God Living In Us – 11 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – The Monastic Journey edited by Patrick Hart

by Mark Votava


1. We must reverence all creation

“We must, first of all, see all material things in the light of the mystery of the incarnation. We must reverence all creation because the word was made flesh.”

2. The created universe

“The created universe is a temple of God…”

3. Stability makes us renounce the urge to travel

“Stability makes us renounce the urge to travel and to change our way of life…”

4. Peace does not mean the suppression of all differences

“Peace does not mean the suppression of all differences, but their coexistence and fruitful collaboration.  Peace does not consist in one man, one party, one nation, crushing and dominating everyone else.  Peace exists where men who have the power to be enemies are, instead, friends by reason of the sacrifices they have made in order to meet one another on a higher level, where the differences between them are no longer a source of conflict.”

5. God living in us

“The true contemplative life is then simply a deep… understanding of the ordinary Christian life which, for all that we call it ‘ordinary’ is the most wonderful of all miracles: God… living in us!”

6. Love is a matter of giving, not of getting

“Faith alone can provide sufficiently strong motives to make the sacrifices that love demands: for love is a matter of giving, not of getting.  Love seeks its highest reward in its own gift of itself, and as long as it bends back upon itself to enjoy any other recompense, it tends to destroy its own being and return to nothingness.”

7. Community life is impossible without struggle

“…community life is impossible without struggle and without at least occasional bursts of strongly felt repugnance.  Such things must be felt.  There is a great difference between feeling them and willing them.  There is no serious danger in an emotional repugnance that leads us to face the truth about ourselves, and shows us where sacrifice really needs to be made.”

8. The presence of God in us

“It is folly to think of grace in terms of ‘supply’, as if it were a material commodity that we could pile up and preserve for ourselves…  Grace is simply the intensity and vitality of our life in God.  It is a special quality of soul resulting from the radiation of the divine life in us, and from the presence of God in us.”

9. God cannot be contained

“God cannot be contained in a concept…”

10. Deep interest and love and wonder

“Recollection in the fullest sense implies not only an alert spirit, but also deep interest and love and wonder.”

11. Love, patience, forbearance, mutual understanding

“The real secret of… stability is, then, the total acceptance of God’s plan… to be inserted into the mystery of Christ through this particular family and no other…  It means the glad realization of the fact that all who are called together will work out their salvation in common, will help one another find God more easily… by our love, our patience, our forbearance and our efforts at mutual understanding.”

Which quotes do you like the best?

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