Thomas Merton

United States religious and writer (1915-1968)

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A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book.
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.
Attachment to spiritual things is.. just as much an attachment as inordinate love of anything else.
Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of a chill from within the marrow of your own life.
I am willing to admit that some people might live there for years, or even a lifetime, so protected that they never sense the sweet stench of corruption that is all around them -- the keen, thin scent of decay that pervades everything and accuses with a terrible accusation the superficial youthfulness, the abounding undergraduate noise, that fills those ancient buildings.
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.
In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for finding himself. If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.
It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as Gods will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe youtry to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as Gods will yourself!
It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.
Love seeks one thing only the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.
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.
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”
The least of learning is done in the classrooms.
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 because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another
We do not exist for ourselves...
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.

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