A Solitude Of Our Own – 8 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – No Man Is An Island

by Mark Votava

41tYJhDcp8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Evasion is the answer of superstition

“This discovery of Christ is never genuine if it is nothing but a flight from ourselves. On the contrary, it cannot be an escape… I cannot discover God in myself… unless I have the courage to face myself exactly as I am, with all my limitations, and to accept others as they are, with all their limitations… Evasion is the answer of superstition.”

2. Be true to the ones we love and to ourselves

“Love, then, must be true to the ones we love and to ourselves, and also to its own laws. I cannot be true to myself if I pretend to have more in common than I actually have with someone whom I may like for a selfish and unworthy reason.”

3. Happiness consists in

“Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one necessary thing’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.”

4. Everyone has a vocation: to be themselves

“Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself.”

5. Sharing in the common good

“There are plenty of men who will give up their interests for the sake of ‘society,’ but cannot stand any of the people they live with. As long as we regard other men as obstacles to our own happiness we are the enemies of society and we have only a very small capacity for sharing in the common good.”

6. More than a mere turning inward upon ourselves

“Recollection is more than a mere turning inward upon ourselves, and it does not necessarily mean the denial or exclusion of exterior things. Sometimes we are more recollected, quieter, simple and pure, when we see through exterior things and see God in them than when we turn away from them to shut them out of our minds. Recollection does not deny sensible things, it sets them in order. Either they are significant to it, and it sees their significance, or else they have no special meaning, their meaninglessness remains innocent and neutral…”

7. The infinite solitude of God dwelling within us

“Recollection is almost the same thing as interior solitude. It is in recollection that we discover the finite solitude of our own heart, and the infinite solitude of God dwelling within us. Unless these vast horizons have opened out in the center of our lives, we can hardly see things in perspective. Our judgements are not in proportion with things as they are…”

8. A solitude of our own

“A person is a person insofar as he has a secret and is a solitude of his own that cannot be communicated to anyone else. If I love a person, I will love that which most makes him a person: the secrecy, the hiddenness, the solitude of his own individual being…”

Have you created and discovered a solitude of your own?

Purchase No Man Is An Island