The Goodness of All Things – 15 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Thoughts in Solitude

by Mark Votava

41e9ou6sQ0L1. The pleasure of a good act

“The pleasure of a good act is something to be remembered – not in order to feed our complacency but in order to remind us that virtuous actions are not only possible and valuable, but that they can become easier and more delightful and more fruitful than the acts of vice which oppose and frustrate them.”

2. Complain of everything

“There is no neutrality between gratitude and ingratitude.  Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything.  Those who do not love, hate.  In the spiritual life there is no such thing as an indifference to love or hate.  That is why tepidity (which seems to be indifferent) is so detestable.  It is hate disguised as love.”

3. True gratitude and hypocrisy cannot coexist

“True gratitude and hypocrisy cannot exist together.  They are totally incompatible.  Gratitude of itself makes us sincere – or if it does not, then it is not true gratitude.”

4. Life reveals itself

“Life reveals itself to us only in so far as we live it.”

5. My knowledge of myself in silence

“My knowledge of myself in silence… opens out into the silence and the ‘subjectivity’ of God’s own self.”

6. Interior silence is impossible

“Interior silence is impossible without mercy and without humility.”

7. Until we have begun to fail

“The solution of the problem of life is life itself.  Life is not attained by reasoning and analysis, but first of all by living.  For until we have begun to live our prudence has no material to work on.  And until we have begun to fail we have no way of working out our success.”

8. We prefer analysis to silence

“Contradictions have always existed in the soul of man.  But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem.  We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.”

9. The silence of God in ourselves and one another

“It is necessary that we find the silence of God not only in ourselves but also in one another…”

10. The heart of the solitary life

“Gratitude is therefore the heart of the solitary life…”

11. All that goes on in the depths of God

“The life of solitude therefore must be a continual communion and thanksgiving in which we behold by faith all that goes on in the depths of God…”

12. Do not flee to solitude from the community

“Do not flee to solitude from the community.  Find God first in the community…”

13. The mirror of God

“We find God in our own being which is the mirror of God.”

14. A perfect act of humility

“A perfect act of faith should, at the same time, be a perfect act of humility.”

15. The goodness of all things

“The further I advance into solitude the more clearly I see the goodness of all things.”

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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