Unity Among Ourselves – 12 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – Survival or Prophecy? The Letters of Thomas Merton & Jean Leclercq edited by Patrick Hart  

by Mark Votava

51LWPMSbXsL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_1. The more we work for unity among ourselves

“Indeed, I think the more we work for unity among ourselves, the better it will be.”

2. Learning to follow Christ

“Pray that I may learn to follow Christ.”

3. When one is more or less content with the “nothing”

“The question of solitude is no longer any kind of a question.  I leave everything in the hands of God…  I am content.  But the right kind of contentment is a perfect solitude.  When one is more or less content with the ‘nothing’ that is at hand one finds in it everything…”

4. My interior solitude grows more and more

“At least I know that my interior solitude grows more and more.”

5. The tensions and pressures

“…when I have continuous solitude for a more or less extended period, it means a great deal and is certainly the best remedy for the tensions and pressures that I generate when I am with the community.  It is indeed the only really satisfactory remedy that I have been able to find…  Also, this little bit of solitude helps me to appreciate the real values that do exist in the common life, though they certainly manage to get hidden when I get too much of them…”

6. Not imposed on them from the outside

“For some people, the solitary life is their only way of truth, and it is their truth precisely insofar as it is not imposed on them from the outside.  Some people are congenitally incapable of understanding this…”

7. Nothing apparently happens at all

“But it is really an excellent life.  Time takes on a completely different quality and one really lives, even though nothing apparently happens at all…”

8. Never understood money or success 

“That which I see in my own labors is as much a surprise to me as it is to anybody else.  Nor can I find in myself the power to get very interested in that success.  I do not claim this to be a virtue, because I never really understood money anyway.”

9. Requires great energy and attention

“All that I hoped to find in solitude is really here, and more.  At the same time I can see that one cannot trifle with solitude as one can with the common life.  It requires great energy and attention, but of course without constant grace it would be useless to expect these…”

10. United to all of you in the silence of God

“Believe me ever united to all of you in the silence of God…”

11. Our own poverty and weakness 

“The very idea of the solitary life is to live in direct dependence on God, and in constant awareness of our own poverty and weakness.”

12. We must be poor, and live by God alone 

“I have stopped writing, and that is a big relief.  I intend to renounce it for good if I can live in solitude.  I realize that I have perhaps suffered more than I knew from this ‘writing career.’  Writing is deep in my nature, and I cannot deceive myself that it will be very easy for me to do without it.  At least I can get along without the public and without my reputation!  Those are not essentially connected with the writing instinct.  But the whole business tends to corrupt the purity of one’s spirit of faith.  It obscures the clarity of one’s view of God and of divine things.  It vitiates one’s sense of spiritual reality, for as long as one imagines himself to be accomplishing something he tends to become rich in his own eyes. But we must be poor, and live by God alone – whether we write or whatever else we may do.  The time has come for me to enter more deeply into that poverty.”

What is your favorite quote here?

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