Trite Sayings Can Speak Truth

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I recently saw the following quote:

Every saint has a past.

Every sinner has a future.

Sayings like this one can sound trite. Or, they can speak truth. Erudite aspirations push us toward seeing them as commonplace or pedestrian. However, what if I took it at its face value?

Straight Forward

Some things are what they say they are. Using quotes to sound smart or well-read is disingenuous. If I quote from Thoreau, then I am not being honest because I have not read Walden. But, there are authors who I do read and enjoy. I can quote them and be honest.

Some quotes say something even if the person sharing the quote has an ulterior motive — like sounding smart. When I saw the quote above, it was on my Twitter feed from @Inspire_Us. To be honest, I was happy to see it instead of a political tweet.

Before I scrolled past the quote, I thought about it. Yes, saints have been somewhere. Few were born saintly. For sinners, the ending is not yet written. We can turn things around and live a saintly life. Maybe the Catholic Church will not deify us, but the quote speaks to the journey of life.

Life as a Journey

If we sinners can have a future, then there is hope. Continue praying, reading the Bible, and engaging in a devotional life. Those things that serve to encourage us along the path are good. It is helpful to remember that before St. Augustine articulated aspects of the Christian faith, he was living out The Confessions. Kierkegaard is a brilliant theologian and philosopher, but he was also the man people mocked around Copenhagen.

Life is a journey. Each step makes us who we are. We cannot skip the parts we do not like or ignore the aspects of our lives that make us wish we were different.


A quick internet search yielded Oscar Wilde as the source of the quote above. I do not know where he said it or if he, in fact, is the source. But, that’s sort of the point. I did not find the quote while reading Oscar Wilde and think to myself, “People need to hear this!”

While doing something mundane (scrolling through Twitter), I saw it, and the words spoke to me. I thought, “Even trite sayings can speak truth.” That is what we all need to hear.

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