Mary Doria Russell

A Quote by Mary Doria Russell on god and belief

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“Do you think so, John?  Was it your God?” he asked with terrifying gentleness.  “You see, that is my dilemma.  Because if I was led by God to love God, step by step, as it seemed, if I accept the beauty and the rapture were real and true, then the rest of it was God’s will too, and that, gentlemen, is cause for bitterness.  But if I am simply a deluded ape who took a lot of old folktales far too seriously, then I brought all of this on myself and my companions and the whole business becomes farcical, doesn’t it.  The problem with atheism, I find, under these circumstances,” he continued with academic exactitude, each word etched on the air with acid, “is that I have no one to despise but myself.  If, however, I choose to believe God is vicious, then at least I have the solace of hating God.”

Mary Doria Russell

Source: The Sparrow, Pages: 394

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Mary Doria Russell on grace and wisdom

    Sandoz turned and accepted the book, looking at the spine.  "Aeschylus?"
    Wordlessly, Guiuliani pointed out the passage, and Emilio studied it a while, slowly translating the Greek in his mind.  Finally, he said, " ' In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, againstour will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.' "

Mary Doria Russell

Source: The Sparrow, Pages: 404

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Mary Doria Russell on always, forever, vows, and change

    ..."we all make vows, Jimmy.  And there is something very beautiful and touching and noble about wanting good impulses to be permanent and true forever," she said.  "Most of us stand up and vow to love, honor and cherish someone.  And we truly mean it, at the time.  But two or twelve or twenty years down the road, the lawyers are negotiating the property settlement."
    "You and George didn't go back on your promises."
    She laughed.  "Lemme tell ya something, sweetface.  I have been married at least four times, to four different men."  She watched him chew that over for a moment before continuing, "They've all been named George Edwards but, believe me, the man who is waiting for me down the hall is a whole lot different animal from the boy I married, back before there was dirt.  Oh, there are continuities.  He has always been fun and he has never been able to budget his time properly and - well, the rest is none of your business."
    "But people change," he said quietly.
    "Precisely.  People change.  Cultures change.  Empires rise and fall.  Shit.  Geology changes!  Every ten years or so, George and I have faced the fact that we have changed and we've had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people."  She flopped back against her chair.  "Which is why vows are such a tricky business.  Because nothing stays the same forever.  Okay.  Okay!  I'm figuring something out now."  She sat up straight, eyes focused somewhere outside the room, and Jimmy realized that even Anne didn't have all the answers and that was either the most comforting thing he'd learned in a long time or the most discouraging.  "Maybe because so few of us would be able to give up something so fundamental for something so abstract, we protect ourselves from the nobility of a priest's vows by jeering at him when he can't live up to them, always and forever."  She shivered and slumped suddenly, "But, Jimmy!  What unnatural words.  Always and forever!  Those aren't human words, Jim.  Not even stones are always and forever."

Mary Doria Russell

Source: The Sparrow, Pages: 156..157

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Mary Doria Russell on celibacy, priesthood, and vows

It would not have suprised Emilio Sandoz that his sex life was discussed with such candor and affectionate concern by his friends.  The single craziest thing about being a priest, he'd found, was that celibacy was simultaneously the most private and most public aspect of his life.

Mary Doria Russell

Source: The Sparrow, Pages: 159

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Mary Doria Russell on purpose

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Giulani walked to the doorway and hesitated before taking a step into the room.  Most men were simple.  They were looking for security, or power, or a feeling of usefulness or of certainty or competence.  A cause to fight for, a problem to solve, a place to fit in.  There were many possibilities but once you grasped what a man was looking for, you had the beginnings of an understanding.  At a loss, he studied the exotic face, half hidden by dark hair and bed linens, and whispered, “So what, in the name of Jesus, is he?”  It was a question he’d pondered, one way or another, off and on, for sixty years.  He didn’t expect an answer, but he got one.

            “A soul,” said Edward Behr, “looking for God.”

            Vincenzo Giulani stared at the fat little man standing in the hallway and then at Sandoz, sleeping drugged against an assault on his own body, and wondered, What if that’s been it, all along?”

Mary Doria Russell

Source: The Sparrow, Pages: 170

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Mary Doria Russell on tragedy, belief, and comedy

“I think,” the Father General said, “that I could be of more help to you if I knew whether you see all this as comedy or tragedy.”

            Emilio did not answer right away.  So much, he was thinking, for keeping silent about what can’t be changed.  So much for Latino pride.  He felt sometimes like the seedhead of a dandelion, flying apart, blown to pieces in a puff of air.  The humiliation was almost beyond bearing.  He thought, and hoped sometimes, that it would kill him, that his heart would actually stop.  Maybe this is part of the joke, he thought bleakly.  He turned away from the windows to gaze across the room at the elderly man watching him quietly from the far end of the beautiful old table.

            “If I knew that,” Emilio Sandoz said, coming as close as he could to the center of his soul and to the admission that shamed him, “I don’t suppose I’d need the help.”

Mary Doria Russell

Source: The Sparrow, Pages: 238

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Mary Doria Russell on god, inspiration, belief, faith, burning bush, proof, and evidence

Once, long ago, she'd allowed herself to think seriously about what human beings would do, confronted directly with a sign of God's presence in their lives.  The Bible, that repository of Western wisdom, was instructive either as myth or as history, she'd decided.  God was at Sinai and within weeks, people were dancing in front of a golden calf.  God walked in Jerusalem and days later, folks nailed Him up and then went back to work.  Faced with the Divine, people took refuge in the banal, as though answering a cosmic multiple-choice question:  If you saw a burning bush, would you (a) call 911, (b) get the hot dogs, or (c) recognize God?  A vanishingly small number of people would recognize God, Anne had decided years before, and most of them had simply missed a dose of Thorazine.

Mary Doria Russell

Source: The Sparrow, Pages: 100

Contributed by: HeyOK

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