Top Ten Favorite Quotes from John Milton’s Paradise Lost

March 18, 2008

In 1667 John Milton published the epic poem Paradise Lost. It stands alongside other pillars of literature such as the Iliad and the Divine Comedy and even seeks to surpass them all in prose, rhyme and subject. Rather than attempting to explain the merely human aspects of hubris or conversion, Milton addresses the chief source of our fallen nature and seeks to justify the ways of God to man. (PL 1:26) Although this book is primarily read by students in classical literature courses, its influence is as deep as that of Shakespeare.

Great writers and poets such as William Blake, Samuel Coleridge, John Keats, and Lord Tennyson all drew inspiration from his work. In Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, the epigraph is taken from a passage of Paradise Lost describing the relationship between maker and creator. Even Philip Pullman, the self-proclaimed atheist and author of the trilogy His Dark Materials draws heavily from Milton’s work. The title of this trilogy can be found twice in Paradise Lost (PL 2:916, 6:478) as well as the title for the first book, The Golden Compass. (PL 7:225) The premise of Pullman’s trilogy is what might have happened had Satan been triumphant.

Lest you be bothered by a Pullman endorsement, Milton’s image of angels and devils was the basis for Christian novels such as Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti as well as characters in That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. Lewis also wrote a lengthy work called A Preface to Paradise Lost in which he defends Milton’s portrayal of spiritual beings. While there are easily a 100 favorite quotes from Paradise Lost, these are my top 10 in line order.



The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.


The great war of the angels has been settled and Satan and the other demons have been cast into hell. Satan is lamenting his loss and beginning to realize that he will be in hell for a very long time. At this point in the narrative Satan is still licking his wounds and not seriously considering revenge. Instead, he is deciding how to make the best of the situation. It is a few lines later when he utters the famous phrase “Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav’n.” (PL 1:263)


Satan’s existential view of damnation does little to comfort him when faced with the reality of Hell. Just as the chosen people were never able to shake the myth of happiness in Egypt, so Satan can never forget the true happiness he experienced in paradise. Even as he plots to corrupt creation he wrestles with the impossible dream of returning to heaven. He must feed his own hate with lies to make his loss more bearable. In the end the very thought of happiness becomes a source of pain for him. In the garden he states, “the more I see / Pleasures about me, so much more I feel / Torment within me…”. (PL 9:119-121) Like many people who have fallen away from the Church, the problem is not so much one of issues, but one of pride and the fear of atonement. Sometimes the only way to justify this separation is by making the accusation that the Church is not all it claims to be. As if we can devalue the truth with our minds and somehow escape the reality. Satan discovers that hell will always be hell.



…who overcomes

By force, hath overcome but half his foe.


The self-pity of Satan doesn’t last long and revenge is soon on his mind. Before his revolt Satan had thought that it was old repute and custom (639-640) that gave God his throne and he learned too late that while God’s regal state was fully revealed, his strength was concealed. Having been self-deceived in his pride, Satan announces these lines and suggests that God too is deceiving Himself if He believes war and punishment is the final solution.


Fitting lines for our times. As a country we struggle with the realization that defeating a nation’s leaders or a nation’s army does not guarantee victory over its people. In the John Mayer song Belief he writes: belief is a beautiful armor/ but makes for the heaviest sword. If there is to be any real change in people it has to stem from the heart. This is the same concept that the Jews missed when they chose Barrabas, whose message was one of revenge and insurrection, over Jesus whose message was one of love, sacrifice, and conversion. It is also the reason that in times of extreme Christian persecution, the faith has flourished instead of faded.

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The Life of Our Lord and Saviour

March 18, 2008

“The Life of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ”

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Fine Art Print 
“The Apostle’s creed speaks of Jesus’ descent “into hell.” This descent not only took place in and after His death, but accompanies him along his entire journey. He must recapitulate the whole of history from it’s beginnings — from Adam on; He must go through, suffer through, the whole of it, in order to transform it. The letter to the Hebrews is particularly eloquent in stressing that Jesus’ mission, the solidarity with all of us he manifested beforehand in His baptism, includes exposure to the risks and perils of human existence: “Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted” (Heb 2:17-18). “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15). The story of the temptations is thus intimately connected with the story of the baptism, for it is there that Jesus enters into solidarity with sinners. . .In his short account of the temptations, Mark brings into relief the parallels between Adam and Jesus, stressing how Jesus “suffers through” the quintessential human drama. Jesus, we read, “was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.” The desert — the opposite image of the garden — becomes the place of reconciliation and healing.”
– from “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict XVI
Are you looking for spiritual reading ideas for the Easter Season?
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Thoughts on the Gospel
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Meditations on Living the Resurrection
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Meditations on the Names of Christ
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Catholic Doctrine on the Interior Life of Christ
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In the Mysteries of the Rosary
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Pope Benedict XVI’s “Apostolic Journey to the United States” begins next month! The theme of his visit is “Christ Our Hope.”
In honor of the visit, we have created a Pope Benedict XVI specialty store. To browse the items in our Pope Benedict XVI specialty store, please click here.
 The Catholic Cafeteria is Closed T-shirt

Why Did the Word Become Flesh?

“With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”:

Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?

The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 456 – 485


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The Resurrection of Christ: a faith approach

“The resurrection of Christ is like a mountain peak that acts as a watershed; in one direction it faces toward history and leads to history; in the other, it faces toward faith and leads to faith. Let us now come down in the opposite direction from the one in whcih we came; let us follow the crest of faith. By passing from history to faith, our way of talking about the resurrection changes too; our tone, our language. We do not adduce proofs and confirmations; there is no need for them, for the voice of the Holy Spirit creates conviction directly within the heart. It is an assertive, apodictic language. ‘But now Christ has been raised from the dead’ (1 Corinthians 15:20), says St. Paul. Now we are on the plane of faith, no longer on that of demonstration. It is the kerygma: ‘Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere’ runs the liturgy for Easter Day: ‘We know that Christ has really risen.’ This too is the language of faith. Not only do we believe but, having believed, we know that it is so, we are sure of it. We are talking about a certainty different in nature from the historical kind, yet stronger since founded on God. Only the unbeliever or the agnostic can regard this as an arrogant claim of people who believe themselves to be in possession of truth and refuse all further discussion. In fact, it is the language of those who are totally submitted, as a result of practicing what St. Paul calls ‘the obedience of faith. (Romans 1:5)”
– from “The Mystery of Easter” by Fr. Raneiro Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., Preacher to the Papal Household.
First Holy Communion season is almost here!
 To browse our complete selection of First Holy Communion resources and gift ideas, visit the Aquinas and More  First Holy Communion Specialty Store
To read our recently posted article about First Holy Communion traditions and practices, please click here
A rosary is always a beautiful and thoughtful gift of faith. To browse our complete selection of rosaries and chaplets, please  click here
To browse our Catholic art selection, including Florentine plaques, icons, pictures and prints, please click here

A Prayer for Easter:

O Jesus! Who art the beginning and end of all things, life and virtue, remember that for our sakes Thou wast plunged into an abyss of suffering, from the soles of They feet to the crown of Thy head. In consideration of the enormity of Thy wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Thy commandments, which are a wide and easy path for those who love Thee. Amen.
– from the Magnificent Prayers of St. Bridget of Sweden
We hope your Easter season is an especially blessed and faith-filled one.
 – the staff at Aquinas and More Catholic Goods

Spiritual Reading and Gift-giving Ideas for the Easter Season

March 15, 2008

“He is not here. He is risen . . .”


St. Mary Magdalene Announces the Resurrection Icon
 “. . .  And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, (the women) came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre. And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were astonished in their mind at this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining apparel. And as they were afraid, and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said unto them: Why seek you the living with the dead?He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke unto you, when he was in Galilee, Saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words. And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. And it was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were with them, who told these things to the apostles.”

– The Holy Gospel According to St. Luke, 24: 1-10

Are you looking for spiritual reading ideas for the Easter Season?
To browse the complete selection of books in our Lent and Easter department, please click here

The King, Crucified and Risen: Meditations on the Passion and Glory of Christ
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History and Traditions of Holy Week
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Thoughts on the Meaning of the Paschal Mystery
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Life Out of Death: A Thought a Day for the Easter Season
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A Critical Examination of the Facts of the Resurrection
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The Divine Mercy novena begins on Good Friday, March 21, the nine days concluding on Divine Mercy Sunday, March 30. We carry a large selection of Divine Mercy resources, gift items and devotional items. To browse the complete selection in our Divine Mercy specialty store, please click here
 Chaplet of the Divine Mercy DVD

 The Meaning and Saving Significance of the Resurrection

“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised.

Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life. The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he.” The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly “I AM”, the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: “What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'” Christ’s Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God’s Son, and is its fulfillment in accordance with God’s eternal plan.

The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.” We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.

Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep… For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment . In Christ, Christians “have tasted…the powers of the age to come”and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

 – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 651 – 655

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The Hope of Easter

“The Cross had asked the questions; the Resurrection had answered them…The Cross had asked: “Why does God permit evil and sin to nail justice to a tree?” The Resurrection answered: “That sin, having done its worst, might exhaust itself and thus be overcome by Love that is stronger than either sin or death.”

Thus there emerges the Easter lesson that the power of evil and the chaos of any one moment can be defied and conquered, for the basis of our hope is not in any construct of human power but in the power of God, who has given the evil of this earth its one mortal wound – an open tomb, a gaping sepulcher, an empty grave.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen

 – from  Lent and Easter Wisdom from Fulton J. Sheen

First Holy Communion season is approaching quickly.
 To browse our complete selection of First Holy Communion resources and gift ideas, visit the Aquinas and More  First Holy Communion Specialty Store
To read our recently posted article about First Holy Communion traditions and practices, please click here
This Lenten season, why not deepen your prayer life by praying the Rosary or praying it more often? To browse our complete selection of rosaries and chaplets, please  click here
To browse our Catholic art selection, including icons, pictures and prints, please click here

A Novena Prayer for Easter:

“O Divine Saviour, who rose from the dead on that first glorious Easter morn, grant that I may rise from my sins and so live as to see You, glorious and immortal, in heaven. Lord, I am nothing, but, although nothing, I adore You. Amen.”

We hope your Easter season is an especially blessed and faith-filled one.
 – the staff at Aquinas and More Catholic Goods
Shop online at for all your parish’s church supply needs –  including clergy shirts, vestments, altar linens, censers and boats, incense, candles, chalices, sanctuary lamps, altar breads, official liturgical books, lavabo sets, altar bells, and so much more!
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Its not too late to order, act soon!
An assortment of beautiful Paschal candles and
Easter Vigil candles for your parish is available now at Catholic Church Supply.

How Not to be a Good Vendor – Part III

March 13, 2008

1) Tell us we haven’t been paying our bills for two years.
2) When asked to send the invoices in question, never do.
3) When given payment information proving payment, do nothing with it for months.
4) When phone calls are made asking for some sort of assistance in getting the matter cleared up, don’t return calls for two weeks.
5) When sent payment information again, don’t do anything with it for a couple more weeks.
6) When repeated messages are left asking for some kind of update, don’t reply until you are finally caught in the office.
7) When you say you will get back to us in an hour, never call back.
8 ) When we call back several days later after not getting an update, tell us that because we are a credit risk, we now have to prepay all orders.
9) When you finally send us the invoices we requested five months earlier and it turns out that the issue is a joint error – the vendor hadn’t recorded more than half the amount due and we were missing some invoices, tell us that it doesn’t matter and we have to prepay all orders.

Anybody know a good supplier of audio talks?

Your Car Needs A Catholic Car Decal

March 12, 2008

Divine Mercy Car DecalProud to be Catholic? Let others know with our new Catholic car decals. These stylish stickers can be applied to your car windows and show off your devotion to the Rosary, the Miraculous Medal, St. Therese and the Divine Mercy, among others. We also have “RC”, “IHS”, and “JMJ” stickers similar to those old European country decals.

Make your vehicle a tool of evangelization and get your car decal today!

A Most Unconventional Catholic Store

March 12, 2008

I’m sure you’ve been wondering: ‘Where on earth can I get my Hell’s Angels leather jacket repaired and find a nice rosary, too?”

Read the rest.

H/T New Advent

Chinese Poison Train Declared Unstoppable: Next Stop, You!

March 11, 2008

Anything for lower prices. Anything.

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