thomas merton Quotes

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.
tags: alone facts
— Thomas Merton
On the last day of January 1915, in the second year of the Great War, down in the shadow of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into this world.
tags: world war year
— Thomas Merton
I brought all the instincts of a writer with me into the monastery.
tags: instinct
— Thomas Merton
The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
— Thomas Merton
I am against war, against violence, against violent revolution, for peaceful settlement of differences, for nonviolent but nevertheless radical changes. Change is needed, and violence will not really change anything: at most it will only transfer power from one set of bull-headed authorities to another.
tags: power violence authority revolution war violent radical
— Thomas Merton
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.
tags: world moment relationship
— Thomas Merton
The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.
tags: spiritual
— Thomas Merton
Violence is not completely fatal until it ceases to disturb us.
tags: violence
— Thomas Merton
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.
tags: men power
— Thomas Merton
The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds
tags: time mental emotional mind
— Thomas Merton
Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.
tags: men live forgiveness despair problem mercy risk god
— Thomas Merton
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.
tags: christmas
— Thomas Merton
Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another.
tags: meaning alone true
— Thomas Merton
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.
tags: men hate
— Thomas Merton
May God prevent us from becoming "right-thinking men"-that is to say men who agree perfectly with their own police.
tags: men god
— Thomas Merton
It is my belief, that we should not be too sure of having found Christ in ourselves until we have found him also in that part of humanity that is most remote from our own.
tags: belief humanity christ
— Thomas Merton
The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
tags: reflection
— Thomas Merton
Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.
tags: compassion
— 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.
tags: people conscious facts
— Thomas Merton
Surrender your own poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon.
tags: poverty live present compassion understanding god book
— Thomas Merton
A faith that is afraid of other people is not faith at all.
tags: people faith afraid
— Thomas Merton
We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have - for their usefulness.
tags: time men imagination
— Thomas Merton
Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you are capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.
tags: enemies loving enemy afraid savage
— Thomas Merton
Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and joy you have not yet begun to live.
tags: joy live pleasure
— Thomas Merton
In Silence God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience.
tags: experience silence god
— Thomas Merton
Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.
tags: god ideas
— Thomas Merton
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
tags: job facts business
— Thomas Merton
You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.
tags: present moment challenge possibility faith courage hope
— Thomas Merton
A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.
tags: men live thinking
— 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.
tags: people live wrong success
— Thomas Merton
Weaknesses and deficiencies . . . play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.
tags: live weakness
— Thomas Merton
There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom, the mother of us all, "natura naturans." There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness, and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being.
tags: integrity joy action silence wisdom mother
— Thomas Merton
I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity ... I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.
tags: christianity buddhism
— Thomas Merton
Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn't already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.
tags: god
— Thomas Merton
I am beginning to realize that "sanity" is no longer a value or an end in itself. If modern people were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of their absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be the possibility of their survival.
tags: people survival value possibility
— Thomas Merton
The importance of detachment from things, the importance of poverty, is that we are supposed to be free from things that we might prefer to people. Wherever things have become more important than people, we are in trouble. That is the crux of the whole matter.
tags: people poverty
— Thomas Merton
Love is not a matter of getting what you want. Quite the contrary. The insistence on always having what you want, on always being satisfied, on always being fulfilled, makes love impossible.
tags: impossible
— Thomas Merton
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.
tags: living live respect alone true
— Thomas Merton
I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
tags: men people joy human sorrow stupidity god race
— Thomas Merton
Actions are the doors and windows of being. Unless we act, we have no way of knowing what we are.
tags: action knowing
— Thomas Merton