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Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) received the 1907 Nobel Prize in Literature “in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author.” He is England’s greatest short-story writer.

Nationality: British

Education: Educated at the United Services College, Westward Ho, Bideford, North Devon, England

Occupation: Poet, novelist, and editor


1. “Non nobis Domine! –

Not unto us, O Lord! The Praise or Glory be Of any deed or word; For in Thy Judgment lies To crown or bring to nought All knowledge or device That Man has reached or wrought. O Power by Whom we live – Creator, Judge, and Friend, Upholdingly forgive Nor fail us at the end: But grant us well to see In all our piteous ways – Non nobis Domine! – Not unto us the Praise!”

(From ‘Non nobis Domine!’, 1934; see Kipling, as cited in T.S. Eliot 1963, 257).

2. “Father in Heaven who lovest all,

Oh, help Thy children when they call; That they may build from age to age An undefiled heritage. Teach us to look in all our ends On Thee for judge, and not our friends; That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed By fear or favour of the crowd. Teach us the Strength that cannot seek, By deed or thought, to hurt the weak; That, under Thee, we may possess Man’s strength to comfort man’s distress.”

(Kipling, as cited in T.S. Eliot 1963, 272; see also Kipling 1989, 575).

3. In his article “The Religion of Rudyard Kipling”, Jabez T. Sunderland wrote:

“I believe that Kipling has a religious message for our time. Some of his poems have been born out of his deepest soul, and go straight to the consciences and religious needs of many men. God speaks to the world through many voices. I believe one is that of Kipling.” (Sunderland 1899, 607-608).

4. “God of our fathers, known of old, Lord of our far-flung battle-line, Beneath whose awful Hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine – Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget – lest we forget!”

(From “Recessional”, 1897; see Kipling, as cited in Sunderland 1899, 606-609).

5. This is Kipling’s revelation of himself:

“I was made all things to all men, But now my course is done – And now is my reward – Ah, Christ, when I stand at Thy Throne With those I have drawn to the Lord, Restore me my self again!”

(From “At His Execution”, Limits and Renewals, 1932; see Kipling, as cited in Wilson 1978, 340).

6. This is Kipling’s notion of Heaven:

“And only the Master shall praise us, And only the Master shall blame; And no one shall work for money, And no one shall work for fame; But each for the joy of the working, And each, in his separate star, Shall draw the Thing as he sees It, For the God of Things as They Are!”

(From the poem “When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted”, 1892; see Kipling, as cited in Sunderland 1899, 612).

Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888–1965) won the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his outstanding pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.” His prestige is still apparent, most prominently in his selection by Time magazine as “the poet of the XXth century.”

Nationality: American; later British citizen

Education: M.A. in philosophy, Harvard University, 1910

Occupation: Poet, philosopher, playwright, literary critic; assistant in philosophy at Harvard (1909–10); editor, The Criterion (1922-1939); editor and director, Faber & Faber Ltd. (1925-1965)


1. “What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might be beneficial.” (Eliot 1988, The Idea of a Christian Society).

“To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion.” (Eliot 1988, The Idea of a Christian Society).

2. “I do not believe that the culture of Europe could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian Faith. And I am convinced of that, not merely because I am a Christian myself, but as a student of social biology. If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes.” (Eliot 1967, 200).

3. “The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief.” (Eliot, as cited in Draper 1992, No. 599).

4. In ‘The Rock’ (1934) Eliot challenges the so-called “advances” of our high-tech information age:

“The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our ignorance brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.” (Eliot 1934).

5. “Lord, shall we not bring these gifts to Your service?

Shall we not bring to Your service all our powers For life, for dignity, grace and order, And intellectual pleasures of the senses? The Lord who created must wish us to create And employ our creation again in His service Which is already His service in creating.”

(Eliot, as cited in Poetry and Belief in the Work of T.S. Eliot by K. Smidt, 1961, p. 55; see also Michael Caputo, God - Seen through the Eyes of the Greatest Minds, 2000, 116).

6. In The Idea of a Christian Society (1939) T. S. Eliot stated: “We must treat Christianity with a great deal more intellectual respect than is our wont; we must treat it as being for the individual a matter primarily of thought and not of feeling. The consequences of such an attitude are too serious to be acceptable to everybody: for when the Christian faith is not only felt, but thought, it has practical results which may be inconvenient.” (Eliot 1988, Ch. I, p. 6).

7. “The division between those who accept, and those who deny, Christian revelation I take to be the most profound division between human beings.” (Eliot, as cited in Yancey 1999, 88).

“Our times are corrupt, the whole of modern literature is corrupted by secularism.” (Eliot, as cited in Ozick 1989, 151).

8. “Why should men love the Church? Why should they love her laws?

She tells them of Life and Death, and of all they would forget.

She is tender where they would be hard, and hard where they like to be soft.” (Eliot 1934, The Rock).

9. This is the sad picture of the XXth century:

“Here were decent godless people:

Their only monument the asphalt road

And a thousand lost golf balls.” (Eliot 1934, The Rock).

10. “A society has ceased to be Christian when religious practices have been abandoned, when behaviour ceases to be regulated by reference to Christian principle, and when in effect prosperity in this world for the individual or for the group has become the sole conscious aim.” (Eliot 1988, Ch. I, pp. 9-10).

11. In Christianity and Culture (1948) T.S. Eliot stated: “The tendency of unlimited industrialism is to create bodies of men and women – of all classes – detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion: in other words, a mob. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined.” (Eliot 1988).

12. “Christ is the still point of the turning world.” (Eliot, as cited in Castle 2002, 219).

Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) was granted the 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature “principally for her powerful descriptions of Scandinavian life during the Middle Ages.” Undset donated the prize money to charity.

Nationality: Danish; later Norwegian citizen

Education: Schooling at Kalundborg (Denmark) and Christiania (now Oslo)

Occupation: Novelist and essayist


1. In her famous article “Catholic Propaganda” (February 28, 1927), Sigrid Undset wrote:

“There is no room in the Catholic Church for different concepts about the being of God or about the divine-human nature of Jesus Christ or about the motherhood of the Virgin Mary; because Christ himself is the way to God’s kingdom and because his death on the Cross is the secret which opens God’s kingdom to the descendants of Adam, his blood truly cleanses the sinner from all his sin, his body is truly the food which is the life of believers.” (Undset 1993, in Sigrid Undset: On Saints and Sinners. Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute. Deal W. Hudson – Editor. Volume 6, pp. 232-272. Ignatius Press).

2. In the same article Sigrid Undset wrote about Jesus Christ:

“ ‘He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to be the children of God.’ This is the Catholic faith, that an act of the will on the part of man is unconditionally necessary before he can be saved.

By his will, man turned from God; with his will he turns back to him. God pours out his saving grace for us because of love alone and not because in the least measure we have deserved or earned it; the Catholic Church teaches nothing else.” (Undset 1993).

3. In her article “Finding Faith” Undset said: “When people stubbornly hold on to the hope that it is impossible to find any absolute truth, it is because they fancy that life would lose its excitement, would have no freedom, if there really existed one truth – one alone in which all other truths are contained. In this world we can only attain one kind of freedom, that which our Lord spoke of when he said: ‘The truth shall make you free.’ ” (Undset 1999, Vol. 13).

4. “Fear and hope drive the soul forward; they teach it to watch and pray and thus gain a growing knowledge of God – and as a consequence more and more to lose its egoistic concern for itself and to become unselfish, with adoring love for God: this is the fruit which the soul may bring forth at last.” (Undset 1993).

5. “Floating in the infinite personality of God, the human personality rests, an infinitesimal speck in infinity just as the earth is a speck in the part of the universe which our knowledge can comprehend. The earth, men, atoms, become almost equally small when measured against infinity – and each person is as complex as a planet or an atom.” (Undset 1993).

6. “Christianity explains – in unity with other religions – that the invisible infinity is God. He has created all things visible and invisible out of himself and all rests in him. By a special act he has created man in his image – in Catholic theology that means, as white light is broken up by a prism, God’s uncompounded being is broken into human properties.” (Undset 1993).

7. “For Catholics, grace is a medicine which sinners may ever inhale and bathe in, that they might grow up rightly – become saints, be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect. Only when we are as good as God are we good enough.” (Undset 1993).

“However, there are probably only a few converts who are prepared to explain their own conversion, why their resistance to one who calls himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life, a resistance dictated by fear and mistrust, has been overcome. It does not happen without the cooperation of the mystical and supernatural power that theologians call grace.” (Undset 1999, Vol. 13).

8. “As is well known, no one can be received into the Church without basic instructions – it is not enough to have ‘everyone who wants to be saved, raise your hands’, as I have had the experience of hearing at a revival meeting. The Church does not receive capitulations who only join, after having been momentarily stirred either by intoxicating feelings or emotional worship services; she demands that the convert should know what she teaches and understand what she says. The convert has months, years if he will, to think things over before he takes the step.” (Undset 1993).

“We believe in complete seriousness that the peace of Christ cannot be advanced in the world unless we confess with Peter, literally and without interpretations: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!’, and therefore, accept all His words as the word of God.” (Undset 1993).

9. “There is a kind of modern, confused deism, more or less Christian sounding, colored by a kind of Jesus worship that is not worship of God but of a hero. It is prepared all too willingly to enter into company with whatever kind of altruistically colored materialism, without understanding that the Christian and materialistic ideals are incommensurate, even when outwardly they look exactly alike.” (Undset 1993).

10. “By degrees my knowledge of history convinced me that the only thoroughly sane people, of our civilization at least, seemed to be those queer men and women the Catholic Church calls Saints. They seemed to know the true explanation of man’s undying hunger for happiness – his tragically insufficient love of peace, justice, and goodwill to his fellow men, his everlasting fall from grace. Now it occurred to me that there might possibly be some truth in the original Christianity.

But if you desire to know the truth about anything, you always run the risk of finding it. And in a way we do not want to find the Truth – we prefer to seek and keep our illusions.

But I had ventured too near the abode of truth in my researches about ‘God’s friends,’ as the Saints are called in the Old Norse texts of Catholic times. So I had to submit. And on the first of November, 1924, I was received into the Catholic Church.” (Undset, as cited in Grenier 1999).

Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: Francois Mauriac (1885–1970) was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life.”

Nationality: French

Education: Licence es Lettres (M.A. in Literature), University of Bordeaux, France, 1905

Occupation: Novelist, playwright, poet, and journalist


1. Francois Mauriac wrote in his book Anguish and Joy of the Christian Life (1931):

“Today, in the evening of my life, I know the final answer. It is Jesus Christ alone who quiets the radical anguish that is in us – an anguish which is so consubstantial with the human condition that it is cruelly manifest from childhood to the grave. The torment of loneliness, the vacillating shadows of those we love as they leave us in the horrible mysteries of death, the secret and permanent thirst we have for the limitless gratification of our ego.

Our hearts remain full of unseen idols until we are stretched on the wood of the Cross with Christ, until we cease trying to nourish ourselves and our desires, and give ourselves completely to the poor, to the needy, to the suffering members of Christ’s body throughout the world.” (Mauriac 1964, Notre Dame).

2. “God does not give Himself totally except to the person who has annihilated all things, everything, whatever is in himself and in the world that stands in the way of divine love.” (Mauriac 1964, 43, Notre Dame).

3. “The God of the Christians does not wish simply to be loved. He wishes to be the sole object of our love. He will not allow us to turn aside a single sigh from Him; all other love is to Him nothing but a form of idolatry unless it is expressed in His name. It is this demand that seems utterly unreasonable. For it is impossible to love a creature without deifying it; yet we are also obliged to love everyone and everything. The creature thus becomes a necessity usurping the place of God: the heaven of His presence, the hell of His absence.” (Mauriac 1964, 26; Section 1 ‘Anguish’, Dimension Books).

4. “Impurity separates us from God. The spiritual life obeys laws as verifiable as those of the physical world. Purity is the condition for a higher love – for a possession superior to all possessions: that of God. Yes, this is what is at stake, and nothing less.” (Mauriac 1963, 51-52).

5. In his book Life of Jesus (1936), Mauriac claimed: “If there is one part of the Christian message that people have rejected with incomparable obstinacy, it is faith in the equal worth of all souls and races before the Father who is in Heaven.” (Mauriac 1978).

6. “The majority of Christians never get beyond the letter of the catechism. They have had no knowledge of God. It is a word which, for them, has never had any real content. They deny, yet do not deny. Christ has never been in their lives.” (Mauriac 1970).

7. “We are therefore wrong to think of the mystics as exceptional Christians. On the contrary, they are the only real Christians. They wear themselves out in the pursuit of God, as sensualists do in the pursuit of the flesh. They unceasingly desire to possess Him; to be possessed by Him, to love Him. Here love is understood to mean embracing God with the whole heart, of giving oneself to Him completely and searching to be possessed wholly by Him in return.” (Mauriac 1964, 26-27, Dimension Books).

8. In Holy Thursday: An Intimate Remembrance (1931) Mauriac described the ethical aspects of the Christian faith: “One must first hate one’s sin, a prerequisite which, in certain cases, is very difficult to achieve. Next, we must resolve never to sin again – and this is not only a matter of words but an inner determination of which God is the only judge. Last, the fear of punishment does not suffice if it is not inspired by love of God. No one can be forgiven without a beginning of love.” (Mauriac 1999, Ch. 5).

Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: Sir Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) received the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”

Nationality: Indian

Education: Privately educated in England and India (Bengali Academy)

Occupation: Poet, novelist, playwright, song composer and painter; founder of the Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan, West Bengal (1924)


1. “In one salutation to Thee, my God, let all my senses spread out and touch this world at Thy feet.

Like a rain-cloud of July hung low with its burden of unshed showers let all my mind bend down at Thy door in one salutation to Thee.

Let all my songs gather together their diverse strains into a single current and flow to a sea of silence in one salutation to Thee.

Like a flock of homesick cranes flying night and day back to their mountain nests let all my life take its voyage to its eternal home in one salutation to Thee.” (Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali (Song Offerings), New York and London: The Macmillan Company, 1913).

2. “This is my prayer to Thee, my Lord – strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.

Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.

Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.

Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.

And give me the strength to surrender my strength to Thy will with love.” (Tagore 1913, Gitanjali).

3. “Day after day, O Lord of my life, shall I stand before Thee face to face. With folded hands, O Lord of all worlds, shall I stand before Thee face to face.

Under Thy great sky in solitude and silence, with humble heart shall I stand before Thee face to face.

In this laborious world of Thine, tumultuous with toil and with struggle, among hurrying crowds shall I stand before Thee face to face.

And when my work shall be done in this world, O King of kings, alone and speechless shall I stand before Thee face to face.” (Tagore 1913).

4. “Our love of God is accurately careful of its responsibilities. It is austere in its probity and it must have intellect for its ally. Since what it deals with is immense in value, it has to be cautious about the purity of its coins. Therefore, when our soul cries for the gift of immortality, its first prayer is, ‘Lead me from the unreal to truth.’ ” (Tagore, as cited in Chakravarty 1961, 281).

5. “Accept me, dear God, accept me for this while. Let those orphaned days that passed without You be forgotten.

Do not turn away Your face from my heart’s dark secrets, but burn them till they are alight with Your fire.” (From Tagore’s prayer “Accept Me”, as cited in Vetter 1997, 1).

“The self-expression of God is in the endless variety of creation; and our attitude toward the Infinite Being must also in its expression have a variety of individuality ceaseless and unending. Those sects which jealously build their boundaries with too rigid creeds excluding all spontaneous movement of the living spirit may hoard their theology but they kill religion.” (Tagore, as cited in Chakravarty 1961, 286).

6. “The rain has held back for days and days, my God, in my arid heart. The horizon is fiercely naked – not the thinnest cover of a soft cloud, not the vaguest hint of a distant cool shower.

Send Thy angry storm, dark with death, if it is Thy wish, and with lashes of lightning startle the sky from end to end.

But call back, my Lord, call back this pervading silent heat, still and keen and cruel, burning the heart with dire despair.

Let the cloud of grace bend low from above like the tearful look of the mother on the day of the father’s wrath.” (Tagore 1913).

“Time is endless in Thy hands, my Lord. There is none to count Thy minutes. Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers. Thou knowest how to wait.” (Tagore 1913).