Deep Inner Patience – 7 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – The Road to Joy: Letters to New and Old Friends edited by Robert E. Daggy

by Mark Votava

512NQR36S9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. We have got to do some thinking for ourselves

“I think that we citizens of the United States, as a nation, ought to make more serious efforts to act our age and think in proportion to our size.  For this, a whole lot of people who never thought about anything serious in their lives are going to have wake up and start thinking about their moral and political responsibilities.  It is no good going on emotions and prejudices and slogans and feelings of righteous indignation.  It is no good simply letting our minds become a passive reflection of a television screen.  It is no good going around shouting something that someone else has suggested that we shout, no matter what it may be.  If we want to become a seriously political nation, the people have got to do some thinking for themselves.”

2. Money and power and comfort and having a good time

“Liberty begins inside your own souls.  Our souls cannot be free if we believe only in money and power and comfort and having a good time…” 

3. Life tends to get a little lonely sometimes

“I know that as one grows older life tends to get a little lonely sometimes, but we have to look at that in the right way: it can bring us closer to God…”

4. A deep inner patience

“Most of you, even with all that you have to suffer, are much better off than you realize.  Yet the heart of man can be full of so much pain, even when things are exteriorly ‘all right.’  It becomes all the more difficult because today we are used to thinking that there are explanations for everything.  But there is no explanation for most of what goes on in our own hearts, and we cannot account for it all.  No use resorting to the kind of mental tranquilizers that even religious explanations sometimes offer.  Faith must be deeper than that, rooted in the unknown and in the abyss of darkness that is the ground of our being.  No use teasing the darkness to try to make answers grow out of it.  But if we learn how to have a deep inner patience, things solve themselves, or God solves them if you prefer: but do not expect to see how.  Just learn to wait, and do what you can and help other people.  Often in helping someone else we find the best way to bear with our own trouble.” 

5. The futility of a life wasted in argument

“When one gets older… one realizes the futility of a life wasted in argument when it should be given entirely to love.”

6. The conversion of my own life

“As for me, the job of renewal boils down to the conversion of my own life.  That is quite a job in itself…”

7. A deep authentic community of love

“The times are difficult.  They call for courage and faith.  Faith is in the end a lonely virtue.  Lonely especially where a deep authentic community of love is not an accomplished fact, but a job to be begun over and over…”

Which quotes do you like the best?

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