Quotes — Suffering (78 entries)

A Personal Equation Between the Cross and Us

There is a personal equation between that Cross and us. Life with its rebellions, its injustices, its sins, all played a role in the Cruxifixion. We can no more wash our hands of our guilt than Pilate could wash his as he held them up under a noonday sun and declared himself innocent.

It was not so much the Cruxifixion that hurt and wounded, it was not Annas, it was not Caiphas, it was not the exectioners, for “they knew not what they did”; it was not his enemies who caused his greatest sorrow: “If my enemies had done this, I could have borne it.” It was us who grieved him most, for we know what we do—we have tasted his sweetmeats; we have broken Bread with him; we are his familiars. That is our sorrow—that he who came to heal the broken hearts had his own Heart broken by us.

But mourning is not despair. If we have crucified Christ, there is pardon: “Father, forgive them”; if we have pierced Mary’s heart, there is pardon still: “Son, behold your mother”; if there are tears in our eyes, they shall be wiped away: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, The Cross and the Beatitudes: Lessons on Love and Forgiveness

« πλ | 9 Apr 2004 »

All these worries…

When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.

— Winston Churchill [via]

« πλ | 24 Jun 2006 »

Anger is…

Anger is a secondary emotion. It masks something else underneath.

— Author unknown

So pray to God to shed light and wisdom on the real problem…

« πλ | 16 Jul 2004 »

Be Anyway…

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
…Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
…Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
…Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
…Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
…Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
…Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
…Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
…Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

— Mother Teresa [via]

« πλ | 9 Feb 2004 »

Boredom comes not from…

Boredom comes not from reality but from people who are only half alive.

— Thomas Dubay, from Prayer Primer

« πλ | 14 Jan 2005 »

Born only of your own pain…

There are insights that can be born only of your own pain, and they are the most precious. Seek [within] the undiscovered part of yourself. (emphasis added)

— Janusz Korczak

« πλ | 9 Aug 2005 »

Breath of God…

All life is a breath exhaled by God.
All dying is a breath inhaled by God.

— Hermann Hesse [via]

« πλ | 23 Aug 2004 »

Building Intimacy…

If you try to build intimacy with a person before you’ve done the hard work of getting whole on your own, all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself, and they will fall flat.

— Les & Leslie Parrot

In other words, if you are not a “whole” person, you will use others to fill in your “holes”.

« πλ | 14 Feb 2004 »

Cannot be polished without friction…

The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man perfected without trials.

— Confucius

« πλ | 15 Sep 2004 »

Cried every kind of tear…

When you’ve cried every kind of tear there is, you’ve lived.

— Crystal Richardson

« πλ | 19 Oct 2004 »

Depression might have chosen you…

Depression might have chosen you, but you don’t have to choose it back. Sometimes happiness comes with bootstraps, but so what? Pull ‘em up. Choose joy.

Marianne Williamson [via]

« πλ | 31 Mar 2005 »

Despair is the first step…

Despair is often the first step on the path of spiritual life, and many people do not awaken to the Reality of God and the experience of transformation in their lives until they go through the experience of emptiness, delusion and despair.

— Fr. Bede Griffiths

« πλ | 11 Feb 2004 »

Discouragement is not…

Discouragement is not from God.

— St. Ignatius [via]

« πλ | 9 Jan 2004 »

Enough Suffering

If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
we would find in each person’s life
sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I would add that this why we should carry an attitude of mercy about us.

« πλ | 27 Jan 2004 »

Game of musical chairs…

I feel like there was this giant game of musical chairs, the music stopped, and everyone sat down except for me.

Joshua Claybourn

« πλ | 8 Aug 2004 »

God is awake…

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

— Victor Hugo [via]

« πλ | 16 Jan 2004 »

God shouts…

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. Pain is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

— C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

« πλ | 15 Jul 2004 »

Grief is…

Grief is only the memory of widowed affections.

— James Martineau

« πλ | 29 Dec 2005 »

He did not say…

He did not say: You will not be assailed, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted, but he did said: You will not be overcome.

— Julian of Norwich

« πλ | 28 Dec 2005 »

History is not to be…

History is not to be whitewashed “by a screening out of the importance of suffering.”

— Johann Baptist Metz

« πλ | 18 Aug 2006 »

Holiness does not consist of…

Holiness does not consist of doing extraordinary things. It consists of accepting with a smile, what Jesus sends us. It consists in accepting and following the will of God.

— Mother Teresa (thanks Maggie)

« πλ | 27 Jan 2004 »

If God seems slow in responding…

If God seems slow in responding, it is because He is preparing a better gift. He will not deny us. God withholds what you are not yet ready for. He wants you to have a lively desire for His greatest gifts. All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart.

— St. Augustine (thanks Alexa)

« πλ | 23 Mar 2005 »

If it were not for the Cross…

I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the one Nietzsche ridiculed as “God on the Cross.” In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us.

— John Stott

« πλ | 25 Mar 2005 »

If suffering alone taught…

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

« πλ | 5 Sep 2006 »

If you are pained by external things…

If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.

— Marcus Aurelius

« πλ | 28 Sep 2006 »

It’s okay…

It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me. I know. I know the pain, the aching, the deep, dark desire. The apprehension and fear. The doubt and wondering. I know. I see it in you, like I’ve seen it in me. You feel alone, but you’re not. You don’t think you’ll ever survive, but you will. I know. You don’t have to tell me. It’s okay.

— Christine Castro [via]

« πλ | 15 Oct 2006 »

Jesus did not come to…

Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or to remove it. He came to fill it with his presence.

— Paul Claudel

« πλ | 20 Jun 2006 »

Keep your eyes to the…

Keep your eyes to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.

— Helen Keller [via]

« πλ | 8 Dec 2005 »

Kindness cannot tolerate…

Kindness—mere kindness—cannot tolerate suffering. Love can.

— Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

« πλ | 21 Jan 2006 »

Letting our heart break we discover…

It is only through letting our heart break that we discover something unexpected: the heart cannot actually break, it can only break open. When we feel both our love for this world and the pain of this world—together, at the same time—the heart breaks out of its shell. To live with an open heart is to experience life full-strength.

— John Welwood

« πλ | 6 Dec 2004 »

Life: A Cup of Sorrows and a Cup of Joy

Your cup of sorrows and your cup of joys are mixed into one cup, the cup of your life. It is a cup of blessings. You are asked to drink it. Drink it to the bottom as Jesus drank his.

— Inspired by Henri Nouwen’s book, Can You Drink the Cup?

« πλ | 19 Jun 2004 »


Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last. Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. God can transform it for the good of others. Above all, do something for somebody else!

— Elisabeth Elliot

« πλ | 3 Jun 2004 »

Loneliness or Solitude, Pain or Glory

Language…has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.

— Paul Tillich, The Eternal Now

« πλ | 11 Aug 2004 »

Meaning and Matter

How you approach the problem of suffering depends on how you approach life itself. There are only two ways. Either meaning is surrounded by matter, or matter is surrounded by meaning.

— Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

« πλ | 11 Jan 2006 »

Misery and joy have the same shape…

Misery and joy have the same shape in this world: you may call the rose an open heart or a broken heart.

— Dard [via]

« πλ | 23 Oct 2006 »

More company increases happiness…

More company increases happiness, but does not lighten or diminish misery.

— Thomas Traherne

« πλ | 25 Jan 2005 »

Most Painful State…

The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you can never have.

— Søren Kierkegaard

« πλ | 13 May 2004 »

None of these things…

Whether you are blamed, or mocked at, or regarded as a hypocrite, or treated as a prude, none of these things should be capable of robbing yourself of your peace of soul.

— St. John Vianney (thanks TSO)

« πλ | 6 Aug 2004 »

One of the symptoms of…

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.

— Bertrand Russel [via]

« πλ | 15 Dec 2004 »

Our greatest glory is not…

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson [via]

« πλ | 26 Apr 2005 »

Pain removes the veil…

[Pain] removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.

— C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

« πλ | 19 Feb 2005 »

Perfect Happiness…

Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite.

— Primo Levi (thanks Kellen)

« πλ | 14 Apr 2003 »

Poverty comes not from God’s laws…

Men pray to the Almighty to relieve poverty. But poverty comes not from God’s laws—it is blasphemy of the worst kind to say that. Poverty comes from man’s injustice to his fellow man.

— Leo Tolstoy

« πλ | 13 Feb 2005 »

Prayer is a surge of the heart…

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.

— St. Thérèse of Lisieux

« πλ | 30 Oct 2003 »


It takes both sunshine and rain to make a rainbow.

— Author unknown

« πλ | 10 Apr 2003 »

Sometimes it takes darkness…

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

— David Whyte [via]

« πλ | 17 Feb 2005 »

Stepping stone…

Each trial in our life, no matter how happy, sad, painful, or hard it may seem, is a stepping stone in our life. We must use these stepping stones one at a time to lead us to our final destination, HOME.

— Libby Saumur

« πλ | 15 Jul 2005 »

Striving and struggle precede…

Always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary.

— Sarah Ban Breathnach

« πλ | 16 Sep 2005 »

Suffering is not blessed because…

Suffering is not blessed because it is suffering but because it is [Christ’s]. Suffering is not the context that explains the cross; the cross is the context that explains suffering.

— Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

« πλ | 24 Jan 2006 »

Suffering is…

Suffering is wishing things were other than they are.

— Buddha [via]

« πλ | 12 Jan 2004 »

That love of self…

That love of self, which the world advocates, is a thousand times more dangerous than any poison.

— Fénelon, Let Go

« πλ | 6 Sep 2004 »

The Part You Don’t Like…

Everyone has a part of themselves that they don’t like. You carry it around like a weight. The lucky ones realize that when it becomes too heavy, you can choose to set it down. That is when you can see things the way they really are.

— God says to Joan, Joan of Arcadia, episode “A Night Without Stars”

« πλ | 13 Feb 2004 »

The birds of sadness…

You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair.

— Chinese proverb [via]

« πλ | 4 Oct 2006 »

The hammers of life beating on our hearts…

Henceforth, when we feel the hammers of life beating on our heads or on our hearts, we can know—we must know—that he is here with us, taking our blows. Every tear we shed becomes his tear. He may not yet wipe them away, but he makes them his. Would we rather have our own dry eyes, or his tear-filled ones? He came. He is here. That is the salient fact. If he does not heal all our broken bones and loves and lives now, he comes into them and is broken, like bread, and we are nourished. And he shows us that we can henceforth use our very brokenness as nourishment for those we love. Since we are his body, we too are the bread that is broken for others. Our very failures help heal other lives; our very tears help wipe away tears; our being hated helps those we love. When those we love hang up on us, he keeps the lines open.

— Peter Kreeft, from “Shared Hells”

« πλ | 30 Mar 2005 »

The meaning and value of suffering…

Christ transforms the meaning and value of suffering from something to be feared or at best endured into something redemptive [and transformative].

— Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You

« πλ | 3 Apr 2006 »

The miracle of a sunrise…

We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.

— Author unknown [via]

« πλ | 7 Dec 2005 »

The more you try to avoid suffering…

The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.

— Thomas Merton

« πλ | 12 Feb 2004 »

The one thing that causes unhappiness…

If you look carefully you will see that there is one thing and only one thing that causes unhappiness. The name of that thing is attachment. What is an attachment? An emotional state of clinging caused by the belief that without some particular thing or some person you cannot be happy.

— Anthony de Mello

« πλ | 30 Jun 2005 »

The prickly thorn produces…

Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses.

— Ovid

« πλ | 30 Aug 2006 »

To love at all is to be vulnerable…

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung, possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping your heart , you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it up carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all personal entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

— C.S. Lewis [via]

« πλ | 16 Apr 2005 »

To love means to open ourselves to…

To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive—to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before.

— Rollo May

« πλ | 22 Aug 2004 »

Tribulations cannot cease…

Tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.

— C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

« πλ | 20 Feb 2005 »

True love is willing to suffer…

True love, unlike popular sentimental substitutes, is willing to suffer. Love is not “luv.” Love is the cross. Our problem at first, the sheer problem of suffering, was a cross without Christ. We must never fall into the opposite and equal trap of a Christ without a cross.

— Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

« πλ | 25 Jan 2006 »

Upgrade My Attachments…

Detachment means upgrading my ‘attachments’ to ‘preferences’.

— Jennifer Rice [via]

« πλ | 12 Jan 2004 »

We are cups…

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

— Ray Bradbury [via]

« πλ | 11 Nov 2005 »

We are wondering how painful…

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

— C.S. Lewis [via]

« πλ | 4 Apr 2005 »

We could never learn to be…

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

— Helen Keller

« πλ | 20 Nov 2005 »

We think we shall be satisfied…

If we are suffering illness, poverty, or misfortune, we think we shall be satisfied on the day it ceases. But there too, we know it is false; so soon as one has got used to not suffering one wants something else.

— Simone Weil

« πλ | 21 Aug 2006 »

We too are the bread that is…

Since we are [Christ’s] body, we too are the bread that is broken for others. Our failures help heal other lives; our very tears help wipe away tears; our being hated helps those we love.

— Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

« πλ | 23 Jan 2006 »

We who run in the way of Love…

We who run in the way of Love must never torment ourselves about anything. If I did not suffer minute by minute, it would be impossible for me to be patient; but I see only the present moment, I forget the past, and take good care not to anticipate the future. If we grow disheartened, if sometimes we despair, it is because we have been dwelling on the past or the future.

— St. Thérèse [via]

« πλ | 27 Dec 2004 »

When one door of happiness closes…

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

— Helen Keller (thanks Libby)

« πλ | 12 Oct 2004 »

When we look at our world…

When we look at our world, its pain and suffering, and then at ourselves and our inability to do anything about it, we can become overwhelmed by our own helplessness and powerlessness. A good question then to ask ourselves is, ‘Who do you think you are?’ Our feelings of helplessness arise because we assume that we are the ones who should be able to effect lasting change; and we are leaving God out. But our Christian faith is faith in a God who, in Jesus, has entered into human suffering, human sinfulness, human death, and is risen again. God’s love has triumphed over evil and can transform it into good. The only thing we can change is ourselves, and the only thing in ourselves that we can change is our way of perceiving reality.

— Gerard Hughes, What is your God like?

« πλ | 12 Nov 2006 »

When you are sorrowful…

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

— Kahlil Gibran [via]

« πλ | 19 Jun 2006 »

When you’re down to nothing…

When you’re down to nothing, God’s up to something.

— Author unknown [via]

« πλ | 30 May 2005 »

Why do you hasten…

Why do you hasten to remove anything which hurts your eye, while if something affects your soul, you postpone the cure until next year?

— Horace

« πλ | 6 Jul 2004 »

Windstorms of life…

To love means never to be afraid of the windstorms of life: should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.

— Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

« πλ | 26 Jan 2005 »

Without suffering…

It’s like growing lotus flowers. You cannot grow lotus flowers on marble. You have to grow them on the mud. Without mud you cannot have lotus flowers. Without suffering, you have no way to learn how to be understanding and compassionate.

— Thich Nhat Hanh [via]

« πλ | 8 May 2006 »


Worry doesn’t solve the problems of tomorrow, but it robs you of your strength today.

— Author unknown

« πλ | 26 Jun 2003 »