“The reign of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field . . .” (Matthew 13:44).

“So long as he is in this world, man is like a sick person lying upon a bed more or less uncomfortable, who sees around him other beds nicely made, to outward appearance smooth and level, and fancies that they must be more comfortable resting places. He succeeds in making an exchange; but scarcely is he placed in another, before He begins, as he presses it down, to feel in one place a sharp point pricking him, in another a hard lump; in short, we all come to almost the same story over and over again. And for this reason, we ought to aim at doing well rather than being well.”

These words were written by an eighteenth-century Italian novelist named Alessandro Manzoni. They are taken from a book in which Manzoni explores the social conditions of the people of Lombardy in the seventeenth century. Manzoni’s terse, insightful…

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