Having Nothing But God – 11 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – No Man Is An Island

by Mark Votava

41tYJhDcp8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Some of the charity that is in ourselves

“Some people never reveal any of the good that is hidden in them until we give them some of the good, that is to say, some of the charity, that is in ourselves.”

2. Not as something to own and manipulate

“The saint must see the truth as something to serve, not as something to own and manipulate according to his own good pleasure.”

3. Detached from the results of our work

“We must be detached from the results of our work, in order to deliver ourselves from the anxiety that makes us plunge into action without restraint…”

4. To see the value and the beauty in ordinary things

“One of the most important – and most neglected – elements in the beginnings of the interior life is the ability to respond to reality, to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the splendor that is all around us in the creatures of God…”

5. True happiness is found in unselfish love

“There is a false and monetary happiness in self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit.  True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared.  There is no end to the sharing of love, and, therefore, the potential happiness of such love is without limit…”

6. Hope is the gateway to contemplation

“Hope is the gateway to contemplation, because contemplation is an experience of divine things and we cannot experience what we do not in some way possess…”

7. The purpose of my existence

“If I am to know the will of God, I must have the right attitude toward life.  I must first of all know what life is, and to know the purpose of my existence.”

8. The supreme poverty of having nothing but God

“Our intention cannot be completely simple unless it is completely poor.  It seeks and desires nothing but the supreme poverty of having nothing but God…”

9. Suffer without hate

“Suffer without reflection, without hate, suffer with no hope of revenge or compensation, suffer without being impatient for the end of suffering.”

10. The actions of the body

“We cannot become saints merely by trying to run away from material things.  To have a spiritual life is to have a life that is spiritual in all its wholeness – a life in which the actions of the body are holy because of the soul, and the soul is holy because of God dwelling and acting in it.  When we live such a life, the actions of our body are directed to God…”  

11. To defend ourselves against agitation

“In order to defend ourselves against agitation, we must be detached not only from the immediate results of our work – and this detachment is difficult and rare – but from the whole complex of aims that govern our earthly lives.  We have to be detached from health and security, from pleasures and possessions, from people and places and conditions and things…”

Which quote stands out to you the most?

Some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.