Defending Our Liberty – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – Peace in the Post-Christian Era edited by Patricia A. Burton

by Mark Votava

5136TSE0RGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Every man must in some sense be regarded as Christ

“The doctrine of the Incarnation makes the Christian obligated at once to God and to man.  If God has become man then no Christian is ever allowed to be indifferent to man’s fate.  Whoever believes that Christ is the Word made flesh believes that every man must in some sense be regarded as Christ…  Who can say with absolute certainty of any other man that Christ does not live in him?”

2. Confused, empty and discontented

“The chief reason why we are drifting into nuclear war is that we are confused, empty and discontented.  We have no spiritual and ethical center.  We do not have the motives which would enable us to build a peaceful world, because we do not have a sufficient reason to restrain our violence…”

3. Humanely work together

“It is for us to decide whether we are going to give in to hatred, terror and blind love of power for its own sake, and thus plunge our world into the abyss, or whether, restraining our savagery, we can patiently and humanely work together for interests which transcend the limits of any national or ideological community.”

4. Respecting our neighbor’s life

“Christians therefore have the obligation to treat every other man as Christ himself, respecting his neighbor’s life as if it were the life of Christ, his rights as if they were the rights of Christ…”

5. The hegemony of naked power

“Christianity, in a word, is everywhere yielding to the hegemony of naked power.”

6. Defending our liberty

“But are we so sure that when we speak of defending our liberty, our rights, our personal integrity, we are not purely and simply talking about irresponsibility, good times, a comfortable life, the freedom to make a bit of money.”

7. The central truth that gives meaning to all existence

“To say Christianity is the revelation of love means not simply that Christians are (or should be) nice charitable people.  It means that love is the key to life itself and to the whole meaning of the cosmos and of history.  If Christians, then, are without love they deprive all other men access to the central truth that gives meaning to all existence.”

8. Living example of peace, unity and love

“It must be admitted therefore that if the gospel of peace is no longer convincing on the lips of Christians, it may well be because they have ceased to give a living example of peace, unity and love…”

9. Embody truth in action

“Now above all is the time to embody Christian truth in action even more than in words…”

10. Social action teaches in a way that words never can

“What is needed now is the Christian who manifests the truth of the Gospel in social action, with or without explanation.  The more clearly his life manifests the teaching of Christ, the more salutary it will be.  Clear and decisive Christian social action explains itself, and teaches in a way that words never can.”

Which quotes do you like the best?

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