Thomas Merton Quotes & Wallpapers

Thomas Merton
Total Quotes: 639


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. Thomas Merton
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Gratitude takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder. Thomas Merton
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The silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love, and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds Thomas Merton
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The problem today is that there are no deserts, only dude ranches. Thomas Merton
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The Hindus are not looking for us to send them men who will build schools and hospitals, although those things are good and useful in themselves-and perhaps very badly needed in India: they want to know if we have any saints to send them. Thomas Merton
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We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life, and that is why we are travelling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore in that sense we have arrived and are dwelling in the light. But oh! How far have I to go to find You in Whom I have already arrived! Thomas Merton
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By my monastic life and vows I am saying no to all the concentration camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices, the economic tyrannies, and the whole socioeconomic apparatus which seems geared for nothing but global destruction in spite of all its fair words in favor of peace. Thomas Merton
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In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your piece of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist. Thomas Merton
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The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. Thomas Merton
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Creation was given to people as a clean window through which the light of God could shine into people's souls. Sun and moon, night and day, rain, sea, the crops, the flowering tree, all these things were transparent. They spoke to people not of themselves but only of Him who made them. Nature was symbolic. But the progressive degradation of humans led them further and further from this truth. Nature became opaque. Thomas Merton
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It's a risky thing to pray and the danger is that our very prayers get between God and us. The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God. . . . The fact is, though, that if you descend into the depths of your own spirit and arrive somewhere near the center of what you are, you are confronted with the inescapable truth that, at the very root of your existence, you are in constant and immediate contact with the infinite power of God. Thomas Merton
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It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God. Thomas Merton
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... but any fool knows that you don't need money to get enjoyment out of life. Thomas Merton
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People have no idea what one saint can do: for sanctity is stronger than the whole of hell. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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We do not pray for the sake of praying, but for the sake of being heard. We do not pray in order to listen to ourselves praying but in order that God may hear us and answer us. Also, we do not pray in order to receive just any answer: it must be God's answer. Thomas Merton
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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 Thomas Merton
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People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. Thomas Merton
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The humble person receives praise the way a clean window takes the light of the sun. The truer and more intense the light is, the less you see of the glass. Thomas Merton
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Do not be one of those who, rather than risk failure, never attempts anything. Thomas Merton
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I shall lead you through the loneliness, the solitude you will not understand; but it is my shortcut to your soul. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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Our Christian destiny is, in fact, a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. For our own idea of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being God gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another. Thomas Merton
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A daydream is an evasion. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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Be still: There is no longer any need of comment. It was a lucky wind That blew away his halo with his cares, A lucky sea that drowned his reputation. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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Before we can become who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person who we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger. Thomas Merton
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Self-conquest is really self-surrender. Yet before we can surrender ourselves we must become ourselves. For no one can give up what he does not possess. Thomas Merton
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If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity, we must first of all overcome the fear of not being loved. Thomas Merton
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Love, in fact, is the spiritual life; and without it, all other exercises of the spirit are emptied of content. Thomas Merton
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The least of learning is done in the classrooms. Thomas Merton
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Love is a special way of being alive. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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The pleasure of a good act is something to be remembered - not in order to feed our complacency but in order to remind us that virtuous actions are not only possible and valuable, but that they can become easier and more delightful and more fruitful than the acts of vice which oppose and frustrate them. Thomas Merton
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To find love I must enter into the sanctuary where it is hidden, which is the mystery of God. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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Because of their enmity you will be left alone. They will cast you out and forsake you. Thomas Merton
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If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit. Thomas Merton
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First, the desert is the country of madness. Second, it is the refuge of the devil, thrown out into the "wilderness of upper Egypt" to "wander in dry places." Thirst drives man mad, and the devil himself is mad with a kind of thirst for his own lost excellence-lost because he has immured himself in it and closed out everything else. So the man who wanders into the desert to be himself must take care that he does not go mad and become the servant of the one who dwells there in a sterile paradise of emptiness and rage. Thomas Merton
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The end of the world will be legal. Thomas Merton
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Life is not accomplishing some special work but attaining to a degree of consciousness and inner freedom which is beyond all works and attainments. Thomas Merton
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Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train. Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. Thomas Merton
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If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world. Thomas Merton
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Our real journey in life is interior; It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary to respond to that action. Thomas Merton
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Silence has many dimensions. It can be a regression and an escape, a loss of self, or it can be presence, awareness, unification, self-discovery. Negative silence blurs and confuses our identity, and we lapse into daydreams or diffuse anxieties. Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between these two. Thomas Merton
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We stumble and fall constantly, even when we are most enlightened. Thomas Merton
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To be risen with Christ means not only that one has a choice and that one may live by a higher law - the law of grace and love - but that one must do so. The first obligation of the Christian is to maintain their freedom from all superstitions, all blind taboos and religious formalities, indeed from all empty forms of legalism. Thomas Merton
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How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another man's city? Thomas Merton
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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. Thomas Merton
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If Zen has any preference it is for glass that is plain, has no color, and is "just glass." Thomas Merton
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Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right. Thomas Merton
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...love triumphs, at least in this life, not by eliminating evil once for all, but by resisting and overcoming it anew every day. Thomas Merton
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We refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation Thomas Merton
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It is true that neither the ancient wisdoms nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone. They call for one another. Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and the material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man's own pointless existence. (p. 4) Thomas Merton
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Peace cannot be built on exclusivism, absolutism, and intolerance. But neither can it be built on vague liberal slogans and pious programs gestated in the smoke of confabulation. There can be no peace on earth without the kind of inner change that brings man back to his "right mind." p. 31 Thomas Merton
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Day after day I read Freud, thinking myself to be very enlightened and scientific when, as a matter of fact, I was about as scientific as an old woman secretly poring over books about occultism, trying to tell her own fortune, and learning how to dope out the future form the lines in the palm of her hand. I don't know if I ever got very close to needing a padded cell: but if I ever had gone crazy, I think psychoanalysis would have been the one thing chiefly responsible for it. Thomas Merton
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The soul of man, left to its own natural level, is a potentially lucid crystal left in darkness. It is perfect in its own nature, but it lacks something that it can only receive from outside and above itself. But when the light shines in it, it becomes in a manner transformed into light and seems to lose its nature in the splendor of a higher nature, the nature of the light that is in it. Thomas Merton
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As long as I am content to know that He is infinitely greater than I, and that I cannot know Him unless He shows himself to me, I will have Peace, and He will be near me and in me, and I will rest in Him. Thomas Merton
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It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who He is, and who we are. Thomas Merton
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The degradation of the sense of symbol in modern society is one of its many signs of spiritual decay. Thomas Merton
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The things I thought were so important - because of the effort I put into them - have turned out to be of small value. And the things I never thought about, the things I was never able to either to measure or to expect, were the things that mattered. Thomas Merton
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The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows; not by clarity and substance, but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor in intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything. Thomas Merton
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