Thomas Merton Quotes

Enjoy the top 789 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Thomas Merton.

Thomas Merton Quotes

We too often forget that faith is a matter of questioning and struggle before it becomes one of certitude and peace. You have to doubt and reject everything else in order to believe firmly in Christ, and after you have begun to believe, your faith itself must be tested and purified. Christianity is not merely a set of forgone conclusions. Faith tends to be defeated by the burning presence of God in mystery, and seeks refuge from him, flying to comfortable social forms and safe convictions in which purification is no longer an inner battle but a matter of outward gesture.
— Thomas Merton —

The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.

— Thomas Merton

We are obliged to love one another. We are not strictly bound to 'like' one another. Love governs the will: 'liking' is a matter of sense and sensibility. Nevertheless, if we really love others it will not be too hard to like them also.
If we wait for some people to become agreeable or attractive before we begin to love them, we will never begin. If we are content to give them a cold impersonal 'charity' that is merely a matter of obligation, we will not trouble to understand them or to sympathize with them at all. And in that case we will not really love them, because love implies an efficacious will not only to do good to others exteriorly but also to find some good in them to which we can respond.

— 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

There are days when I am convinced that Heaven starts already, now, in this ordinary life just as it is, in all its incompleteness, yet, this is where Heaven starts.. see within yourself, if you can find it. I walked through the field in front of the house, lots of swallows flying, everywhere! Some very near me..it was magical. We are already one, yet we know it not.

— Thomas Merton

Your idea of me is fabricated with materials you have borrowed from other people and from yourself. What you think of me depends on what you think of yourself. Perhaps you create your idea of me out of material that you would like to eliminate from your own idea of yourself. Perhaps your idea of me is a reflection of what other people think of you. Or perhaps what you think of me is simply what you think I think of you.

— Thomas Merton

Monastic prayer begins not so much with "considerations" as with a "return to the heart," finding one's deepest center, awakening the profound depths of our being

— Thomas Merton

He was a very good gardener, understood flowers, and knew how to make things grow. What is more, he liked this kind of work almost as much as painting.

— Thomas Merton

When ambition ends, happiness begins.

— Thomas Merton

The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.

— Thomas Merton

The things we really need come to us only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts we have to be open. In order to be open we have to renounce ourselves, in a sense we have to die to our image of ourselves, our autonomy, our fixation upon our self-willed identity.

— Thomas Merton

We become contemplatives when God discovers Himself in us.

— Thomas Merton

The speech of God is silence. His Word is solitude.

— Thomas Merton

For language to have meaning, there must be intervals of silence somewhere, to divide word from word and utterance from utterance. He who retires into silence does not necessarily hate language. Perhaps it is love and respect for language which imposes silence upon him. For the mercy of God is not heard in words unless it is heard, both before and after the words are spoken, in silence,

— Thomas Merton

I can depend less and less on my own power and sense of direction ... It is so strange to advance backwards and get where you are going in a totally unexpected way

— Thomas Merton

The evil in the world is all of our own making, and it proceeds entirely from our ruthless, senseless, wasteful, destructive, and suicidal neglect of our own being.

— 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

When you see God in everyone, then they see God in you.

— Thomas Merton

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