HomePoetryWhat Tears Mean

What Tears Mean

Every once in a while a great writer describes an experience that you know is universal and is nearly beyond words.  This short reading by Frederick Buechner is one of those times.  It reaches a deep place where wisdom dwells.  (Click here to watch it on YouTube.)  H/T to Jon Sweeney.

Jim Manney
Jim Manneyhttps://www.jimmanneybooks.com/
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. This. Morning I awoke to a sensation of being held and surrounded by God and I began crying….could not stop for a long g moment. This happens quite often, though this morning it was particularly intense. I sat and prayed for a lo g time and I was so happy.

  2. This reading was beautifully presented.
    Thank you Jean- you have validated my experience of the God who comes when we least expect ( especially during the liturgy of the Eucharist). I remain in awe at the mystery of it all.

    • This was what led me to convert many years ago. As an Anglican I felt drawn to the Catholic faith, put off exploring it, then finally gave in, attended a mass. I sat at the very back, last seat next to the door (just in case any popish statue slobbering commenced). I went up to receive (in ignorance) and no one questioned my being there. The experience left no doubt in my mind that I was trapped and would have to convert, because there was no going back. Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist, just as He’d promised in scripture. My husband and teenaged children converted as well. Coincidentally, the mass I attended just happened to be the feast of Pentecost.

  3. I’ve heard it said that people cry at weddings and laugh at funerals (presumably in an effort to avoid crying?) I often find myself, unpredictably, welling up during Mass. I never know what will set it off, but it is always linked to a feeling of love, acceptance, gratitude and of being exactly where I should be, with more good things to come. I’ve come to the conclusion it is God telling me “I’m here, you’re mine.”

  4. Beautiful passage and so timely for me as I just read a comment on the People for Others blog that had me welling up with unexpected tears. Lots of serendipity today that tells me God is trying to get my attention – thanks for the gentle nudge!


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