photo of Thomas MertonPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Thomas Merton

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Thomas Merton. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) was an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar of comparative religion. On May 26, 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name "Father Louis". He was a member of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky, living there from 1941 to his death.

Merton wrote more than 50 books in a period of 27 years, mostly on spirituality, social justice and a quiet pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Among Merton's most enduring works is his bestselling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain (1948). His account of his spiritual journey inspired scores of World War II veterans, students, and teenagers to explore offerings of monasteries across the US. It is on National Review's list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century.

Merton became a keen proponent of interfaith understanding, exploring Eastern religions through his study of mystic practice. He is particularly known for having pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama; Japanese writer D. T. Suzuki; Thai Buddhist monk Buddhadasa, and Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. He traveled extensively in the course of meeting with them and attending international conferences on religion. In addition, he wrote books on Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, and how Christianity related to them. This was highly unusual at the time in the United States, particularly within the religious orders.

Quote: Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of black and pink heart print textile
Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema

Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.


Quote: The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly 
 themselves. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of gray-scale photo of man and woman hugging
Photo Credit: Brittani Burns

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly
themselves.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.


Quote: Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of silhouette photo of aurora borealis
Photo Credit: Vincent Guth

Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand.


Quote: To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of selective focus photo of woman holding sunflower surrounded by sunflowers
Photo Credit: Blake Cheek

To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us -- and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.


Quote: Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of leafless tree on snow covered ground
Photo Credit: Wolfgang Hasselmann

Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more.


Quote: Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of yellow and black striped background
Photo Credit: Tim Hüfner

Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm.


Quote: In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of brown wooden board
Photo Credit: Joshua Bartell

In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart.


Quote: Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of two women making peace sign near the Golden Gate bridge
Photo Credit: Ian Schneider

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.


Quote: Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of macro shot photography of two votive candles
Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinska

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.


Quote: It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers.




Quote: Contemplation means rest, suspension of activity, withdrawal into the mysterious interior solitude in which the soul is absorbed in the immense and fruitful silence of God and learns something of the secret of His perfections less by seeing than by fruitive love. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Contemplation means rest, suspension of activity, withdrawal into the mysterious interior solitude in which the soul is absorbed in the immense and fruitful silence of God and learns something of the secret of His perfections less by seeing than by fruitive love.




Quote: Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost.


Quote: The meaning of life is found in openness to being and being present in full awareness. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The meaning of life is found in openness to being and being present in full awareness.


Quote: To love our nothingness we must love everything in us that the proud man loves when he loves himself. But we must love it all for exactly the opposite reason. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

To love our nothingness we must love everything in us that the proud man loves when he loves himself. But we must love it all for exactly the opposite reason.




Quote: Conscience is the light by which we interpret the will of God in our own lives. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Conscience is the light by which we interpret the will of God in our own lives.


Quote: One opens the inner doors of one's heart to the infinite silences of the Spirit, out of whose abysses love wells up without fail and gives itself to all. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

One opens the inner doors of one's heart to the infinite silences of the Spirit, out of whose abysses love wells up without fail and gives itself to all.


Quote: No matter how ruined man and his world may seem to be, and no matter how terrible man's despair may become, as long as he continues to be a man his very humanity continues to tell him that life has a meaning. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

No matter how ruined man and his world may seem to be, and no matter how terrible man's despair may become, as long as he continues to be a man his very humanity continues to tell him that life has a meaning.


Quote: God, have mercy on me in the blindness in which I hope I am seeking You! by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

God, have mercy on me in the blindness in which I hope I am seeking You!


Quote: The least of the work of learning is done in classrooms. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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




Quote: You will never be able to have perfect interior peace and recollection unless you are detached even from the desire of peace and recollection. You will never be able to pray perfectly until you are detached from the pleasures of prayer. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

You will never be able to have perfect interior peace and recollection unless you are detached even from the desire of peace and recollection. You will never be able to pray perfectly until you are detached from the pleasures of prayer.


Quote: The true contemplative is one who has discovered the art of finding leisure even in the midst of his work, by working with such a spirit of detachment and recollection that even his work is a prayer. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The true contemplative is one who has discovered the art of finding leisure even in the midst of his work, by working with such a spirit of detachment and recollection that even his work is a prayer.


Quote: The man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free.


Quote: Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty.


Quote: The goal of fasting is inner unity. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The goal of fasting is inner unity.


Quote: Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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


Quote: Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false Self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false Self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves.




Quote: All theology is a kind of birthday
Each one who is born 
Comes into the world as a question
For which old answers
Are not sufficient. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

All theology is a kind of birthday
Each one who is born
Comes into the world as a question
For which old answers
Are not sufficient.


Quote: Spread abroad the name of Jesus in humility and with a meek heart; show him your feebleness, and he will become your strength. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Spread abroad the name of Jesus in humility and with a meek heart; show him your feebleness, and he will become your strength.


Quote: We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of others and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of others and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.




Quote: The center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth.


Quote: True happiness is not found in any other reward than that of being united with God. If I seek some other reward besides God Himself, I may get my reward but I cannot be happy. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

True happiness is not found in any other reward than that of being united with God. If I seek some other reward besides God Himself, I may get my reward but I cannot be happy.




Quote: I shall lead you through the loneliness, the solitude you will not understand; but it is my shortcut to your soul. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

I shall lead you through the loneliness, the solitude you will not understand; but it is my shortcut to your soul.


Quote: We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others.


Quote: In the devil's theology, the important thing is to be absolutely right and to prove that everybody else is absolutely wrong. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

In the devil's theology, the important thing is to be absolutely right and to prove that everybody else is absolutely wrong.


Quote: We are not converted only once in our lives but many times and this endless series of conversions and inner revolutions leads to our transformation. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We are not converted only once in our lives but many times and this endless series of conversions and inner revolutions leads to our transformation.


Quote: If there was no other proof of the infinite patience of God, a very good one could be found in His toleration of the pictures that are painted of Him. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

If there was no other proof of the infinite patience of God, a very good one could be found in His toleration of the pictures that are painted of Him.


Quote: The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.


Quote: From the moment you put a piece of bread in your mouth you are part of the world. Who grew the wheat? Who made the bread? Where did it come from? You are in relationship with all who brought it to the table. We are least separate and most in common when we eat and drink. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

From the moment you put a piece of bread in your mouth you are part of the world. Who grew the wheat? Who made the bread? Where did it come from? You are in relationship with all who brought it to the table. We are least separate and most in common when we eat and drink.


Quote: We must suffer. 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. It helps think clearly, judge sanely. It strengthens the action of our will. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

We must suffer. 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. It helps think clearly, judge sanely. It strengthens the action of our will.


Quote: Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself.


Quote: Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny....To work out our identity in God. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny....To work out our identity in God.


Quote: A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.


Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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.


Quote: Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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


Quote: Let me rest in Your will and be silent. Then the light of Your joy will warm my life. Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory. This is what I live for. Amen, amen. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Let me rest in Your will and be silent. Then the light of Your joy will warm my life. Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory. This is what I live for. Amen, amen.


Quote: Love is free; it does not depend on the desirability of its object, but loves for love's sake. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Love is free; it does not depend on the desirability of its object, but loves for love's sake.


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! by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with 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!


Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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.


Quote: There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the donkey understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the donkey understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today.


Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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!


Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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.




Quote: The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear.


Quote: We cannot possess the truth fully until it has entered into the very substance of our life by good habits, and by a certain perfection of moral activity. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We cannot possess the truth fully until it has entered into the very substance of our life by good habits, and by a certain perfection of moral activity.


Quote: To desire Him to be merciful to us is to acknowledge Him as God. To seek His pity when we deserve no pity is to ask Him to be just with a justice so holy that it knows no evil and shows mercy to everyone who does not fly from Him in despair. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

To desire Him to be merciful to us is to acknowledge Him as God. To seek His pity when we deserve no pity is to ask Him to be just with a justice so holy that it knows no evil and shows mercy to everyone who does not fly from Him in despair.


Quote: Ash Wednesday is full of joy...The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Ash Wednesday is full of joy...The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.


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. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with 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.


Quote: We who claim to love peace and justice must always be careful that we do not use our righteousness to provoke the violent, and in this way bring about the conflict for which we, too, like other men, are hungering in secret, and with suppressed barbarity. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We who claim to love peace and justice must always be careful that we do not use our righteousness to provoke the violent, and in this way bring about the conflict for which we, too, like other men, are hungering in secret, and with suppressed barbarity.


Quote: And yet with every wound You robbed me of a crime,
And as each blow was paid with Blood,
You paid me also each great sin with greater graces.
For even as I killed You,
You made Yourself a greater thief than any in Your company,
Stealing my sins into Your dying life,
Robbing me even of my death. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: And yet with every wound You robbed me of a crime,
And as each blow was paid with Blood,
You paid me also each great sin with greater graces.
For even as I killed You,
You made Yourself a greater thief than any in Your company,
Stealing my sins into Your dying life,
Robbing me even of my death.- black text on quotes background

And yet with every wound You robbed me of a crime,
And as each blow was paid with Blood,
You paid me also each great sin with greater graces.
For even as I killed You,
You made Yourself a greater thief than any in Your company,
Stealing my sins into Your dying life,
Robbing me even of my death.


Quote: How can I be sincere if I am constantly changing my mind to conform with the shadow of what I think others expect of me? by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

How can I be sincere if I am constantly changing my mind to conform with the shadow of what I think others expect of me?


Quote: The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.


Quote: This is the crucifixion of Christ: in which He dies again and again in the individuals who were made to share the joy and freedom of His grace, and who deny Him. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

This is the crucifixion of Christ: in which He dies again and again in the individuals who were made to share the joy and freedom of His grace, and who deny Him.




Quote: Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities, but in the end when we become used to the new light, we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities, but in the end when we become used to the new light, we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.


Quote: The whole function of the life of prayer is, then, to enlighten and strengthen our conscience so that it not only knows and perceives the outward, written precepts of the moral and divine laws, but above all lives God's law in concrete reality by perfect and continual union with His will. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: The whole function of the life of prayer is, then, to enlighten and strengthen our conscience so that it not only knows and perceives the outward, written precepts of the moral and divine laws, but above all lives God's law in concrete reality by perfect and continual union with His will.- black text on quotes background

The whole function of the life of prayer is, then, to enlighten and strengthen our conscience so that it not only knows and perceives the outward, written precepts of the moral and divine laws, but above all lives God's law in concrete reality by perfect and continual union with His will.


Quote: While some men see ordinary happenings, others see divine light and guidance. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

While some men see ordinary happenings, others see divine light and guidance.




Quote: Love triumphs, at least in this life, not by eliminating evil once for all, but by resisting and overcoming it anew every day. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Love triumphs, at least in this life, not by eliminating evil once for all, but by resisting and overcoming it anew every day.


Quote: If you have love you will do all things well. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

If you have love you will do all things well.


Quote: The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.


Quote: The fruitfulness of our lives depends in large measure in our ability to doubt our own words and to question the value of our own work. The man who completely trusts his own estimate of himself is doomed to sterility. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The fruitfulness of our lives depends in large measure in our ability to doubt our own words and to question the value of our own work. The man who completely trusts his own estimate of himself is doomed to sterility.


Quote: A superficial freedom to wander aimlessly here or there, to taste this or that, to make a choice of distractions, is simply a sham. It claims to be a freedom of choice when it has evaded the basic task of discovering who it is that chooses. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

A superficial freedom to wander aimlessly here or there, to taste this or that, to make a choice of distractions, is simply a sham. It claims to be a freedom of choice when it has evaded the basic task of discovering who it is that chooses.




Quote: The gate of heaven is everywhere. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The gate of heaven is everywhere.


Quote: The gift of love is the gift of the power and capacity to love, and therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The gift of love is the gift of the power and capacity to love, and therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.


Quote: The only trouble is that in the spiritual life there are no tricks and no shortcuts. Those who imagine that they can discover spiritual gimmicks and put them to work for themselves usually ignore God's will and his grace. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The only trouble is that in the spiritual life there are no tricks and no shortcuts. Those who imagine that they can discover spiritual gimmicks and put them to work for themselves usually ignore God's will and his grace.


Quote: Every moment and every event of everyman's life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Every moment and every event of everyman's life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men.


Quote: What do I mean by loving ourselves properly? I mean first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and a great good, not because of what it gives us, but because of what it enables us to give to others. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

What do I mean by loving ourselves properly? I mean first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and a great good, not because of what it gives us, but because of what it enables us to give to others.


Quote: Before we can realize who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Before we can realize who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger.






Quote: We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, nor rests in any visible end. He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, nor rests in any visible end. He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.- black text on quotes background

We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, nor rests in any visible end. He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.


Quote: He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.


Quote: And of course most non-Catholics imagine that the Church is immensely rich, and that all Catholic institutions make money hand over fist, and that all the money is stored away somewhere to buy gold and silver dishes for the Pope and cigars for the College of Cardinals. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

And of course most non-Catholics imagine that the Church is immensely rich, and that all Catholic institutions make money hand over fist, and that all the money is stored away somewhere to buy gold and silver dishes for the Pope and cigars for the College of Cardinals.


Quote: Prayer is an expression of who we are...We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Prayer is an expression of who we are...We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment.




Quote: You are certainly one of the joys of life for all who have ever come within a mile of you. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

You are certainly one of the joys of life for all who have ever come within a mile of you.




Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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.


Quote: Lovely morning! How lovely life can be! by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Lovely morning! How lovely life can be!




Quote: If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that cannot be criticized, he will never be able to write anything that can be read. If you want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that cannot be criticized, he will never be able to write anything that can be read. If you want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn.






Quote: Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. 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. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. 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.- black text on quotes background

Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. 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.


Quote: Our real journey in life is interior. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Our real journey in life is interior.


Quote: For perfect hope is achieved on the brink of despair, when instead of falling over the edge, we find ourselves walking on air. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

For perfect hope is achieved on the brink of despair, when instead of falling over the edge, we find ourselves walking on air.


Quote: None of our prayers should ever be petitions for our own needs: for this is only another subtle way of trying to put ourselves on the same plane as God -- acting as if we had no needs, as if we were not creatures, not dependent on Him. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

None of our prayers should ever be petitions for our own needs: for this is only another subtle way of trying to put ourselves on the same plane as God -- acting as if we had no needs, as if we were not creatures, not dependent on Him.


Quote: Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn't already been said better by the wind in the pine trees. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn't already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.


Quote: No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.


Quote: How deluded we sometimes are by the clear notions we get out of books. They make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

How deluded we sometimes are by the clear notions we get out of books. They make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

How deluded we sometimes are by the clear notions we get out of books. They make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all. I remember how learnedly and enthusiastically I could talk for hours about mysticism and the experiential knowledge of God, and all the while I was stoking the fires of the argument with Scotch and soda.






Quote: The great thing, and the only thing, is to adore and praise GOD. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The great thing, and the only thing, is to adore and praise GOD.


Quote: Each individual Christian and each new age of the Church has to make this rediscovery, this return to the source of Christian life. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Each individual Christian and each new age of the Church has to make this rediscovery, this return to the source of Christian life.






Quote: The art of our time, sacred art included, will necessarily be characterized by a certain poverty, grimness and roughness which correspond to the violent realities of a cruel age. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The art of our time, sacred art included, will necessarily be characterized by a certain poverty, grimness and roughness which correspond to the violent realities of a cruel age.


Quote: I will no longer wound myself with the thoughts and questions that have surrounded me like thorns: that is a penance You do not ask of me. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

I will no longer wound myself with the thoughts and questions that have surrounded me like thorns: that is a penance You do not ask of me.




Quote: Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true.




Quote: The devil makes many disciples by preaching against sin. He convinces them that the great evil of sin, induces a crisis of guilt by which God is satisfied, and after that he lets them spend the rest of their lives meditating on the intense sinfulness and evident reprobation of other men. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: The devil makes many disciples by preaching against sin. He convinces them that the great evil of sin, induces a crisis of guilt by which God is satisfied, and after that he lets them spend the rest of their lives meditating on the intense sinfulness and evident reprobation of other men.- black text on quotes background

The devil makes many disciples by preaching against sin. He convinces them that the great evil of sin, induces a crisis of guilt by which God is satisfied, and after that he lets them spend the rest of their lives meditating on the intense sinfulness and evident reprobation of other men.


Quote: To be alone by being part of the universe-fitting in completely to an environment of woods and silence and peace. Everything you do becomes a unity and a prayer. Unity within and without. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

To be alone by being part of the universe-fitting in completely to an environment of woods and silence and peace. Everything you do becomes a unity and a prayer. Unity within and without.


Quote: The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it.


Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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.


Quote: One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life solves them for you. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life solves them for you.




Quote: it is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

it is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.


Quote: The Lord did not create suffering. Pain and death came into the world with the fall of man. But after man had chosen suffering in preference to the joys of union with God, the Lord turned suffering itself into a way by which man could come to the perfect knowledge of God. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

The Lord did not create suffering. Pain and death came into the world with the fall of man. But after man had chosen suffering in preference to the joys of union with God, the Lord turned suffering itself into a way by which man could come to the perfect knowledge of God.


Quote: May God prevent us from becoming right-thinking men-that is to say men who agree perfectly with their own police. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

May God prevent us from becoming right-thinking men-that is to say men who agree perfectly with their own police.




Quote: There is not true intimacy between souls who do not know how to respect one another's solitude. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

There is not true intimacy between souls who do not know how to respect one another's solitude.


Quote: You are made in the image of what you desire. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

You are made in the image of what you desire.


Quote: The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence -- it is unshakeable. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence -- it is unshakeable.


Quote: It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves.- black text on quotes background

It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves.


Quote: The God of peace is never glorified by human violence. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.


Quote: Now anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. It is the fruit of unanswered questions. But questions cannot go unanswered unless they first be asked. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Now anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. It is the fruit of unanswered questions. But questions cannot go unanswered unless they first be asked.


Quote: True happiness is found in unselfish Love, A love which increases in proportion as it is shared. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

True happiness is found in unselfish Love, A love which increases in proportion as it is shared.




Quote: Love winter when the plant says nothing. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Love winter when the plant says nothing.




Quote: The sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.


Quote: The only way to make a man worthy of love is by loving him. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The only way to make a man worthy of love is by loving him.


Quote: Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.


Quote: To enter into the realm of contemplation one must in a certain sense die: but this death is in fact the entrance to a higher life. It is a death for the sake of life, which leaves behind all that we can know or treasure as life, as thought, as experience, as joy, as being. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

To enter into the realm of contemplation one must in a certain sense die: but this death is in fact the entrance to a higher life. It is a death for the sake of life, which leaves behind all that we can know or treasure as life, as thought, as experience, as joy, as being.


Quote: Not all of us are called to be hermits, but all of us need enough silence and solitude in our lives to enable the deeper voice of our own self to be heard at least occasionally. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Not all of us are called to be hermits, but all of us need enough silence and solitude in our lives to enable the deeper voice of our own self to be heard at least occasionally.


Quote: To those who have no personal experience of this revolutionary aspect of Christian truth, but who see only the outer crust of dead, human conservatism that tends to form around the Church the way barnacles gather on the hull of a ship, all this talk about dynamism sounds foolish. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

To those who have no personal experience of this revolutionary aspect of Christian truth, but who see only the outer crust of dead, human conservatism that tends to form around the Church the way barnacles gather on the hull of a ship, all this talk about dynamism sounds foolish.


Quote: The only influence that can really upset the injustice and iniquity of men is the power that breathes in the Christian tradition, renewing our participation in the Life that is the Light of men. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The only influence that can really upset the injustice and iniquity of men is the power that breathes in the Christian tradition, renewing our participation in the Life that is the Light of men.




Quote: The true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion, from indistinction, from immersion in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion, from indistinction, from immersion in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent.






Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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.




Quote: For power can guarantee the interests of some men but it can never foster the good of man. Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all the others. Only love can attain and preserve the good of all. Any claim to build the security of all on force is a manifest imposture. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: For power can guarantee the interests of some men but it can never foster the good of man. Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all the others. Only love can attain and preserve the good of all. Any claim to build the security of all on force is a manifest imposture.- black text on quotes background

For power can guarantee the interests of some men but it can never foster the good of man. Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all the others. Only love can attain and preserve the good of all. Any claim to build the security of all on force is a manifest imposture.


Quote: I brought all the instincts of a writer with me into the monastery. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

I brought all the instincts of a writer with me into the monastery.


Quote: Love is not a mere emotion or sentiment. It is the lucid and ardent responses of the whole person to a value that is revealed to him as perfect. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Love is not a mere emotion or sentiment. It is the lucid and ardent responses of the whole person to a value that is revealed to him as perfect.


Quote: 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 author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

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, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash -- at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.




Quote: I refuse to be misled by any kind of a mirage about any alleged success of what I write. Those things are too easily exaggerated, and even when they are true, they always mean less than they seem to. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

I refuse to be misled by any kind of a mirage about any alleged success of what I write. Those things are too easily exaggerated, and even when they are true, they always mean less than they seem to.


Quote: If we live with possibilities we are exiles from the present which is given us by God to be our own, homeless and displaced in a future or a past which are not ours because they are always beyond our reach. The present is our right place, and we can lay hands on whatever it offers us. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: If we live with possibilities we are exiles from the present which is given us by God to be our own, homeless and displaced in a future or a past which are not ours because they are always beyond our reach. The present is our right place, and we can lay hands on whatever it offers us.- black text on quotes background

If we live with possibilities we are exiles from the present which is given us by God to be our own, homeless and displaced in a future or a past which are not ours because they are always beyond our reach. The present is our right place, and we can lay hands on whatever it offers us.


Quote: The desire to kill is like the desire to attack another with an ingot of red -hot iron: I have to pick up the incandescent metal and burn my own hand while burning the other. Hate itself is the seed of death in my own heart, while it seeks the death of the other. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The desire to kill is like the desire to attack another with an ingot of red -hot iron: I have to pick up the incandescent metal and burn my own hand while burning the other. Hate itself is the seed of death in my own heart, while it seeks the death of the other.


Quote: Grains of error planted innocently in a well-kept greenhouse can become giant poisonous trees. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Grains of error planted innocently in a well-kept greenhouse can become giant poisonous trees.


Quote: O love-why can't you leave me alone? Which is a rhetorical question meaning: for heaven's sake, don't. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

O love-why can't you leave me alone? Which is a rhetorical question meaning: for heaven's sake, don't.


Quote: Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.


Quote: If we examine ourselves carefully we shall see most of us have an enormous amount of unfinished business...We have to be free so that we can just step across the line and that's it. That is what real freedom is. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

If we examine ourselves carefully we shall see most of us have an enormous amount of unfinished business...We have to be free so that we can just step across the line and that's it. That is what real freedom is.






Quote: The mission of Christian humility in social life is not merely to edify, but to keep minds open to many alternatives. The rigidity of a certain type of Christian thought has seriously impaired this capacity, which nonviolence must recover. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The mission of Christian humility in social life is not merely to edify, but to keep minds open to many alternatives. The rigidity of a certain type of Christian thought has seriously impaired this capacity, which nonviolence must recover.


Quote: For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.


Quote: There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.


Quote: We cannot find Him unless we know we need Him. We forget this need when we take a self-sufficient pleasure in our own good works. The poor and helpless are the first to find Him, Who came to seek and to save that which was lost. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We cannot find Him unless we know we need Him. We forget this need when we take a self-sufficient pleasure in our own good works. The poor and helpless are the first to find Him, Who came to seek and to save that which was lost.




Quote: Saints are what they are not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Saints are what they are not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else.


Quote: Contemplative living is living in true relationship with oneself, God, others and nature, free of the illusions of separateness. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Contemplative living is living in true relationship with oneself, God, others and nature, free of the illusions of separateness.




Quote: Pardon all runners, All speechless, alien winds, All mad waters. Pardon their impulses, Their wild attitudes, Their young flights, their reticence. When a message has no clothes on How can it be spoken. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Pardon all runners, All speechless, alien winds, All mad waters. Pardon their impulses, Their wild attitudes, Their young flights, their reticence. When a message has no clothes on How can it be spoken.


Quote: I stand among you as one who offers a small message of hope... there are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free-floating existence under a state of risk. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

I stand among you as one who offers a small message of hope... there are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free-floating existence under a state of risk.


Quote: We do not see God in contemplation -- we know Him by love: for his pure love and when we taste the experience of loving God for his own sake alone, we know by experience who and what he is. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We do not see God in contemplation -- we know Him by love: for his pure love and when we taste the experience of loving God for his own sake alone, we know by experience who and what he is.




Quote: Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us and see the beauty in ordinary things. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us and see the beauty in ordinary things.


Quote: We must slow down to a human tempo and we'll begin to have time to listen. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We must slow down to a human tempo and we'll begin to have time to listen.


Quote: Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote; white text on black background

Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular.


Quote: The truth that many people never understand until it is too late is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The truth that many people never understand until it is too late is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer.


Quote: Zen is consciousness unstructured by particular form or particular system, a trans-cultural, trans-religious, transformed consciousness. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Zen is consciousness unstructured by particular form or particular system, a trans-cultural, trans-religious, transformed consciousness.


Quote: This is the greatest stumbling block in our spiritual discipline, which, in actuality, consists not in getting rid of the self but in realizing the fact that there is no such existence from the first. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

This is the greatest stumbling block in our spiritual discipline, which, in actuality, consists not in getting rid of the self but in realizing the fact that there is no such existence from the first.




Quote: There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.


Quote: We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full.


Quote: There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.






Quote: The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty. Ghandi, quoted in Merton, p. 68. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty. Ghandi, quoted in Merton, p. 68.


Quote: Humility sets us free to do what is really good, by showing us our illusions and withdrawing our will from what was only an apparent good. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

Humility sets us free to do what is really good, by showing us our illusions and withdrawing our will from what was only an apparent good.


Quote: His justice is the love that gives to each one of His creatures the gifts that His mercy has previously decreed. And His mercy is His love, doing justice to its own exigencies, and renewing the gift which we had failed to accept. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

His justice is the love that gives to each one of His creatures the gifts that His mercy has previously decreed. And His mercy is His love, doing justice to its own exigencies, and renewing the gift which we had failed to accept.


Quote: When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, you do your work well. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, you do your work well.


Quote: The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.


Quote: The biggest disease in North America is busyness. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

The biggest disease in North America is busyness.


Quote: Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

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

Longer Version/[Notes]:

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.


Quote: This act of total surrender is not merely a fantastic intellectual and mystical gamble; it is something much more serious. It is an act of love for this unseen person, who, in the very gift of love by which we surrender ourselves to his reality also makes his presence known to us. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: This act of total surrender is not merely a fantastic intellectual and mystical gamble; it is something much more serious. It is an act of love for this unseen person, who, in the very gift of love by which we surrender ourselves to his reality also makes his presence known to us.- black text on quotes background

This act of total surrender is not merely a fantastic intellectual and mystical gamble; it is something much more serious. It is an act of love for this unseen person, who, in the very gift of love by which we surrender ourselves to his reality also makes his presence known to us.


Quote: The simplicity that all this presupposes is not easy to attain. I find that my life constantly threatens to become complex and divisive. A life of prayer is basically a very simple life. This simplicity, however, is the result of asceticism and effort: it is not a spontaneous simplicity. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of Thomas Merton quote: The simplicity that all this presupposes is not easy to attain. I find that my life constantly threatens to become complex and divisive. A life of prayer is basically a very simple life. This simplicity, however, is the result of asceticism and effort: it is not a spontaneous simplicity.- black text on quotes background

The simplicity that all this presupposes is not easy to attain. I find that my life constantly threatens to become complex and divisive. A life of prayer is basically a very simple life. This simplicity, however, is the result of asceticism and effort: it is not a spontaneous simplicity.


Quote: If we seek paradise outside ourselves, we cannot have paradise in our hearts. by author Thomas Merton overlaid on photo of photo of author Thomas Merton with quote

If we seek paradise outside ourselves, we cannot have paradise in our hearts.


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