Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Thomas Merton Quotes

The writings of Thomas Merton are gilded with truth, light and life. They have been deeply instrumental and inspirational to me in my journey towards experiencing and knowing God in deeper ways. This will be a continually evolving page as I add more and more quotes from his material. I'm going to have the quotes segmented in sections under the headings of the titles of his works in which I've found these awesome insights and reflections. They are handpicked and plucked right out of his works and not the general ones you might find on some of the very helpful, yet limited quotation websites.

Enjoy, and may you be blessed by them.

A Life in Letters: The Essential Collection
Edited by: William H. Shannon and
Christine M. Bochen

"It is true that when I came to this monastery where I am, I came in revolt against the meaningless confusion of a life in which there was so much activity, so much movement, so much useless talk, so much superficial and needless stimulation, that I could not remember who I was. But the fact remains that my flight from this world is not a reproach to you who remain in the world, and I have no right to repudiate the world in a purely negative faction, because if I do that my flight will have taken me not to truth and to God but to a private, though doubtless pious, illusion."

"I have been summoned to explore a desert area of man's heart in which explanations no longer suffice, and in which one learns that only exprience counts."

"I have learned that one cannot truly know hope unless he has found out how like despair hope is."

"I have experienced the Cross to mean mercy and not cruelty, truth and not deception: that the news of the truth and love of Jesus is indeed the true good news, but in our time it speaks out in strange places."

"...perhaps Christ is nearer to you than He is to me: this I say without shame or guilt because I have learned to rejoice that Jesus is in the world in people who know Him not, that He is at work in them when they think themselves far from Him, and it is my joy to tell you to hope though you think that for you all men hope is impossible."

"Hope not because you think you can be good, but because God loves us irrespective of our merits and whatever is good in us comes from his love, not from our own doing."

"Hope because Jesus is with those who are poor and outcasts."

"No one on earth has reason to despair of Jesus because Jesus loves man, loves him in his sin, and we too must love man in his sin."

"One cannot know God as long as one seeks to solve 'the problem of God.' "

"To seek to solve the problem of God is to seek to see one's own eyes. One cannot see his own eyes because they are that with which he sees and God is the light by which we see-by which we see not a clearly defined "object" called God, but everything else in the invisible One."

" God seeks Himself in us, and the aridity and sorrow of our heart is the sorrow of God who is not known in us, who cannot find Himself in us because we do not dare to believe or trust the incredible truth that He could live in us, and live there out of choice, out of preference."

 " But indeed we exist solely for this, to be the place He has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world, His epiphany."

" It is not that we hate God, rather that we hate ourselves, despair of ourselves: if we once began to recognize, humbly but truly, the real value of our own self, we would see that this value was the sign of God in our being, the signature of God upon our being."

"Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty."

"The contemplative life is then the search for peace not in an abstract exclusion of all outside reality, not in a barren negative closing of the senses upon the world, but in the openness of love. It begins with the acceptance of my own self in my poverty and my nearness to despair in me even if I despair. That nothing can change God's love for me, since my very existence is the sign that God loves me and the presence of His love creates and sustains me."

"For there is in our hearts and in the very ground of our being a natural certainty which is co-extensive with our very existence: a certainty that says that insofar as we exist we are penetrated through and through with the sense and reality of God even though we may be utterly unable to believe or experience this in philosophic or even religous terms."

"The contemplative is the man not who has fiery visions of the cherubim carrying God on their imagined chariot, but simply he who has risked his mind in the desert beyond language and beyond ideas where God is encountered in the nakedness of pure trust, that is to say in the surrender of our poverty and incompleteness in order no longer to clench our minds in a cramp upon themselves, as if thinking made us exist."

"The message of hope the contemplative offers you, then, brother, is not that you need to find your way through the jungle of language and problems that today surround God: but that whether you understand or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you, and offers you an understanding and light which are like nothing you ever found in books or heard in sermons."

"Grains of error planted innocently in a well-kept greenhouse can become giant poisonous trees." ~Thomas Merton, A Life in Letters, p. 199

Quotes from New Seeds of Contemplation

It is not we who choose to awaken ourselves, but God who chooses to awaken us.

Contemplation is the awareness and realization, even in some sense experience, of what each Christian obscurely believes: "It is now no longer I that live but Christ lives in me".
" Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than of Him."

There can be an intense egoism in following everybody else. People are in a hurry to magnify themselves by imitating what is popular- and too lazy to think of anything better.