Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.

— Marilynne Robinson

The most mouth-watering Marilynne Robinson quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

The Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply.

Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?

45

We experience pain and difficulty as failure instead of saying, I will pass through this, everyone I have ever admired has passed through this, music has come out of it, literature has come out of it. We should think of our humanity as a privilege.

41

Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday.

It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.

37

I want to overhear passionate arguments about what we are and what we are doing and what we ought to do. I want to feel that art is an utterance made in good faith by one human being to another. I want to believe there are geniuses scheming to astonish the rest of us, just for the pleasure of it.

34

Every sorrow suggests a thousand songs and every song recalls a thousand sorrows and so they are infinite in number and all the same.

24

There is more beauty than our eyes can bear, precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm.

19

To think that only faultless people are worthwhile seems like an incredible exclusion of almost everything of deep value in the human saga. Sometimes I can't believe the narrowness that has been attributed to God in terms of what he would approve and disapprove.

19

It was a source of both terror and comfort to me then that I often seemed invisible - incompletely and minimally existent, in fact. It seemed to me that I made no impact on the world, and that in exchange I was privileged to watch it unawares.

17

Ordinary things have always seemed numinous to me

14

I was read to as a small child, I read on my own as soon as I could, and I recall being more or less overwhelmed again and again - if not by what the books actually said, by what they suggested, what they helped me to imagine.

12

Then there is the matter of my mother's abandonment of me.

Again, this is the common experience. They walk ahead of us, and walk too fast, and forget us, they are so lost in thoughts of their own, and soon or late they disappear. The only mystery is that we expect it to be otherwise.

11

There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, everyone of them sufficient

10

About Marilynne Robinson

Quotes 187 sayings
Profession Novelist
Birthday October 16

She knew that was not an honest prayer, and she did not linger over it.

The right prayer would have been, Lord . . . I am miserable and bitter at heart, and old fears are rising up in me so that everything I do makes everything worse.

10

Science can give us knowledge, but it cannot give us wisdom.

Nor can religion, until it puts aside nonsense and distraction and becomes itself again.

10

A man can know his father, or his son, and there might still be nothing between them but loyalty and love and mutual incomprehension.

8

It's not a man's working hours that is important, it is how he spends his leisure time.

7

My politics, and my religion as well, are based entirely on the loveliness and value of ordinary human lives. The creaky apparatus called politics shelters or oppresses or threatens these lives, and is therefore of interest.

7

And often enough, when we think we are protecting ourselves, we are struggling against our rescuer.

7

If you had to summarize the Old Testament, the summary would be: stop doing this to yourselves.

7

A narrow pond would form in the orchard, water clear as air covering grass and black leaves and fallen branches, all around it black leaves and drenched grass and fallen branches, and on it, slight as an image in an eye, sky, clouds, trees, our hovering faces and our cold hands.

6

I owe everything that I have done to the fact that I am very much at ease being alone.

6

Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars the mutable, and finally has come to look and not to buy.

5

You never know when you might be seeing someone for the last time.

5

He [Christ] even restored the severed ear of the soldier who came to arrest Him - a fact that allows us to hope the resurrection will reflect a considerable attention to detail.

5

Generosity is also an act of freedom, a casting off of the constraints of prudence and self-interest.

5

These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you're making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice.

5

Families will not be broken. Curse and expel them, send their children wandering, drown them in floods and fires, and old women will make songs of all these sorrows and sit on the porch and sing them on mild evenings.

4

I want to feel that art is an utterance made in good faith by one human being to another.

4

And there is no living creature, though the whims of eons had put its eyes on boggling stalks and clamped it in a carapace, diminished it to a pinpoint and given it a taste for mud and stuck it down a well or hid it under a stone, but that creature will live on if it can.

3

Christianity is a life, not a doctrine .

. . I'm not saying never doubt or question. The Lord gave you a mind so that you would make honest use of it. I'm saying you must be sure that the doubts and questions are your own.

3

Rejoice with those who rejoice." I have found that difficult too often. I was much better at weeping with those who weep.

3

That is to say, I pray for you. And there's an intimacy in it. That's the truth.

3

That is how life goes--we send our children into the wilderness.

Some of them on the day they are born, it seems, for all the help we can give them. Some of them seem to be a kind of wilderness unto themselves. But there must be angels there, too, and springs of water. Even that wilderness, the very habitation of jackals, is the Lord's.

3

Weary or bitter of bewildered as we may be, God is faithful.

He lets us wander so we will know what it means to come home.

3

I don't know exactly what covetous is, but in my experience it is not so much desiring someone else's virtue or happiness as rejecting it, taking offense at the beauty of it.

3

--"There is no justice in love...it is only the glimpse or parable of an incomprehensible reality... the eternal breaking in on the the temporal.

3

... but it's your existence I love you for, mainly. Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined.

3

I sometimes am discouraged by what seems to be a sort of conventional disparagement of humankind. I think often people feel that they are doing something moral when they are doing that, but that's not how I understand morality. I much prefer the "everyone is sacred, and everybody errs" model of reality.

3

Any human face is a claim on you, because you can't help but understand the singularity of it, the courage and loneliness of it. But this is truest of the face of an infant. I consider that to be one kind of vision, as mystical as any.

3

The attention of the congregation is a major part of the attention that the pastor gives to his or her utterance. It's very exceptional. I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy a good sermon. People who are completely nonreligious know a good sermon when they hear one.

3

The twinkling of an eye. That is the most wonderful expression. I've thought from time to time it was the best thing in life, that little incandescence you see in people when the charm of a thing strikes them, or the humor of it. 'The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart.' That's a fact.

3

It's a difficult thing to describe theology, what it means and how it disciplines thinking. Certainly, theology is the level at which the highest inquiry into meaning and ethics and beauty coincides with the largest-scale imagination of the nature of reality itself.

3

I'm amazed at what I have taken for granted.

How to truly take in our situation I don't know, but I wish I had started asking myself that question earlier than I did.

3

Never, ever condescend to the reader.

Assume you are writing for someone better and smarter than you are. This will protect you from conventionalism, faddishness, and cliché.

2

I don't think I would worry about an oversaturation of information if it was indeed information. It is the slovenly, hasty traffic in cliché and sensationalism and bad reasoning that bothers me. I love finding arcane primary texts on the web. The people who think to put them up are heroes of mine.

2

Characters more or less present themselves to me.

I don't know their origins. I think if I did, if I seemed to myself to fabricate them, I could not induce suspension of disbelief in myself in the way writing fiction requires.

2

He will wipe the tears from all faces.

' It takes nothing from the loveliness of the verse to say that is exactly what will be required

1

You see how it is godlike to love the being of someone.

Your existence is a delight to us. I hope you never have to long for a child as I did, but oh, what a splendid thing it has been that you came finally, and what a blessing to enjoy you now for almost seven years.

1

When things are taking their ordinary course, it is hard to remember what matters.

1
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