The Mystic – 13 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The New Man

by Mark Votava

41yINHj74-L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_1. Without awareness

“The fulness of human life cannot be measured by anything that happens only to the body.  Life is not merely a matter of physical vigor, or of health, or of the capacity to enjoy oneself.  What is life?  It is something far more than the breath in our nostrils, the blood beating in our wrists, the response to physical stimulation.  True, all these things are essential for a fully human life, but they do not themselves constitute that life in all its fulness.  A man can have all this and still be an idiot.  And one who merely breathes, eats, sleeps and works, without awareness, without purpose and without ideas of his own is not really a man.  Life, in this purely physical sense, is merely the absence of death.  Such people do not live, they vegetate.”

2. The soul’s structure

“The ‘image’ of God is found in the soul’s structure – awareness, thought, love…”

3. Pride and selfishness

“For pride is a stubborn insistence on being what we are not and never were intended to be.  Pride is a deep, insatiable need for unreality, an exorbitant demand that others believe the lie we have made ourselves believe about ourselves.  It infects at once man’s person and the whole society he lives in…  Pride and selfishness then react upon one another in a vicious circle, each one greatly enlarging the other’s capacity to destroy our life…”

4. To know myself fully

“But if my true spiritual identity is found in my identification with Christ, then to know myself fully, I must know Christ…”

5. One and the same thing

“…for Christianity and Christian mysticism were, originally, one and the same thing…”

6. If we think we see perfectly

“If we think we see perfectly, after all our speculation, we deceive ourselves…”

7. Love is specified not by laws

“Love is specified not by laws but by persons.  Love has its laws, but they are concrete, existential laws based on values hidden in the very person of the Beloved…”

8. Our own liberty

Without the free and conscious and clearly realized exercise of our own liberty we cannot become, in the full sense, persons.”

9. Our deepest self

The deep option that makes us free, and thereby brings to life our true, our deepest self, is a resurrection of Christ in our own lives…”

10. The absence of a reality

“Death is not a reality, but the absence of a reality…”

11. We are never fully ourselves

“In order to be fully himself, man needs to love another as himself…  We are never fully ourselves until we realize that those we truly love become our ‘other selves’…”

12. The mystic

“The ‘mystic’ is simply the ‘spiritual’ man in the fullest sense of the word ‘spiritual’…”

13. To awaken to one’s own reality

“Who can comprehend or explain the mystery of what it means to awaken to one’s own reality as an existential consequence of the fact that we are loved by Reality itself?…”

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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