mourning slow wood that rustles tattered, in a hint of wind this January dusk, cloudy, purpling the ground with sudden shadows. How she broods - you speculate - on dark surprise and loss, alone these many years, despondent, bent, her bolt-cracked mate transformed to splinters, moss. Though not alone, you feel the sadness of a twilight breeze. There's never enough love; the widow nods to you. Her branches moan.
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It is a difficult question, my friends, for any young man- that question I had to grapple with, and which thousands are weighing at the present moment in these uprising times- whether to follow uncritically the track he finds himself in, without considering his aptness for it, or to consider what his aptness or bent may be, and re-shape his course accordingly. I tried to do the latter, and I failed. But I don't admit that my failure proved my view to be a wrong one, or that my success would have made it a right one; though that's how we appraise such attempts nowadays-I mean, not by their essential soundness, but by their accidental outcomes. If I had ended by becoming like one of these gentlemen in red and black that we saw dropping in here by now, everybody would have said: 'See how wise that young man was, to follow the bent of his nature!' But having ended no better than I began they say: 'See what a fool that fellow was in following a freak of his fancy!
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