Best 577 of Thomas Merton quotes - MyQuotes

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Thomas Merton
By Anonym 16 Sep

Thomas Merton

I was entering into a moral universe in which I would be related to every other rational being, and in which whole masses of us, as thick as swarming bees, would drag one another along towards some common end of good or evil, peace or war.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

It is the will of God that we live not only as rational beings, but as "new men" regenerated by the Holy Spirit in Christ. It is His will that we reach out for our inheritance, that we answer His call to be His sons. We are born men without our consent, but the consent to be sons of God has to be elicited by our own free will.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

To Serve the God of Love one must be free, one must face the terrible responsibility of the decision to love in spite of all unworthiness whether in oneself or in one's neighbor.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

You have got me walking up and down all day under those trees, saying to me over and over again, "Solitude, solitude." And You have turned around and thrown the world in my lap. You have told me, "Leave all things and follow me," and then You have tied half of New York to my foot like a ball and chain. You have got me kneeling behind that pillar with my mind making a noise like a bank. Is that contemplation?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

Violence is essentially wordless. and it can begin only where thought and rational communication have broken down.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

Everybody has an instinctive desire to do good things and avoid evil. But that desire is sterile as long as we have no experience of what it means to be good.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

Imagination has the creative task of making symbols, joining things together in such a way that they throw new light on each other and on everything around them. The imagination is a discovering faculty, a faculty for seeing relationships, for seeing meanings that are special and even quite new.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

One of the most important-and most neglected-elements in the beginning of the interior life is the ability to respond to reality, to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the splendour that is all around us.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

They were in the world and not of it--not because they were saints, but in a different way: because they were artists. The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

Are they moved by a sense of human need for silence, for reflection, for inner seeking? So they want to get away from the noise and tension of modern life, at least for a little while, in order to relax their minds and wills and seek a blessed healing sense of inner unity, reconciliation, integration?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

Love is not a matter of getting what you want. Quite the contrary. The insistence on always having what you want, on always being satisfied, on always being fulfilled, makes love impossible.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

God Himself begins to live in me not only as my Creator but as my other and true self.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

To some men peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving. And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

The goal of fasting is inner unity.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Thomas Merton

We overcome the evil in the world by the charity and compassion of God, and in so doing we drive all evil out of our own hearts. The evil that is in us is more than moral. There is a psychological evil, the distortion caused by selfishness and sin. Good moral intentions are enough to correct what is formally bad in our moral acts. But in order that our charity may heal the wounds of sin in our whole soul it must reach down into the furthest depths of our humanity, cleaning out all the infection of anxiety and false guilt that spring from pride and fear, releasing the good that has been held back by suspicion and prejudice and self-conceit. Everything in our nature must find its right place in the life of charity, so that the whole man may be lifted up to God, that the entire person may be sanctified and not only the intentions of his will.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Thomas Merton

There are so many voices heard today asserting that one should "have religion" or "believe," but all they mean is that one should associate himself, "sign up" with some religious group. Stand up and be counted. As if religion were somehow primarily a matter of gregariousness...

By Anonym 19 Sep

Thomas Merton

There are different kinds of fear. One of the most terrible is the sensation that you are likely to become, at any moment, the protagonist in a Graham Greene novel: the man who tries to be virtuous and who is, in a certain sense, holy, and yet who is overwhelmed by sin as if there were a kind of fatality about it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

My best writing has always been in journals.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

And it is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

Zen enriches no one. There is no body to be found. The birds may come and circle for a while in the place where it is thought to be. But they soon go elsewhere. When they are gone, the "nothing," the "no-body" that was there, suddenly appears. That is Zen. It was there all the time but the scavengers missed it, because it was not their kind of prey.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

The least of the work of learning is done in classrooms.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

The illusion that mechanical progress means human improvement ... alienates us from our own being and our own reality. It is precisely because we are convinced that our life, as such, is better if we have a better car, a better TV set, better toothpaste, etc., that we condemn and destroy our own reality and the reality of our natural resources. Technology was made for man, not man for technology. In losing touch with being and thus with God, we have fallen into a senseless idolatry of production and consumption for their own sakes.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

Why do we have to spend our lives striving to be something that we would never want to be, if we only knew what we wanted? Why do we waste our time doing things which... are just the opposite of what we were made for?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

God must be allowed the right to speak unpredictably.... We must find him in our enemy, or we may lose him even in our friend. We must find him in the pagan or we will lose him in our own selves, substituting for his living presence an empty abstraction.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

... Nothing resembles reality less than the photograph. Nothing resembles substance less than its shadow. To convey the meaning of something substantial you have to use not a shadow but a sign, not the limitation but the image. The image is a new and different reality, and of course it does not convey an impression of some object, but the mind of the subject; and that is something else again.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

The biggest disease in North America is busyness.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Thomas Merton

The story of the Fall tells us in mythical language that "original sin" is not simply a stigma arbitrarily making good pleasures seem guilty, but a basic inauthenticity, a kind of predisposition to bad faith in our understanding of ourselves and of the world. It implies a determined willfulness in trying to make things be other than they are in order that we may be able to make them subserve, at any moment, to our individual desire for pleasure or for power. But since things do not obey our arbitrary impulsions, and since we cannot make the world correspond to and confirm the image of it dictated by our needs and illusions, our willfulness is inseparable from error and from suffering. Hence, Buddhism says, deluded life itself is in a state of Dukkha, and every movement of desire tends to bear ultimate fruit in pain rather than lasting joy, in hate rather than love, in destruction rather than creation. (Let us note in passing that when technological skill seems in fact to give man almost absolute power in manipulating the world, this fact is no way reverses his original condition of brokenness and error but only makes it all the more obvious. We who live in the age of the H-bomb and the extermination camp have reason to reflect on this, though such reflection is a bit unpopular.)

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

The monk in hiding himself from the world becomes not less than himself, not less of a person, but more of a person, more truly and perfectly himself: for his personality and individuality are perfected in their true order, the spiritual, interior order.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

The selfishness of an age that has devoted itself to the mere cult of pleasure has tainted the whole human race with an error that makes all our acts more or less lies against God.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

Modern man believes he is fruitful and productive when his ego is aggressively affirmed, when he is visibly active, and when his action produces obvious results.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Thomas Merton

Into this world, this demented inn in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

The Holy Spirit is the most perfect gift of the Father to men, and yet He is the one gift which the Father gives most easily.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God: for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled his faith.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

For the birds there is not a time that they tell, but the point vierge between darkness and light, between being and nonbeing. You can tell yourself the time by their waking, if you are experienced. But that is your folly, not theirs.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

But precisely this illusion that everything is "clear" is what is blinding us all. It is a serious temptation, and it is a subtle form of pride and worldly love of power and revenge.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Thomas Merton

We must be willing to accept the bitter truth that, in the end, we may have to become a burden to those who love us. But it is necessary that we face this also. The full acceptance of our abjection and uselessness is the virtue that can make us and others rich in the grace of God. It takes heroic charity and humility to let others sustain us when we are absolutely incapable of sustaining ourselves. We cannot suffer well unless we see Christ everywhere, both in suffering and in the charity of those who come to the aid of our affliction.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life!

By Anonym 16 Sep

Thomas Merton

Hence the aim of meditation, in the context of Christian faith, is not to arrive at an objective and apparently 'scientific' knowledge of God, but to come to know him through the realization that our very being is penetrated with his knowledge and love for us. Our knowledge of God is paradoxically a knowledge not of him as the object of our scrutiny, but of ourselves as utterly dependent on his saving and merciful knowledge of us. It is in proportion as we are known to him that we find our real being and identity in Christ. We know him and through ourselves in so far as his truth is the source of our being and his merciful love is the very heart of our life and existence. We have no other reason for being, except to be loved by him as our Creator and Redeemer, and to love him in return. There is no true knowledge of God that does not imply a profound grasp and an intimate personal acceptance of this profound relationship.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Thomas Merton

If there is no silence beyond and within the many words of doctrine, there is no religion, only a religious ideology. For religion goes beyond words and actions, and attains to the ultimate Truth only in silence and Love.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Thomas Merton

True contemplation is not a psychological trick but a theological grace. It can come to us ONLY as a gift, and not as a result of our own clever use of spiritual techniques.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Thomas Merton

Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right.