Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The sixth cardinal virtue: Courage

Author: Paulo Coelho

According to the dictionary: from the Latin cor: heart; firmness of spirit, energy before danger; intrepidness; cheerfulness; bravery; perseverance.

For Jesus Christ: You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its savor, what shall it be salted with? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown away and trodden under the foot of men. You are the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it gives light to all that are in the house. (Matthew 5:13-15)

In the heat of the fight: Yesterday I had the courage to fight. Today I shall have the courage to win. (Bernadette Devlin, Catholic political activist in Northern Ireland)

In a speech: These great masses will have turned their backs on the grave insult to human dignity which described some as masters and others as servants, and transformed each into a predator whose survival depended on the destruction of the other. Thus shall we live, because we will have created a society which recognises that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance. Such a society should never allow again that there should be prisoners of conscience nor that any person’s human rights should be violated. (Nelson Mandela, who for 28 years was a prisoner of conscience, on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, 10/12/1993)

In the face of absolute evil:
Two rabbis are doing all they can to bring spiritual comfort to the Jews in Nazi Germany. Though in mortal fear of their lives, they nevertheless manage to fool the Gestapo – Hitler’s fearsome police – and perform religious ceremonies in various communities.
They are finally discovered and imprisoned. One of the rabbis, terrified at the thought of what might happen next, spends all his time praying. The other rabbi, however, spends the whole day sleeping.
‘How can you do that?’ asks the first rabbi in alarm. ‘Aren’t you afraid? Don’t you know what might happen to us?’
‘Until we were imprisoned, I was scared to death, but now that I’m here in this cell, what’s the point of being afraid of something that has already happened.
‘The time for fear is past; now the time for hope has begun.’

According to a wise man: Courage is shown in acts, not in words; it is not bluffing, arrogance, or madness. A courageous man is the one who dares to do what he finds is right, and bears the consequences of his acts – whether they are political, social or individual.

A man can obey others for two reasons: for fear of being punished, or for love. Obedience that comes from love of others is a thousand times stronger than fear of punishment. (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948)

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