Thomas Merton

Our service to the world might be simply to keep a place where there is no noise

Since noise is increasing in all directions, the psychology of silence has taken on a special meaning. We are already so adapted to an abundance of screeching sound that we are surprised when stillness suddenly envelops us. Not that this happens very often. We begin to see that the whole question of our relation to the world, both positive and negative, centers in something like silence. So our service to the world might be simply to keep a place where there is no noise, where people can be silent together.

~ from THE SPRINGS OF CONTEMPLATION by Thomas Merton

Not myself, but Love

This will be my solitude, to be separated from myself so that I am able to love You alone, to love You so much that I no longer realize I am loving anything. I no longer desire to be myself, but to find myself transformed in You, so that there is no "myself" but only Yourself. That is when I will be what You have willed to make me from all eternity: not myself, but Love.

~ by Thomas Merton in "Dialogue with Silence"

The things of time are in connivance with eternity

The things of time are in connivance with eternity. There is a greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question. Eternity is in the present. Eternity is in the palm of the hand. Eternity is a seed of fire whose sudden roots break barriers that keep my heart from being an abyss.
~ by Thomas Merton in "Dialogue with Silence"

Just be prayer

If prayer is getting in your way, cut it out!
Stop praying! Just BE prayer!

~ Thomas Merton

The way of faith is necessarily obscure

The way of faith is necessarily obscure.
We drive by night.

~ Thomas Merton

Our being is silent, but our existence is noisy

Our being is silent, but our existence is noisy. Yet when our noisy actions stop, there is a ground of silence always there. Contemplatives must be in contact with that ground and communicate from that level to keep silence alive for other people.

~ Thomas Merton, with thanks to Liz Stewart

This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom

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, Mother of all,
"Natura naturans."

~ Thomas Merton

The only true joy on earth

The only true joy on earth is the escape from the prison of our own false selse, and enter by Love into union with the Life who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls.

~ by Thomas Merton

The vocation to solitude

Vocation to solitude: To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, to entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labor in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars. This is a true and special vocation. There are few who an belong completely to silence, let it soak into their bones, breathe nothing but silence, feed on silence, and turn the very substance of their life into a living and vigilant silence. [Yet each of us is blessed when we offer our silence to the world as we can.]

~ from THOUGHTS IN SOLITUDE by Thomas Merton
Thoughts In Solitude
By Thomas Merton
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