998) Wisdom from Malcolm Muggeridge (a)

Malcolm Muggeridge  (1903-1990), British journalist, joined the Roman Catholic Church in the 1970’s after doing a story on Mother Teresa and being inspired by her faith and life.


“Supposing you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be!  I would almost rather eliminate happiness.  The world would be the most ghastly place because everything that corrects the tendency of this unspeakable little creature, man, to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear.  He’s bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered.”

“Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained.”

“As an old man…looking back on one’s life, it’s one of the things that strikes you most forcibly– that the only thing that’s taught one anything is suffering.  Not success, not happiness, not anything like that.  The only thing that really teaches one what life’s about is suffering, affliction.”

Romans 5:3-4  —  …We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.


“I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die.  For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus.”

Matthew 16:24-26  —   Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?


“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”

“How do I know pornography depraves and corrupts?  It depraves and corrupts me.”

Philippians 4:8  —  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


“The only ultimate disaster that can befall us is to feel ourselves at home on this earth.”

Hebrews 11:13  —  All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Near the end of his life:  “Like a prisoner awaiting his release, like a schoolboy when the end of term is near, like a migrant bird ready to fly south, I long to be gone.”


“In the end, coming to faith remains for all a sense of homecoming, of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that had long been ringing, of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant.”

Luke 15:17-20  —  From the parable of the Prodigal Son.  (Jesus said), “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’  So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”


God, stay with me, let no word cross my lips that is not your word, no thoughts enter my mind that are not your thoughts, no deed ever be done or entertained by me that is not your deed.

–Malcolm Muggeridge