Entirely Available to Love – 8 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The New Man

by Mark Votava

41yINHj74-L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_1. Expand and extend our power to love others

“For a man to be alive, he must exercise not only the acts that belong to vegetative and animal life, he must not only subsist, grow, be sentient, not only move himself around, feed himself, and the rest.  He must carry on the activities proper to his own specifically human kind of life.  He must, that is to say, think intelligibly.  Above all he must direct his actions by free decisions, made in the light of his own thinking.  These decisions, moreover, must tend to his own intellectual and moral and spiritual growth.  They must tend to make him more aware of his capacities for knowledge and for free action.  They must expand and extend his power to love others, and to dedicate himself to their good: for it is in this that he finds his fulfillment.”

2. The full meaning of our existence

“To find the full meaning of our existence we must find not the meaning that we expect but the meaning that is revealed to us by God…”

3. Our own personal existence

“Man is fully alive only when he experiences, at least to some extent, that he is really spontaneously dedicating himself, in all truth, to the real purpose of his own personal existence…”

4. Our deepest and truest self

“Grace is given us for the precise purpose of enabling us to discover and actualize our deepest and truest self…”

5. Humility is absolutely necessary

“Humility, therefore, is absolutely necessary if man is to avoid acting like a baby all his life.  To grow up means, in fact, to become humble, to throw away the illusion that I am the center of everything and that other people only exist to provide me with comfort and pleasure…”

6. Mysticism

“The spiritual anguish of man has no cure but mysticism.”

7. Conscious of everything trivial

“Having lost his realization of his true identity, man has exchanged the peace of innocent self-realization for the agony of guilt-ridden self-awareness.  Instead of being perfectly actualized in spirit, integrated and unified in the selfless ecstasy of a contemplation that goes out entirely to the ‘other,’ man is literally ‘dis-tracted’ – pulled apart – by an almost infinite number of awarenesses.  He is conscious of everything trivial, remembers everything except what is most necessary, feels everything that he should not feel, yields to demands that he should never even hear, looks everywhere, pays attention to every creaking board and rattling shutter in his haunted house.  For his soul and body, created to be a temple of God, cannot help but seem a haunted place after the desecration that has evicted its only rightful dweller.  It is of no avail to try to exorcise the accusing silence by turning the place into a den of thieves.  No amount of business prosperity and luxury can hide the abomination of desolation within us.”

8. Entirely available to love

“There are few true contemplatives in the world because there are few men who are completely lost to themselves and entirely available to love…”

Which quotes are your favorite?

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

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