The Mentality of Our Times – 9 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – Turning Toward the World: The Journals of Thomas Merton 1960-1963 edited by Victor A. Kramer

by Mark Votava

download (13)1. All of us are wrong in one way or another

“And doubtless the truth is that all of us are wrong in one way or another.  And the ways in which we are ‘right’ are so illusory as to be non-existent…”

2. So many people get their living from war industries

“I am disturbed by the development of things in this country where so many people get their living from war industries and are consequently not disposed to see or understand a real need for disarmament.  It is to their interest to believe that the way to peace is the accumulation of nuclear weapons.  This is disastrous.”

3. It is the powerful and the rich who make war

“War is not caused by hunger or by need.  It is the powerful and the rich who make war…”

4. I must stop complaining

“I must stop complaining.  Until I do, I won’t see all I need to see, but only what I have to see, under some compulsion or other.”

5. The mentality of our times

“Problems and sufferings of the spiritual life today come from the fact that the mentality of our times blocks the total response that is necessary for a completely healthy and fruitful spirituality.  We ‘believe’ in our head, but the heart and the whole body do not follow.  Or else the body and emotions follow a certain line, but the mind remains confused and unenlightened.”

6. Hating no one, condemning no one, rejecting no one

“How true it is that the great obligation of the Christian, especially now is to prove himself a disciple of Christ by hating no one, that is to say by condemning no one, rejecting no one.  And how true that the impatience that fumes at others and damns them (especially whole classes, races, nations) is a sign of the weakness that is still unliberated…”

7. Momentous collective problems of the age

“The system which seeks only to prepare people to make money – in individual careers, has not taught anybody to think about the momentous collective problems of the age.”

8. A recovery of the real dimensions of the mystery of Christ

“The greatest thing has been a recovery of the real dimensions of the mystery of Christ – and I think that really puts the seal on it all.  A recovery, so to speak, of a deep and primitive faith – with the realization that it is a pure gift.  What a renewal, and how thankful I am.  My spirit is once again breathing after a long time of stuffiness and suffocation.”

9. Half-conscious attempts to preserve my identity

“There has been a kind of dazed desperation in my half-conscious attempts to preserve my identity, while being worn down by the ever renewed futility of a half-productive existence.”

Which quotes stand out to you?

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