The Mystery of Life – 11 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The Living Bread

by Mark Votava

6186DVGVN2L._SX297_BO1,204,203,200_1. The mystery of life

“For the mystery of life can only be known by being lived…”

2. Being at peace with ourselves

“The whole problem of our time is the problem of love: how are we going to recover the ability to love ourselves and to love one another?  The reason why we hate one another and fear one another is that we secretly or openly hate and fear our own selves.  And we hate ourselves because the depths of our being are a chaos of frustration and spiritual misery.  Lonely and helpless, we cannot be at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves…”

3. A journey in spirit

“Our journey into the desert is not a journey in space, but a journey in spirit…  This life in spirit and in truth, this life in God, which we live while remaining in the world, does not diminish our appreciation for the reality of the creation with which God has surrounded us.  It makes it more real for us, because we now see all ordinary created things in a new light…”

4. Being enlightened by Christ

“It is God’s will that we be enlightened by Christ…”

5. The simplicity of the Gospels

“The simplicity of the Gospels, if kept in mind, makes false mysticism impossible.  Christ has delivered us forever from the esoteric and strange.  He has brought the light of God to our own level to transfigure our ordinary existence.”

6. By loving one another

“It is by loving one another that we are incorporated in Christ, enlightened by Christ.”

7. It is by love

“…for it is by love that we become one Mystical Body, one Christ…”

8. The principle of unity

“However Jesus gives us His body not merely as the principle of our own individual life and sanctification, but as the principle of unity in His Mystical Body…”

9. The mystery of solitude and communion

“The life of every man is a mystery of solitude and communion…  On the natural level, man’s life is more of a solitude than a communion.  Man fears solitude, yet the society in which he seeks refuge from his aloneness does not protect him adequately from his own insufficiency.”

10. The hidden movement of Christ within our souls

“Each one of us is called to play a special part (even though that part may seem hidden and unimportant) in the building up of the body of Christ.  The supernatural actions by which we carry on the work entrusted to us bind us more and more closely with the other members of the body in fraternal cooperation.  And these deeds proceed from the hidden movement of Christ within our souls – the action of special graces, graces of state, graces proper to our own peculiar and individual vocation…”

11. Christ living in us one and all

“We truly become our real selves by living for others in Christ.  In living for Christ… we are at the same time living for others and for ourselves.  The highest good of all is Christ Himself, living in us one and all, and acting on us all to produce a common charity in all our hearts by the movements of the Spirit which knit us more and more perfectly together in Christ…”

Which quote is your favorite?

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