New Areas of Thought – 13 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Witness to Freedom: Letters in Times of Crisis edited by William H. Shannon

by Mark Votava

download (14)1. The power of silence

“And I do not underestimate the power of silence…”

2. To be true to our conscience in everything

“We have to be true to our conscience in everything, and true to humanity, for man is the image of God.  This image cannot be defaced or destroyed.  It must not.  To defend it is to defend that which is most dear to God…”

3. Deep humble sincerity

“Have courage to follow your conscience.  Seek the truth with deep humble sincerity…”

4. Opening up new areas of thought

“Every slightest effort at opening up new areas of thought, every attempt to perceive new aspects of truth, or just a little truth, is of inestimable value in preparing the way for the light we cannot yet see.”

5. Man is at once a part of nature

“…man is at once a part of nature and he transcends it.  In maintaining this delicate balance, he must make use of nature wisely, and understand his position, ultimately relating both himself and visible nature to the invisible – in my terms the Creator, in any case, to the source and exemplar of all being and all life.”

6. Learn to be wide open

“…we have got to learn to be wide open, and not get closed up in little tight systems and cliques…”

7. One of the crucial thresholds

“There can be no question whatever that mankind now stands at one of the crucial thresholds of his existence.  In some sense it is the most crucial since his entire future is to a great extent in his own hands.  In the sense that he can determine that future, but not in the sense that he knows entirely what he is doing since he cannot foresee all the results of his decision.  And also it will do him no good to hang back or try to avoid the decision, because even not deciding is a decision and will have its own (I think unfortunate) results.”

8. Strength, patience, light, love

“May God give you strength, patience, light and love…”

9. Hate and violence

“Everybody is wrong when he lives by hate and violence…”

10. In the depths of your soul

“In the depths of your soul you will have peace but on the surface you will have restlessness and conflict…”

11. Healing and renewal

“…your love will now be, in this life, a blessed force for healing and renewal…”

12. Restored to every part of the world

“…one must still hope that peace and justice and order will be restored to every part of the world…  How tragic it is that everywhere men fall victims to the tyranny of absurd ideologies and empty slogans, which have awful far-reaching consequences.”

13. Complete detachment from results

“So we are reminded of the necessity for complete ‘purity’ in our non-violent action: complete detachment from results.  We must act only because the act itself is true, and expresses the truth.  We must not even demand that the truth be immediately recognized.  Still less must we expect to be congratulated…”

Which quote do you like the best?

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

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