Mercy Heals In Every Way – 7 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Love and Living edited by Naomi Burton Stone and Patrick Hart
by Mark Votava
1. Sanity and spiritual balance
“If man is to recover his sanity and spiritual balance, there must be a renewal of communion between the traditional, contemplative disciplines and those of science, between the poet and the physicist, the priest and the depth psychologist, the monk and the politician.”
2. So addicted to war
“…man is so addicted to war that he cannot possibly deal with his addiction. And yet if he does not learn to cope with it, the addiction will ruin him altogether.”
3. Creating our own lives
“It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives. In doing this, we act as co-workers with God. We take our place in the great work of mankind, since in effect the creation of our own destiny, in God, is impossible in pure isolation. Each of us works out his own destiny in inseparable union with all those others with whom God has willed us to live. We share with one another the creative work of living in the world. And it is through our struggle with material reality, with nature, that we help one another create at the same time our own destiny and a new world for our descendants. This work of man, which is his peculiar and inseparable vocation, is a prolongation of the creative work of God… Failure to measure up to this challenge and to meet this creative responsibility is to fail in that response to life which is required of us by the will of our… Creator.”
4. Becoming ourselves
“There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.”
5. Confined within an iron law of selfhood
“If we love others only insofar as they love us, we are confined within an iron law of selfhood which seeks to assert our own existence and defend it (however hopelessly) against extinction. The love we thus give to others is the reward we offer them, the payment with which we buy their recognition of our own existence. With such love we only bribe them to help us persist in an illusion of a deathless and complete autonomy. As we bribe them by helping them defend the same illusion in themselves…”
6. The climate of mercy
“The climate of mercy, which is the climate of the new creation, depends on the realization that all men are acceptable before God…”
7. The only force that can truly heal
“Mercy heals in every way. It heals bodies, spirits, society, and history. It is the only force that can truly heal…”
How do you embody mercy in your everyday life?
Purchase Love and Living
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