8 Wonderful Books By Thomas Merton You Don’t Want To Miss  

by Mark Votava

1. The Sign of Jonas41sdg2pPluL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“And so I live alone… in the midst of the holy beauty of all created things, knowing that nothing I can see or hear or touch will ever belong to me, ashamed of my absurd need to give myself away to any one of them or to all of them. The silly, hopeless passion to give myself away to any beauty eats out my heart. It is an unworthy desire, but I cannot avoid it. It is in the hearts of us all, and we have to bear with it, suffer its demands with patience…”

41WXKyiIpJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_2. Mystics and Zen Masters

“…my ‘identity’ is to be sought not in that separation from all that is, but in oneness (indeed, ‘convergence’?) with all that is. This identity is not the denial of my own personal reality but its highest affirmation…”

3. The New Man41yINHj74-L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

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

download (10)4. Raids on the Unspeakable

“Let us obey life, and the Spirit of Life that calls us to be poets, and we shall harvest many new fruits for which the world hungers – fruits of hope that have never been seen before. With these fruits we shall calm the resentments and the rage of man.”

5. Spiritual Direction and Meditation510UChsojLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“We are afraid to make this spontaneous gift, afraid of spontaneity itself because we have been so warped by the idea that everything spontaneous is ‘merely natural’ and that for a work to be supernatural it has to go against the grain, it has to frustrate and disgust us. The truth is, of course, quite different. It is necessary for us to frustrate and overcome our… selfish and exterior self, the compulsive and automatic self that is really incapable of true love. But when we do this we set free our interior, simple self, our godlike self, the image of God, ‘Christ in us,’ and we become able to love God with spiritual liberty…”

41xnf5CAkxL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_6. Bread in the Wilderness

“We are transformed in the midst of a discovery…”

7. Thoughts in Solitude41e9ou6sQ0L

“There is not much use talking to men about God and love if they are not able to listen. The ears with which one hears the message of the Gospel are hidden in man’s heart, and these ears do not hear anything unless they are favored with a certain interior solitude and silence.”

41krGsmoSWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_8. The Silent Life

“Compunction is a spiritual grace, an insight into our own depths which, in one glance, sees through our illusions about ourselves, sweeps aside our self-deceptions and daydreams, and shows us ourselves exactly as we are. But at the same time it is a movement of love and freedom, a liberation from falsity, a glad and grateful acceptance of the truth, with the resolution to live in contact with the deep spiritual reality which has been opened up to our vision: the reality of God’s will in our lives.”

Have you read any of these wonderful books by Thomas Merton? 

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