Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Month: July, 2015

The Question of Love – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s writings – Learning to Love: The Journals of Thomas Merton 1966-1967 edited by Christine M. Bochen

51RW0XF4HTL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_1. Moments of great loneliness

“There are moments of great loneliness and lostness in this solitude, but often then come other deeper moments of hope and understanding, and I realize that these would not be possible, in their purity, their simple secret directions, anywhere but in solitude.  I hope to be worthy of them!”

2. Bear the anxiety of self-questioning

“Now I see more and more that there is only one realistic answer: Love.  I have got to dare to love, and to bear the anxiety of self-questioning that love arouses in me, until ‘perfect love casts out fear.’”

3. The question of love

“The question of love: I have to face the fact that I have simply sidestepped it.  Now it must be faced squarely.  I cannot live without giving love back to a world that has given me so much.  And of course it has to be the love of a man dedicated to God – and selfless, detached, free, completely open love.  And I have not attained to such a level, hence the risk.  But facing the risk…  I will learn.”

4. Do trust love

“A voice says in me – love: do trust love!  Do not fear it, do not avoid it, do not take mere half-measures with it, but love, believe in it…”

5. Inner silence

“My moments of inner silence are my main source of strength, light and love…”

6. Nakedness, absurdity

“…what I really need is the simple reality of my own solitary life in its nakedness, absurdity, or whatever you want to call it…”

7. What really is God’s will for me?

“Now everyone is beginning to see that seeking God’s will is a much more risky and unpredictable venture.  I know that there are certain defined limits for me, but within those limits almost anything can happen and can be ‘God’s will’ and a summons to obedience: and not in terms of simple, blind submission only…  And know well how easy it is to kid myself – so much so that I hardly like to think about it!  What really is God’s will for me?…”

8. The whole question of “hearing God”

“The whole question of ‘hearing God’ has become extremely ambiguous that the very way it is talked of makes some people incapable of ‘hearing’ anything…”

9. Comfortable and complacent lives

“…people are ‘nice’ as long as they are not disturbed in their comfortable and complacent lives.  They cannot see the price of their ‘responsibility.’  And I am part of it and I don’t know what to do about it…”

10. The present is umlimited

“But in solitude when accurate limitations are seen and accepted, they then vanish, and a new dimension opens up.  The present is in fact, in itself, unlimited.  The only way to grasp it in its unlimitedness is to remove the limitations we place on it by future expectations and hopes and plans, or surmises, or regrets about the past, or attempts to explain something we have experienced… in order to be able to continue living with it.  Live with it?  To live with something past is to put a limitation on the present.  And yet the past does enter into the present: as the limitation against which we must assert our liability…”

Which quote do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

Respect for Life – 6 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The Nonviolent Alternative

22847301. Respect for life, for freedom, for truth, for justice

“…where there is a deep, simple, all-embracing love of man, of the created world of living and inanimate things, then there will be respect for life, for freedom, for truth, for justice and there will be humble love of God.  But where there is no love of man, no love of life, then make all the laws you want, all the edicts and treaties, issue all the anathemas; set up all the safeguards and inspections, fill the air with spying satellites, and hang cameras on the moon.  As long as you see your fellow man as a being essentially to be feared, mistrusted, hated, and destroyed, there cannot be peace on earth…”

2. We are responsible for the present

“We are responsible for the present and for those present actions and attitudes of ours from which future events will develop.  It is therefore supremely important that we get a grip on ourselves and determine that we will not relinquish either our reason or our humanity; that we will not despair of ourselves, or of man, or of our capacity to solve our problems; that we will make use of the faculties and resources we still have in abundance, and use them for positive and constructive action in so far as we can…”

3. Hopelessly attached to all that makes war inevitable

“We must now face the fact that we are moving closer and closer to war, not only as a result of blind social forces but also as the result of our own decisions and our own choice.  The brutal reality is that, when all is said and done, we seem to prefer war; not that we want war itself, but we are blindly and hopelessly attached to all that makes war inevitable.”

4. Orientate our efforts towards world unity and not towards world division

“It is true that we live in an epoch of revolution, and that the breakup and re-formation of society is inevitable.  But the Christian must see that his mission is not to contribute to the blind forces of annihilation which tend to destroy civilization and mankind together.  He must seek to build rather than to destroy.  He must orient his efforts towards world unity and not towards world division.  Anyone who promotes policies of hatred and of war is working for the division and destruction of civilized mankind.”

5. A concept of sanity that excludes love

“And so I ask myself: what is the meaning of a concept of sanity that excludes love, considers it irrelevant, and destroys our capacity to love other human beings, to respond to their needs and their sufferings, to recognize them also as persons, to apprehend their pain as one’s own?  Evidently this is not necessary for ‘sanity’ at all…”

6. We love money, possessions, comfort

“…it is because we love money, possessions, comfort, etc., more than other men that we enter into conflict with our fellow man, in order to take for ourselves what we do not wish to share with him, even if in order to fulfill our desires we must destroy our enemies…”

Which quote do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

Living Always in Somebody Else’s Imagination -11 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The Seven Story Mountain

41J2GqX7WmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer

“Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt.  The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all.  It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture…”

2. The million different voices

“We refuse to hear the million different voices through which God speaks to us…”

3. The highest pitch of artificial tension

“We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.”

4. God’s life is Love

“What is ‘grace’?  It is God’s own life, shared by us.  God’s life is Love…”

5. No idea of ours can adequately represent God

“What a relief it was for me, now, to discover not only that no idea of ours, let alone any image, could adequately represent God, but also that we should not allow ourselves to be satisfied with any such knowledge…”

6. Our own common good and our own common salvation

“God has willed that we should all depend on one another for our salvation, and all strive together for our own mutual good and our own common salvation…”

7. Common and natural and ordinary things

“All our salvation begins on the level of common and natural and ordinary things…”

8. The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love

“The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his strivings – by which man becomes one with God.”

9. The artistic experience

“After all, from my very childhood, I had understood that the artistic experience, at its highest, was actually a natural analogue of mystical experience.  It produced a kind of intuitive perception of reality through a sort of affective identification with the object contemplated…”

10. Our weakness should not terrify us

“Our weakness should not terrify us: it is the source of our strength…  Power is made perfect in infirmity…”

11. Living always in somebody else’s imagination

“A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!”

Which quote do you like best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

No Man is an Island – 5 quotes from the book – Thomas Merton: Essential Writings edited by Christine M. Bochen. Celebrating my 400th blog post!  

41Y8t75erAL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Completely taken up with externals

“The real inner life and freedom of man begin when this inner dimension opens up and man lives in communion with the unknown within him.  On the basis of this can he also be in communion with the same unknown in others…  Possibly our society will be wrecked because it is completely taken up with externals and has no grasp on this inner dimension of life.”

2. Close attention to reality 

“Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny…  We are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity.  We can evade this responsibility by playing with masks, and this pleases us because it can appear at times to be a free and creative way of living.  It is quite easy, it seems to please everyone.  But in the long run the cost and the sorrow come very high.  To work out our own identity in God… is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears.  It demands close attention to reality at every moment…”

3. The authenticity of our everyday lives

“Silence has many dimensions.  It can be a regression and an escape, a loss of self, or it can be presence, awareness, unification, self-discovery.  Negative silence blurs and confuses our identity, and we lapse into daydreams or diffuse anxieties.  Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between the two.  Hence, positive silence implies a disciplined choice…  In the long run, the discipline of creative silence demands a certain kind of faith.  For when we come face to face with ourselves in the lonely ground of our own being, we confront many questions about the value of our existence, the reality of our commitments, the authenticity of our everyday lives.”

4. No man is an island

“We must all believe in love and peace.  We must believe in the power of love.  We must recognize that our being itself is grounded in love; that is to say, that we come into being because we are loved and because we are meant to love others.  The failure to believe this and to live accordingly creates instead a deep mistrust, a suspicion of others, a hatred of others, a failure to love.  When a man attempts to live by and for himself alone, he becomes a little ‘island’ of hate, greed, suspicion, fear…  This whole outlook on life is falsified.  All his judgments are affected by that untruth.  In order to recover the true perspective, which is that of love and compassion, he must once again learn, in simplicity, truth, and peace, that ‘No man is an island.’”

5. The foundations of spiritual unity

“If I can understand something of myself and something of others, I can begin to share with them the work of building the foundations of spiritual unity.  But first we must work together at dissipating the more absurd fictions which make unity impossible.”

Which quote do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

Significant Social Change – 8 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Seeds of Destruction

41pOurJW4eL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_1. Can no longer be contained by token concessions

“…for revolutions are always the result of situations in which the drive of an underprivileged mass of men can no longer be contained by token concessions, and in which the establishment is too confused, too inert and too frightened to participate with the underprivileged in a new and creative solution of what is realized to be their common problem.”

2. Significant social change

“Does all profoundly significant social change have to be carried out in violence, with murder, destruction, police repression and underground resistance…”

3. We cannot afford to ignore

“What remains to be said?  It is true that Gandhi expressly disassociated himself from Christianity in any of its visible and institutional forms.  But it is also true that he built his whole life and all his activity upon what he conceived to be the law of Christ.  In fact, he died for this law which was at the heart of his belief.  Gandhi was indisputably sincere and right in his moral commitment to the law of love and truth.  A Christian can do nothing greater than follow his own consciousness with a fidelity comparable to that which Gandhi obeyed what he believed to be the voice of God.  Gandhi is, it seems to me, a model of integrity whom we cannot afford to ignore, and the one basic duty we all owe to the world of our time is to imitate him in ‘disassociating ourselves from evil in total disregard of the consequences.’”

4. Block off the reality of the other

“To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as an other self, we resort to the impersonal ‘law’ and ‘nature.’  That is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunication of our nature and his nature, and we consider only our own nature with its rights, its claims, its demands.  In effect, however, we are considering our nature in the concrete and his nature in the abstract.  And we justify the evil we do to our brother because he is no longer a brother, he is merely an adversary, an accused, an evil being.”

5. Only humility

“…only humility keeps man in communion with truth, and first of all with his own inner truth…”

6. Too often we start out

“Too often we start out with the assumption that all the answers are quite clear, and that we of course are the ones who know them.  That everyone else is malicious or ignorant, and that all that is required is for everyone to listen to us and agree with us…”

7. Silence and solitude

“…your solitude itself will do an immense amount for you…  Silence is a rare luxury in the modern world, and not everyone can stand it: but it has inestimable value, that cannot be purchased with any amount of money or power or intelligence.”

8. The places in which we are attached to our inner egoism

“In practice, the events of life bring us face to face, in painful situations, with the places in which we are attached to our inner egoism…”

Which quotes do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

Artificially Preconceived Structures – 6 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Thoughts on the East  

41-YyV+BcJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Become ourselves unreasonable

“It is when we insist most firmly on everyone else being ‘reasonable’ that we become ourselves unreasonable…”

2. You never find happiness until you stop looking for it

“My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it.  My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course.”

3. Artificially preconceived structures

“…the Zen consciousness does not distinguish and categorize what it sees in terms of social and cultural standards.  It does not try to fit things into artificially preconceived structures.  It does not judge beauty and ugliness according to canons of taste – even though it may have its own taste.  If it seems to judge and distinguish, it does so only enough to point beyond judgment to the pure void.  It does not settle down in its judgments as final.  It does not erect its judgment into a structure to be defended against all comers.”

4. What conveniently fits our prejudices

“We quickly forget how to simply see things and substitute our words and our formulas for the things themselves, manipulating facts so that we see only what conveniently fits our prejudices…”

5. Always pass from one thing to another

“But we in the West, living in a tradition of stubborn egocentered practicality and geared entirely for the use and manipulation of everything, always pass from one thing to another, from cause to effect, from the first to the next and to the last and then back to the first.  Everything always points to something else, and hence we never stop anywhere because we cannot: as soon as we pause, the escalator reaches the end of the ride and we have to get off and find another one.  Nothing is allowed just to be and to mean itself: everything has to mysteriously signify something else…”

6. An authentic metaphysical consciousness

“…our highly activist and one sided culture is faced with a crisis that may end in self-destruction because it lacks the inner depth of an authentic metaphysical consciousness.  Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are so much verbiage.  If, in the West, God can no longer be experienced as other than ‘dead,’ it is because of an inner split and self-alienation which have characterized the Western mind in its single-minded dedication to only half of life: that which is exterior, objective, and quantitative.  The ‘death of God’ and the consequent death of genuine moral sense, respect for life, for humanity, for value, has expressed the death of an inner subjective quality of life: a quality which in the traditional religions was experienced in terms of God-consciousness.  Not concentration on an idea or concept of God, still less on an image of God, but a sense of presence, of an ultimate ground of reality and meaning, from which life and love could spontaneously flower.”

Which quote do you like the most?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

The Essence of Life – 8 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The Springs of Contemplation

41uoFywPbuL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Our being is silent

“Our being is silent, but our existence is noisy.  Our actions tend to be noisy, but when they stop, there is a ground of silence which is always there.  Our job as contemplatives is to be in contact with that ground and to communicate from that level, and not just to be in contact with a stream of activities which are constantly moving.  We have to keep silence alive for other people, as well as for ourselves – because no one else is doing it.  We may think people don’t care about this, but in fact they care about it very much.  Silence is greatly symbolic in our time.  Even though there’s talk about contemplative life and its values not making much sense to people today, or not being of much interest to them, this is not true.  Many people are looking to contemplation and meditation for meaning.”

2. The contemplative life will not be applauded

“The contemplative life will not be applauded if it becomes prophetic.  It’s going to be condemned even more than it already is…”

3. Have nothing to do with the essence of life

“Gradually we come to see that these different boxes or categories do not matter at all, they have nothing to do with the essence of life.  That’s why we can be hopeful.  We don’t have to build some great big new thing and then defend from scratch.  If we can get this nonsense about judging and about literal perfection in every little thing out of the way, then what’s real can emerge.  When we let our boxes go, we’ll find the real thing is there.  Just the fact that we are human beings will, with the grace of God, be enough.”

4. Reality is not someplace else

“Suffering in the contemplative life… comes from the conviction that the action is someplace else.  We think that what we do cannot possibly make any sense.  Reality is always someplace else.  The real meaning of the contemplative life is way up there on the twenty-fifth story and here we are down on the ground floor.  We have no access to it…  But reality is not someplace else.  It’s here.”

5. Not really caring much about anything profound

“Not really caring much about anything profound is characteristic of one-dimensional people…”

6. A questioning of everything

“It’s important in the spiritual life to go through a questioning of everything.  Then we can let go of all these questions.”

7. Being yourself

“I think the best way to help someone is by being yourself.  This is the only way we influence others.  Ordinarily, we don’t accept a value unless we see it embodied in other people.”

8. Each person is worthy of respect

“Just to love a person because she is who she is, or he is who he is, and not for any other reason, is genuine support.  We don’t love others for what they do or don’t do?  No one has to pay for being esteemed.  You don’t have to make some sort of grade.  If all the talk about freedom doesn’t presuppose this, it’s a lie or it’s suspect.  People may be odd or different, and even have screwy ideas.  Still, each one is worthy of respect.  They don’t need to fit into some sort of classification before they are respected.”

Which quote do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

Incarnational Involvement – 6 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Love and Living edited by Naomi Burton Stone and Patrick Hart

510p+r97PhL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_1. Silence, solitude, love

“Where is silence?  Where is solitude?  Where is love?”

2. Celebration is the beginning of confidence, therefore of power

“We like to be together.  We like to dance together.  We like to make pretty and amusing things.  We like to laugh at what we have made.  We like to put bright colors on the walls – more bright colors on ourselves.  We like our pictures, they are crazy.  Celebration is crazy: the craziness of not submitting even though ‘they,’ ‘the others,’ the ones who make life impossible, seem to have all the power.  Celebration is the beginning of confidence, therefore of power.”

3. Narcissism produces a fake humanism

“Narcissism is hostile to the true development of man’s capacity to love.  Narcissism alienates man and his society in a slavery to things – money, machines, commodities, luxuries, fashions, and pseudoculture.  The idolatrous mentality of narcissism produces a fake humanism which cynically deifies man in order to cheat him of his human fulfillment and enslave him to the ‘rat race’ for riches, pleasure, and power.”

4. Incarnational involvement in the struggle of living

“The Christian cannot be fully what he is meant to be in the modern world if he is not in some way interested in building a better society, free of war, of racial and social injustice, of poverty, and of discrimination.  It is no longer possible to evade this obligation by withdrawing into otherworldly aspirations and pious interiority unconcerned with human and historical problems.  On the contrary, eschatological Christian hope is inseparable from an incarnational involvement in the struggle of living and contemporary man.”

5. Profoundly contemplative and rich in active work

“All Christian life is meant to be at the same time profoundly contemplative and rich in active work…  It is true that we are called to create a better world.  But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.  In doing this, we act as co-workers with God.  We take our place in the great work of mankind, since in effect the creation of our own destiny, in God, is impossible in pure isolation.  Each one of us works out his own destiny in inseparable union with all those others with whom God has willed us to live.  We share with one another the creative work of living in the world.  And it is through our struggle with material reality, with nature, that we help one another create at the same time our own destiny and a new world for our descendants.  This work of man, which is his peculiar and inescapable vocation, is a prolongation of the creative work of God…  Failure to measure up to this challenge and to meet this creative responsibility is to fail in that response to life which is required of us…”

6. Becoming ourselves

“There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power.  We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within.  And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves.  To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.”

Which quote do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

Our Deepest Self – 9 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The New Man


41yINHj74-L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

1. Beyond the surface of all that is actual

“…the mystic goes further still and plunges into the dynamic infinity of a Reality which not only IS, but which pours forth from its own inexhaustible depths the reality of everything else that is real.  The mystic, that is to say the contemplative, not only sees and touches what is real, but beyond the surface of all that is actual, he attains to communion with the Freedom Who is the source of all actuality…”

2. Grace is unity

“Grace is not a strange, magic substance which is subtly filtered in our souls to act as a kind of spiritual penicillin.  Grace is unity, oneness with ourselves, oneness with God…”

3. Awareness, thought, love

“The ‘image’ of God is found in the soul’s structure – awareness, thought, love…”

4. Entirely available to love

“On this readiness to change depends our whole supernatural destiny.  There are few true contemplatives in the world because there are few men who are completely lost to themselves and entirely available to love.  That is to say there are few who are able to renounce their own methods of self-support in the spiritual journey towards God…”

5. An inner transformation

“Jesus not only teaches us the Christian life, He creates it in our souls by the action of His Spirit.  Our life in Him is not a matter of mere ethical goodwill.  It is not a mere moral perfection.  It is an entirely new spiritual reality, an inner transformation.”

6. Free, spontaneous, sincere

“Christianity is a religion of love…  Love is impossible without obedience that unites the wills of the lover and the One loved.  But love is destroyed by a union of wills that is forced rather than spontaneous…  God does not want the worship of compulsion, but worship that is free, spontaneous, sincere, ‘in spirit and in truth.’  True, there must always be a limit where human weakness is protected against itself by a categorical command: ‘Thou shall not!’ There can be no love of God that ignores such commands.  However, a true and mature love obeys not because it is commanded, but because it loves.”

7. Realities, obstacles, difficulties

“Our love, left to itself, is not always either very pure or very strong.  To have strength, love must face realities.  It must confront obstacles.  It must accept difficulties.  It must make sacrifices.  It must be mature.  Too often the love which we believe to be charity is merely an evasion of reality and responsibilities.  It is the sentimental refuge to which we retire so as not to be bothered by the difficulties and hardships of life: a false sanctuary in which we are consoled by an imaginary Christ.”

8. Exercise of our own liberty

“Without the free and conscious and clearly realized exercise of our own liberty we cannot become, in the full sense, persons.”

9. Our deepest self

“The awakening of our spiritual liberty is impossible unless a movement of the loving and merciful will of Christ reaches out to touch and stir the depths of our own spirit.  The deep option that makes us free, and thereby brings to life our true, our deepest self, is a resurrection of Christ in our own lives.  It is the movement that our own will makes when it is mysteriously united with His, as if we were but one will, one person.”

Which quote do you enjoy the most?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.

Honest Perplexity – 6 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Faith and Violence: Christian Teaching and Christian Practice

download (12)1. The sin of religiosity

“The sin of religiosity is that it has turned God, peace, happiness, salvation and all that man desires into products to be marketed in a speciously attractive package deal…”

2. Struggle along with everybody else and collaborate with them

“In fact we are learning that we are as other men are, that we are not a special kind of privileged being, that our faith does not exempt us from facing the mysterious realities of the world with the same limitations as everybody else, and with the same capacity for human failure.  Our Christian calling does not make us superior to other men, does not entitle us to judge everyone and decide everything for everybody.  We do not have answers to every social problem, and all conflicts have not been decided beforehand in favor of our side.  Our job is to struggle along with everybody else and collaborate with them in the difficult, frustrating task of seeking a solution to common problems, which are entirely new and strange to us all.”

3. The violent repression of others

“’Freedom’ cannot retain its meaning if it continues to be only freedom for some based on the violent repression of others.”

4. A deplorable cult of idols

“It is certain that much in our supposed Christianity is in fact a deplorable cult of idols…”

5. Arrogant dictation

“So I am apologizing to you for the inadequacy and impertinence of so much that has been inflicted on you in the name of religion, not only because it has embarrassed me, and others like me, but because it seems to me to be a falsification of religious truth.  In fact, I am secretly grateful to you for refusing to accept so much of the arrogant dictation that they have tried to foist on you.  And here you notice that I have a tendency to slip out of my rank among the capital B-Believers, and even to edge over a little toward your side, not because I don’t believe, but just because things sometimes seem to me a little quieter and more thoughtful where you are.”

6. Honest perplexity

“My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety.  In these depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything.  It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith.  On this level, the division between Believer and Unbeliever ceases to be so crystal clear.  It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity.  Everybody is an Unbeliever more or less!  Only when this fact is fully experienced, accepted and lived with, does one become fit to hear the simple message of the Gospel…”

Which quote do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.