The most fateful choices are made in tragic loneliness. In the valley of decision, we stand alone, accompanied by our haunting fears and our stubborn hopes, by dread despair or gritty faith. Yet, though we appear to stand solitary, in truth we are accompanied by the tall and brave spirits who have stood where we stand and who, when torn between “No” and “Yes” to life and its infinite possibilities; by those who have had the wisdom to focus not on what they had lost but on what they had left; by those who understood that fate is what life gives us and that destiny is what we do with what’s given; and by those who, therefore, grasped the liberating truth that while we have no control over our fate, we do have an astonishing amount of control over our destiny.

The human world represents a purgatorial-like range of opportunities and choices, from the most grim to the exalted, from criminality to nobility, from fear to courage, from despair to hope, and from greed to charity. This if the purpose of the human experience is to evolve, then this world is perfect just as it is.

God does not send us despair in order to kill us; he sends it in order to awaken us to a new life.

It is only in the depths of crisis and despair that the fear of losing one’s personality breeds millennial hopes of rescue: otherwise, complacency prevails.

Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.

No person can be religious alone, however rich may be the ecstasy or despair of his isolation. Authentic religion… is rather a relationship in which one person responds reverently to another person.

Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society.

Life, for all its agonies of despair and loss and guilt, is exciting and beautiful, amusing and artful and endearing, full of liking and love, at times a poem and a high adventure, at times noble and at times very gay; and whatever (if anything) is to come after it--we shall not have this life again.

The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness. But it does not matter much because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.

People who know they are terminally ill often seem to live more meaningfully. Though dying, they somehow are more alive. They cherish each morning and are vividly aware of each day’s passing. They see despair as a self-indulgent waste, and they have no time to waste.

Life wants to secure itself against the void that is raging within. The risk of eternal void is to be met by the premium of temporal insurance… social security, old age pensions, etc. It springs no less from metaphysical despair than from material misery.

Disappointment, defeat, despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.

The moment of near despair is quite often the moment that precedes courage rather than resignation. In a sense, with the back to the wall and no exit but death or acceptance, the options narrow to one.

Sins become more subtle as you grow older; you commit sins of despair rather than lust.

Dejection and despair lead to defeatism and defeat.

Wisdom is the tears of experience, the bridge of experience and imagination over time. It is the listening heart, the melancholy sigh, the distillation of despair to provide a realistic, if often despondent, view of the world.

Most of the crimes which disturb the internal peace of society are produced by the restraints which the necessary, but unequal, laws of property have imposed on the appetites of mankind, by confining to a few the possession of those objects that are coveted by many. Of all our passions and appetites, the love of power is of the most imperious and unsociable nature, since the pride of one man requires the submission of the multitude. In the tumult of civil discord, the laws of society lose their force, and their place is seldom supplied by those of humanity. The ardor of contention, the pride of victory, the despair of success, the memory of past injuries, and the fear of future dangers, all contribute to inflame the mind, and to silence the voice of pity. From such motives almost every page of history has been stained with civil blood.

Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for they despise them who despair of them; and none are worse than they when riches come to them.

Religion [cannot] maintain itself apart from thought, but either advances to the comprehension of the idea, or, compelled by thought itself, becomes intensive belief - or lastly, from despair of finding itself at home in thought, flees back from it in pious horror, and becomes superstition.

Rage is for little wrongs; despair is dumb.