Enlightenment and Transformation – 9 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Seasons of Celebration

by Mark Votava

41lLmNsvmoL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_1. The mystery of the person

“Christian personalism is, then, the sacramental sharing of the inner secret of personality in the mystery of love.  This sharing demands full respect for the mystery of the person, whether it be our own person, or the person of our neighbor, or the infinite secret of God.  In fact, Christian personalism is the discovery of one’s own inmost self, and of the inmost self of one’s neighbor, in the mystery of Christ…”

2. The creative virtuosity of choice

“…time does not limit freedom, but gives it scope for its exercise and for choice.  Time for the Christian is then the sphere of his spontaneity, a sacramental gift in which he can allow his freedom to deploy itself in joy, in the creative virtuosity of choice…  For God takes pleasure not in dictating predetermined solutions to providential riddles, but in giving man the opportunity to choose and create for himself solutions that are glorious in their very contingency.”

3. The cycle of the seasons

“Christ has given a special meaning and power to the cycle of the seasons, which of themselves are ‘good’ and by their very nature have a capacity to signify our life in God: for the seasons express the rhythm of natural life…”

4. Enlightenment and transformation

“It is a year of salvation, but also a year of enlightenment and of transformation.”

5. To seek and find Christ in our world

“But the fact remains that our task is to seek and find Christ in our world as it is, and not as it might be.  The fact that the world is other than it might be does not alter the truth that Christ is present in it…  What is uncertain is not the ‘coming’ of Christ but our own reception of Him, our own response to Him, our readiness and capacity to ‘go forth to meet Him’…”

6. Cross the frontier

“The secret of the Advent mystery is then the awareness that I begin where I end because Christ begins where I end.  In more familiar terms: I live to Christ when I die to myself.  I begin to live to Christ when I come to the ‘end’ or to the ‘limit’ of what divides me from my fellow man: when I am willing to step beyond this end, cross the frontier, become a stranger, enter into the wilderness which is not ‘myself,’ where I do not breathe the air or hear the familiar, comforting racket of my own city, where I am alone and defenseless in the desert of God.”

7. The revelation of a mystery

“Christianity is not so much a body of doctrine as the revelation of a mystery…”

8. To nourish our spirit

“Jesus, Who has come to nourish our spirit with His own Body and Blood, does so not to be transformed into us, but in order to transform us into Himself.  He has given Himself to us in order that we may belong to Him…”

9. The world rings and resounds

“The saint is one who is in contact with God in every possible way, in every possible direction.  He is united to God in the depths of his own being.  He sees and touches God in everything and everyone around him.  Everywhere he goes, the world rings and resounds (though silently) with the deep pure harmonies of God’s glory.”

Which quotes do you like the best?

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