29+ quotes from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Quotes from Gilead

Marilynne Robinson ·  282 pages

Rating: (62.7K votes)


“This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“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.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“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.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable - which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, intraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“I've developed a great reputation for wisdom by ordering more books than I ever had time to read, and reading more books, by far, than I learned anything useful from, except, of course, that some very tedious gentlemen have written books.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“I wish I could leave you certain of the images in my mind, because they are so beautiful that I hate to think they will be extinguished when I am. Well, but again, this life has its own mortal loveliness. And memory is not strictly mortal in its nature, either. It is a strange thing, after all, to be able to return to a moment, when it can hardly be said to have any reality at all, even in its passing. A moment is such a slight thing. I mean, that its abiding is a most gracious reprieve.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“It's not a man's working hours that is important, it is how he spends his leisure time.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“There are two occasions when the sacred beauty of Creation becomes dazzlingly apparent, and they occur together. One is when we feel our mortal insufficiency to the world, and the other is when we feel the world's mortal insufficiency to us.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“Grace has a grand laughter in it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“It seems to me people tend to forget that we are to love our enemies, not to satisfy some standard of righteousness but because God their Father loves them.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“A man can know his father, or his son, and there might still be nothing between them but loyalty and love and mutual incomprehension.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“Nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“The moon looks wonderful in this warm evening light, just as a candle flame looks beautiful in the light of morning. Light within light...It seems to me to be a metaphor for the human soul, the singular light within that great general light of existence.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“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.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“People talk about how wonderful the world seems to children, and that's true enough. But children think they will grow into it and understand it, and I know very well that I will not, and would not if I had a dozen lives.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“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.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“... but it's your existence I love you for, mainly. Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“Rejoice with those who rejoice." I have found that difficult too often. I was much better at weeping with those who weep.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“It is an amazing thing to watch people laugh, the way it sort of takes them over. Sometimes they really do struggle with it . . . so I wonder what it is and where it comes from, and I wonder what it expends out of your system, so that you have to do it till you're done, like crying in a way, I suppose, except that laughter is much more easily spent.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“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.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance - for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light .... 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? .... Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave - that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“Well, but you two are dancing around in your iridescent little downpour, whooping and stomping as sane people ought to do when they encounter a thing so miraculous as water.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“And often enough, when we think we are protecting ourselves, we are struggling against our rescuer.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


“It is a good thing to know what it is to be poor, and a better thing if you can do it in company.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Gilead


About the author

Marilynne Robinson
Born place: in Sandpoint, Idaho, The United States
Born date November 26, 1943
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