This comes from Kazantzakis’s account of Jesus’ life and death, and I was astonished by the prayer he puts in Christ’s mind as he braces for the coming crucifixion.  What an original and touching test of endurance: the capacity to undergo indescribable suffering and yet keep a tender flower unharmed.

‘May God give me strength, he prayed within his heart, may God give me strength to hold this tender flower between my teeth all through the great throes of crucifixion and not bite into it!’

See also our bestellar celebration of this magnificent book, complete with a mosaic of illustrated quotes and metaphors.


Source: Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation, trans. P.A. Bien (London: Faber and Faber, 1983), p. 430

Photo credit: Heidelbergerin at


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