Gratitude for Life – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – No Man is an Island

by Mark Votava

41tYJhDcp8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. The gift of love

“The gift of love is the gift of the power and the capacity to love, and, therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it.  So, love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.”

2. When action and contemplation dwell together

“When action and contemplation dwell together, filling our whole life because we are moved in all things by the Spirit of God, then we are spiritually mature…”

3. Mistakes are a part of our life

“Mistakes are part of our life, and not the least important part…  It is by making mistakes that we gain experience, not only for ourselves but for others.  And though our experience prevents neither ourselves nor others from making the same mistake many times, the repeated experience still has a positive value.”

4. A capacity for love

“Both the poverty and the nobility of our inmost being consists in the fact that it is a capacity for love…”

5. Present to ourselves

“Recollection should be seen not as an absence, but as a presence.  It makes us, first of all, present to ourselves.  It makes us present to whatever reality is most significant in the moment of time in which we are living.  And it makes us present to God…”

6. The infinite solitude of God dwelling within us

“Recollection is almost the same thing as interior solitude.  It is in recollection that we discover the finite solitude of our own heart, and the infinite solitude of God dwelling within us.  Unless these vast horizons have opened out in the center of our lives, we can hardly see things in perspective…”

7. Gratitude for life

“For the full fruitfulness of the spiritual life begins in gratitude for life, in the consent to live…”

8. The secrecy, the hiddenness, the solitude of our own individual being

“A person is a person insofar as he has a secret and is a solitude of his own that cannot be communicated to anyone else.  If I love a person, I will love that which most makes him a person: the secrecy, the hiddenness, the solitude of his own individual being, which God alone can… understand.”

9. The secret resources of our own incommunicable personality

“When human society fulfills its true function the persons who form it grow more and more in their individual freedom and personal integrity.  And the more each individual develops and discovers the secret resources of his own incommunicable personality, the more he can contribute to the life and the weal of the whole.  Solitude is as necessary for society as silence is for language and air for the lungs and food for the body.”

10. Where Christ lives and speaks

“If our life is poured out in useless words we will never hear anything in the depths of our hearts, where Christ lives and speaks in silence.  We will never be anything, and in the end, when the time comes for us to declare who and what we are, we shall be found speechless at the moment of the crucial decision: for we shall have said everything and exhausted ourselves in speech before we had anything to say.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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