Thomas Merton Quotes & Wallpapers

Thomas Merton
Total Quotes: 639

Gratitude takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder. Thomas Merton

If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity, we must first of all overcome the fear of not being loved. Thomas Merton

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

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

Do not be one of those who, rather than risk failure, never attempts anything. Thomas Merton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds Thomas Merton

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

People have no idea what one saint can do: for sanctity is stronger than the whole of hell. Thomas Merton

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

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

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

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

The problem today is that there are no deserts, only dude ranches. Thomas Merton

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

... but any fool knows that you don't need money to get enjoyment out of life. Thomas Merton

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

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

It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God. Thomas Merton

Love, in fact, is the spiritual life; and without it, all other exercises of the spirit are emptied of content. Thomas Merton

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

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

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

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

The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. Thomas Merton

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

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

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

Love is a special way of being alive. Thomas Merton

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

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

Because of their enmity you will be left alone. They will cast you out and forsake you. Thomas Merton

To find love I must enter into the sanctuary where it is hidden, which is the mystery of God. Thomas Merton

The least of learning is done in the classrooms. Thomas Merton

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

The end of the world will be legal. Thomas Merton

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

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

A daydream is an evasion. Thomas Merton

If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit. Thomas Merton

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

The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. Thomas Merton

If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world. Thomas Merton

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

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

We stumble and fall constantly, even when we are most enlightened. Thomas Merton

We love the things we pretend to laugh at. Thomas Merton

Stop asking yourself questions that have no meaning. Or if they have, you'll find out when you need to - find out both the questions and the answers. Thomas Merton

Technology is not in itself opposed to spirituality and to religion. But it presents a great temptation. Thomas Merton

Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all others. Thomas Merton

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. Thomas Merton

To be a saint is to be yourself. Thomas Merton

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. Thomas Merton

A man who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly. Thomas Merton

For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God's will, to be what God wants us to be. Thomas Merton

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. Thomas Merton

Duty does not have to be dull. Love can make it beautiful and fill it with life. Thomas Merton

Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By "they" I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness. Thomas Merton

May we all grow in grace and peace and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us. Thomas Merton

I can only become perfectly free by serving the will of God. Thomas Merton

If Zen has any preference it is for glass that is plain, has no color, and is "just glass." Thomas Merton

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

We cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. Thomas Merton

When your tongue is silent, you can rest in the silence of the forest. When your imagination is silent, the forest speaks to you. It tells you of its unreality and of the Reality of God. But when your mind is silent, then the forest suddenly becomes magnificently real and blazes transparently with the Reality of God. Thomas Merton

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