Five Quotes from Thomas Merton

Monk, activist, writer, poet, and artist, Fr. Merton was a true renaissance man. He was friends with Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Dalai Lama, and a contemporary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Before his untimely death he penned a huge number of books pertaining to spirituality, poems, artwork, and an incredible and moving autobiography. His work continues to touch countless souls…including the one typing these words. To read more about Thomas Merton click here or here.

“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.”

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”

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

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”

“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.” 

OK…I said five quotes, but here’s five more. 

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

“I cannot make the universe obey me. I cannot make other people conform to my own whims and fancies. I cannot make even my own body obey me.”

“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.” 

“The man of faith who has never experienced doubt is not a man of faith.” 

“Perhaps I am stronger than I think.”

Urban Simplicity.

6 thoughts on “Five Quotes from Thomas Merton

  1. In Seven Storey Mountain, Merton wrote about a Hindu who told him that the whole world laughs at Christians because they are the only ones who don’t know the meaning of the word “ascetic.” Gandhi seemed to feel that way too, and it is interesting that Merton and Bonhoeffer both saw the importance of preserving the monastic lifestyle. Simplicity was taught to me early on by Quakers, and it’s being suffocated by the American Dream.

    Peace and Grace to you for reawakening our consciences.

  2. Apparently Fr. Merton had a great interest in the East (some, I’ve heard, were worried he was going to convert to Buddhism). Thanks for your insight and comments.

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