10 great quotes from the book New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

by Mark Votava

download (9)

1. The man who lives in division

“The man who lives in division is living in death.  He cannot find himself because he is lost; he has ceased to be a reality…”

2. The only One who can teach me

“The only One who can teach me to find God is God…”

3. To escape from the prison of our own false self

“The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, 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…”

4. Not a philosopher’s abstraction

“The living God, the God Who is God and not a philosopher’s abstraction, lies infinitely beyond the reach of anything our eyes can see or our minds can understand…”

5. A memory that is not alive to the present

“Memory is corrupted and ruined by a ‘crowd of memories.’  If I am going to have a true memory, there are a thousand things that must be forgotten.  Memory is not fully itself when it reaches only into the past.  A memory that is not alive to the present does not ‘remember’ the here and now, does not ‘remember’ its true identity, is not memory at all.  He who remembers nothing but facts and past events, and is never brought back into the present, is a victim of amnesia.”

6. We do not go into the desert to escape people

“We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them; we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them, but to find out the way to do them good…”

7. Love is the reason for my existence

“To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love.”

8. You will only isolate yourself

“But the only justification for a life of deliberate solitude is the conviction that it will help you to love not only God but also other men.  If you go into the dessert merely to get away from the people you dislike, you will find neither peace nor solitude; you will only isolate yourself…”

9. My false and private self

“My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love – outside of reality and outside of life.  And such a self cannot help but be an illusion.”

10. The good soil of freedom, spontaneity and love

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.  For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men.  Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity and love.”

Which quote do you resonate with the most?