No Exclusiveness – 9 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The Sign of Jonas  

by Mark Votava

41sdg2pPluL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. The functions of a contemplative

“Perhaps one of the functions of a contemplative is to help other people, by word or merely by example, to become aware of how much they are capable of loving God…”

2. Poverty and hardship

“…the life of a Christian has meaning and value only to the extent that it conforms to the life of Jesus.  But Jesus lived in poverty and hardship and died on the Cross…”

3. And love is enough

“To love God is everything.  And love is enough.  Nothing else is of any value except insofar as it is transformed and elevated by the charity of Christ.  But the smallest thing, touched by charity, is immediately transfigured and becomes sublime.”

4. The supreme graces of solitude and of society coincide and become one

“The greatest gift that can come to anyone is to share in the infinite act by which God’s love is poured out upon all men.  In this sense the supreme graces of solitude and of society coincide and become one…”

5. The holiness of created things

“But this sadness generates within me an unspeakable reverence for the holiness of created things, for they are pure and perfect and they belong to God and they are mirrors of His beauty.  He is mirrored in all things like sunlight in clean water: but if I try to drink the light that is in the water I only shatter the reflection.”

6. To start over again

“The thing to do when you have made a mistake is not to give up doing what you were doing and start something altogether new, but to start over again with the thing you began badly and try, for the love of God, to do it well.”

7. No exclusiveness

“To belong to God I have to belong to myself.  I have to be alone – at least interiorly alone.  This means the constant renewal of a decision.  I cannot belong to people.  None of me belongs to anybody but God.  Absolute loneliness of the imagination, the memory, the will.  My love for everybody is equal, neutral and clean.  No exclusiveness.  Simple and free as the sky because I love everybody and am possessed by nobody, not held, not bound.  In order to be not remembered or even wanted I have to be a person that nobody knows.  They can have Thomas Merton.  He’s dead…  For my part my name is the sky, those fence-posts, and those cedar trees…”

8. To find solitude

“It is clear to me that solitude is my vocation, not as a flight from the world but as my place in the world, because for me to find solitude is only to separate myself from all the forces that destroy me and destroy history…”

9. Free of words: their master rather than their servant

“For the first time in my life I am finding you, O solitude.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the few short moments of purity, of neutrality, in which I have found you.  Now I know I am coming to the day in which I will be free of words: their master rather than their servant, able to live without them if need be…”

What do you like about all these quotes?