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Thomas Merton Quotes
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Thomas Merton Quote: “How free you can become if you stop worrying about things that don’t concern you!”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Peace cannot be built on exclusivism, absolutism, and intolerance. But neither can it be built on vague liberal slogans and pious programs gestated in the smoke of confabulation. There can be no peace on earth without the kind of inner change that brings man back to his “right mind.” p. 31.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “We love the things we pretend to laugh at.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “I don’t even need to know precisely what I am doing, except that I am acting for the love of God.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The “spiritual life” is then the perfectly balanced life in which the body with its passions and instincts, the mind with its reasoning and its obedience to principle and the spirit with its passive illumination by the Light and Love of God form one complete man who is in God and with God and from God and for God. One man in whom God is all in all. One man in whom God carries out His own will without obstacle.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “But the pride of those who live as if they believed they were better than anyone else is rooted in a secret failure to believe in their own goodness.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “This, then, is our desert: to live facing despair, but not to consent. To trample it down under hope in the Cross. To wage war against despair unceasingly.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “And they were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within, and from the habitual union of their souls with God in deep faith and charity.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “I can only become perfectly free by serving the will of God.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “I must become convinced and penetrated by the realization that without my love for them they may perhaps not achieve the things God has willed for them. My.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “To be truly Catholic is not merely to be correct according to an abstractly universal standard of truth, but also and above all to be able to enter into the problems and the joys of all, to understand all, to be all things to all.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The climate of this prayer is, then, one of awareness, gratitude and a totally obedient love which seeks nothing but to please God.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The real purpose of meditation is this: to teach a man how to work himself free of created things and temporal concerns, in which he finds only confusion and sorrow, and enter into a conscious and loving contact with God in which he is disposed to receive from God the help he knows he needs so badly, and to pay to God the praise and honor and thanksgiving and love which it has now become his joy to give.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Heaven and earth come together in the Unbegun, And all is foolishness, all is unknown, all is like The lights of an idiot, all is without mind! To obey is to close the beak and fall into Unbeginning.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “I simply have no business being in love and playing around with a girl, however innocently... After all I am supposed to be a monk with a vow of chastity and though I have kept my vow – I wonder if I can keep it indefinitely and still play this gorgeous game!”
Thomas Merton Quote: “When you reread your journal you find out that your newest discovery is something you already found out five years ago.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Indeed, it is a kind of quintessence of pride to hate and fear even the kind and legitimate approval of those who love us! I mean, to resent it as a humiliating patronage.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The distinctive characteristic of religious meditation is that it is a search for truth which springs from love and which seeks to possess the truth not only by knowledge but also by love.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The thing that crushed me was that I had never learned to dance.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “One of the moral diseases we communicate to one another in society comes from huddling together in the pale light of an insufficient answer to a question we are afraid to ask.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “True simplicity implies love and trust – it does not expect to be derided and rejected, any more than it expects to be admired and praised.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “As a matter of fact, it is often harder to manifest the good that is in us than the evil.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The whole aim of Zen is not to make foolproof statements about experience, but to come to direct grips with reality without the mediation of logical verbalizing.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Hope is proportionate to detachment. It brings our souls into the state of the most perfect detachment. In doing so, it restores all values by setting them in their right order. Hope empties our hands in order that we may work with them. It shows us that we have something to work for, and teaches us how to work for it.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Life is not attained by reasoning and analysis but first of all by living.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Living is the constant adjustment of thought to life and life to thought in such a way that we are always growing, always experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new. Thus life is always new.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “As soon as you are really alone you are with God.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “We have been fashioned, in all our perfection, each according to his own nature, and all our natures ordered and harmonized together, that man’s reason and his love might fit in this one last element, this God-given key to the meaning of the whole.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The time will come when they will sell you even your rain.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “What is the good of religion without personal spiritual direction?”
Thomas Merton Quote: “It is good for the soul to be in solitude for a great part of the time. But if it should seek solitude for its own comfort and consolation, it will have to endure more darkness and more anguish and more trial. Pure prayer only takes possession of our hearts for good when we no longer desire any special light or grace or consolation for ourselves, and pray without any thought of our own satisfaction.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “I am happy that I can at least want to love God. Perhaps that is all I’ve got, but it is already all that is essential. And He will take care of the rest.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Power is made perfect in infirmity, and our very helplessness is all the more potent a claim on that Divine Mercy Who calls to Himself the poor, the little ones, the heavily burdened.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “It seems to me that I have greater peace and am close to God when I am not “trying to be a contemplative,” or trying to be anything special, but simply orienting my life fully and completely towards what seems to be required of a man like me at a time like this.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “You can now find the most ardent Christians lined up in the most ridiculous, regressive, irrational parades. If they were concerned only with flying saucers and conversations with the departed it would not be so bad: but they are also deeply involved in racism, in quasi-Fascist nationalism, in every shade of fanatical hate cult, and in every semilunatic pressure group.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “It was in this year, too, that the hard crust of my dry soul finally squeezed out all the last traces of religion that had ever been in it. There was no room for any God in that empty temple full of dust and rubbish which I was now so jealously to guard against all intruders, in order to devote it to the worship of my own stupid will.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “First of all, although men have a common destiny, each individual also has to work out his own personal salvation for himself in fear and trembling. We can help one another to find out the meaning of life, no doubt. But in the last analysis the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for “finding himself.” If he persists in shifting this responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The soul of man, left to its own natural level, is a potentially lucid crystal left in darkness. It is perfect in its own nature, but it lacks something that it can only receive from outside and above itself. But when the light shines in it, it becomes in a manner transformed into light and seems to lose its nature in the splendor of a higher nature, the nature of the light that is in it.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The mercy of God demands to be known and recognized and set apart from everything else and praised and adored in joy.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Our five sense are dulled by inordinate pleasure. Penance makes them keen, gives them back their natural vitality, and more. Penance clears the eye of conscience and of reason.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Perhaps in the end the first real step toward peace would be a realistic acceptance of the fact that our political ideals are perhaps to a great extent illusions and fictions to which we cling out of motives that are not always perfectly honest: that because of this we prevent ourselves from seeing any good or any practicability in the political ideals of our enemies – which may, of course, be in many ways even more illusory and dishonest than our own.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Contemplation in the age of Auschwitz and Dachau, Solovky and Karaganda is something darker and more fearsome than contemplation in the age of the Church Fathers. For that very reason, the urge to seek a path of spiritual light can be a subtle temptation to sin. It certainly is sin if it means a frank rejection of the burden of our age, an escape into unreality and spiritual illusion, so as not to share the misery of other men.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Freedom is perfect when no other love can impede our desire to love God.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “It does no good to use big words to talk about Christ. Since I seem incapable of talking about him in the language of a child, I have reached the point where I can scarcely talk about him at all. All my words fill me with shame.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The proud man loves his own illusion and self-sufficiency. The spiritually poor man loves his very insufficiency.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “The whole of life is to spiritualize our activities by humility and faith, to silence our nature by charity.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “If we are going to love others at all, we must make up our minds to love them well. Otherwise our love is a delusion. The first step to unselfish love is the recognition that our love may be deluded. We must first of all purify our love by renouncing the pleasure of loving as an end in itself. As long as pleasure is our end, we will be dishonest with ourselves and with those we love. We will not seek their good, but our own pleasure.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “But true faith must be able to go on even when everything else is taken away from us.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “Books that speak like God speak with too much authority to entertain us. Those that speak like good men hold us by their human charm; we grow by finding ourselves in them.”
Thomas Merton Quote: “For pride, which is the inordinate attribution of goods and values and glories to one’s own contingent self, cannot exist where there is no contingent self to which anything can be attributed.”
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