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Quotes of the day: Madeleine L'Engle

Published Friday, November 28, 2014 @ 10:00 PM EST
Nov 28 2014

Madeleine L'Engle (November 29, 1918 - September 6, 2007) was an American writer best known for young adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels: A Wind in the Door, National Book Award-winning A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time. Her works reflect both her Christian faith and her strong interest in modern science. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A comprehensible God is no more than an idol.

A great piece of literature does not try to coerce you to believe it or agree with it. A great piece of literature simply is.

A life lived in chaos is an impossibility...

Alike and Equal are not the same.

An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers. To define everything is to annihilate much that gives us laughter and joy.

Children respond to heroes by thinking creatively and sometimes in breaking beyond the bounds of the impossible in their turn, and so becoming heroes themselves.

Every cell in the body has its own specific job, in interdependence with every other cell. The only cells which insist on being independent and autonomous are cancer cells.

Fantasy contains truths which cannot be stated in terms of proof.

Here we are living in a world of 'identity crises,' and most of us have no idea what an identity is.

How do we teach a child- our own, or those in a classroom- to have compassion: to allow people to be different; to understand that like is not equal; to experiment; to laugh; to love; to accept the fact that the most important questions a human being can ask do not have- or need- answers.

I cannot believe that God wants punishment to go on interminably any more than does a loving parent. The entire purpose of loving punishment is to teach, and it lasts only as long as is needed for the lesson. And the lesson is always love.

I read a book of Einstein's, in which he said that anyone who's not lost in rapturous awe at the power and glory of the mind behind the universe is as good as a burnt-out candle. And I thought, 'Oh, I've found my theologian, what a wonderful thing.'

I wish that we worried more about asking the right questions instead of being so hung up on finding answers.

I wish we'd stop finding answers for everything. One of the reasons my generation has mucked up the world to such an extent is our loss of the sense of the mysterious.

If I have something I want to say that is too difficult for adults to swallow, then I will write it in a book for children.

If our usual response to an annoying situation is a curse, we're likely to meet emergencies with a curse.

In one way or another, we are all unfaithful to each other, and physical unfaithfulness is not the worst kind there is.

It has often struck me with awe that some of the most deeply religious people I know have been, on the surface, atheists.

Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist.

Love can't be pinned down by a definition, and it certainly can't be proved, anymore than anything else important in life can be proved.

Maybe you have to know darkness before you can appreciate the light.

Nothing important is completely explicable.

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not understand it, and cannot extinguish it...

The naked intellect is an extraordinarily inaccurate instrument.

The problem of pain, of war and the horror of war, of poverty and disease is always confronting us. But a God who allows no pain, no grief, also allows no choice. There is little unfairness in a colony of ants, but also there is little freedom.

The rational intellect doesn't have a great deal to do with love, and it doesn't have a great deal to do with art.

The shadows are deepening all around us. Now is the time when we must begin to see our world and ourselves in a different way.

The uncommon man has done the impossible and there has been that much more light in the world because of it.

There's more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate.

Truth is eternal, knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them.

We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes…

We do have to use our minds as far as they will take us, yet acknowledging that they cannot take us all the way.

We do live, all of us, on many different levels, and for most artists the world of imagination is more real than the world of the kitchen sink.

We do not go around and discard the intellect, but we must go through and beyond it.

What can we give a child when there is nothing left? All we have, I think, is the truth, the truth that will set him free, not limited, provable truth, but the open, growing, evolving truth that is not afraid.

When a child who has been conceived in love is born to a man and a woman, the joy of that birth sings throughout the universe.

When a promise is broken, the promise still remains.

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.

You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.

Categories: Madeleine L'Engle, Quotes of the day


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