Quotes by Herbert McCabe

The following quotes are by Herbert McCabe, English Dominican priest, theologian and philosopher

“Life in Christ…is a seeking into the meaning of human behaviour which involves a constant reaching out beyond the values of the world. Sin consists in ceasing to reach out, refusing to respond to the Father’s summons, and settling for this present world. What makes it possible for us to reach out, to hear and respond to the summons, is that through the resurrection of Christ the future world is already with us as a disruptive force disturbing the order of the world. We are able to some extent to live into the mode of communication that belongs to the future world, the mode we call (love) or the presence of the Spirit. Of course trying to live in the present world a life in accordance with the future is a dangerous business, as Jesus found out. The christian may expect to be crucified with him.”

“To say that Jesus rose from the dead is, among other things, to say that in spite of the fact that his love for us in obedience to his mission led to his death — or in fact because his love led to his death — he is still present to us, really present to us and loving us in his full bodily reality. It is not just that we remember him or imitate him, or that he lives on in a religious tradition. The good news is that he rose from the dead, that he went through real death to a new kind of bodily life with us. So that when we encounter someone who needs us, when we find the hungry and the imprisoned and the homeless, we can really say that here we encounter Christ, not in some metaphorical way, but literally.

He personally is with us. The difference between having faith in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus and not having such faith is, at one level, the difference between really discovering Jesus in the needy and oppressed, and simply thinking that it is a rather beautiful idea. It is the difference between really believing, like Abraham, that God asks the impossible of us, to find life through death, creation through destruction, that God makes the impossible possible for us, and not believing in God — thereby making him just some part of the machinery of our world.”

“We for the most part shy off being human because if we are really human (in Christ) we will be crucified.”


  1. my favorite quote of Herb McCabe’s, uttered after a long session at the Nag’s Head, was: “We’re all Irish in the sight of God.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.