A Creative Act – 7 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – A Search for Solitude: The Journals of Thomas Merton 1952-1960 edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham

by Mark Votava

51491Th7C7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Social responsibility

“In any time social responsibility is the keystone of the Christian life.”

2. To admit I do not know the meaning of love in any context

“Love is the only answer…  What does love mean today?  What is its place in the enormous dimensions of the modern world?  We have to love in a new way and with a new attitude and I suppose perhaps the first thing to do is to admit I do not know the meaning of love in any context – ancient or new.”

3. A creative act in our life

“…the will of God is not a ‘fate’ to which we submit but a creative act in our life producing something absolutely new… something hitherto unforeseen by the laws and established patterns.  Our cooperation (seeking first the Kingdom of God) consists not solely in conforming to laws but in opening our wills out to this creative act which must be retrieved in and by us…”

4. My highest ambition is to be what I already am

“Finally, I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.  That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself – and if I accept myself fully in the right way I will have already surpassed myself.  For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way – and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted.  When it has been accepted – it is my own stepping stone to what is above me…  We must first become like ourselves, and stop living ‘beside ourselves.’”

5. I am here and not somewhere else

“I am here because I am here and not somewhere else…  I have found no serious reason for wanting to be elsewhere, though I might like to be elsewhere at times.  The fact remains that elsewhere is not where I am, or where I am likely to be…  The point is that it does not much matter where you are, as long as you can be at peace about it and live your life.  The place certainly will not live my life for me, I have found that out.  I have to live it for myself.”

6. A preparation in gentleness

“There is one thing I must do here (and may I one day live here and do it all day long) and that is to prepare for my death.  But that means a preparation in gentleness.  A gentleness, a silence, a humility I have never had before…”

7. That of being ordinary

“Not solitude for the sake of something special, something exalted: solitude as the climate in which I can simply be what I am meant to be…  Like climbing down from a mountain or a pillar and starting all over again to behave as a human being – I need solitude for the true fulfillment which I seek – that of being ordinary.”

Which quotes do you like the best?

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