Living Together With Wisdom – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Journals
by Mark Votava
1. Blocks our growth and happiness
“But we substitute an artificial, mythological norm for our own inner truth, and when it blocks our growth and happiness, we look for mythological reasons. We diagnose in terms of myth, to justify the myth at our own expense… We depend on the myths we fabricate (with the help of others) and block our lives by resorting to them…” June 23, 1966 Learning to Love
2. Living together with wisdom
“But what more do I seek than this silence, this simplicity, this ‘living together with wisdom’? For me there is nothing else…” January 31, 1965 Dancing in the Water of Life
3. Power prevents renewal
“Power prevents renewal. Power prevents real change…” May 6 1968 The Other Side of the Mountain
4. Act in all things out of genuine love
“The thing is to cling to God’s will and truth in their purity and try to be sincere and to act in all things out of genuine love, in so far as I can.” January 25, 1962 Turning Toward the World
5. We have to leave all
“We have to leave all and follow Christ…” November 24, 1941
6. See what happens
“Before one knows the meaning of what happens, we must be able to see what happens…” November 21, 1958 A Search for Solitude
7. What a mistake it is
“What a mistake it is to judge your community at all! It is the community God has chosen and planned for your sanctification… You must work to improve it… But if you fail, do not despair and think everything is wasted. Does God’s glory depend on the success of your ideas? Does your sanctity consist in bringing everybody around to see things the way you see them?…” March 25, 1948 Entering the Silence
8. To live in poverty
“It is no use waiting now. I desire very much to begin to live in poverty, more than anything on earth. And this is a chance, and I pray that I may take it, and not lose it, and begin now to really follow Christ… And this in great earnestness and love and devotion, not for the peace and relief it must give anybody, at first, to follow the Gospel literally and without any further sophistry…” November 4, 1941 Run to the mountain
9. Need discipline
“Need discipline, and need to get my solitary life more organized. I can see this is the big battle – to stay centered on something and not float out into space. The need for seriousness. Yet it is serious, and constantly so…” November 30 1964 Dancing in the Water of Life
10. Does love have to make perfect sense?
“Love is a key to a hidden answer in us… Does love too have to make perfect sense?…” June 21, 1966 Learning to Love
Do you need more discipline in everyday life?
My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!
“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism
My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!
“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline… without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.” Shane Claiborne, author and activist