Thomas Merton

Enter Into The Invisible Work

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“If we love one another truly, our love will be graced with a clear-sighted prudence which sees and respects the designs of God upon each separate soul. Our love for one another must be rooted in a deep devotion to Divine Providence, a devotion that abandons our own limited plans into the hands of God and seeks only to enter into the invisible work that builds His Kingdom. Only a love that senses the designs of Providence can unite itself perfectly to God’s providential action upon souls. Faithful submission to God’s secret working in the world will fill our love with piety, that is to say with supernatural awe and respect. This respect, this piety, gives our love the character of worship, without which our charity can never be quite complete. For love must not only seek the truth in the lives of those around us; it must find it there. But when we find the truth that shapes our lives we have found more than an idea. We have found a Person. We have come upon the actions of One Who is still hidden, but Whose work proclaims Him holy and worthy to be adored. And in Him we also find ourselves.”

~ Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

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By The Gatehouse

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“O Lord my God, where have I been sleeping? What have I been doing? How slowly I awaken once again to the barrenness of my life and its confusion. You will forgive me if it is often that way—I do not mean it to be. How little faith there has been in me—how inert have been my hours of solitude, how my time has been wasted. You will forgive me if next week, too, my time is all wasted and I am once again in confusion. But at least this afternoon, sitting on a boulder among the birches, I thought with compunction of Your love. . . . And again tonight, by the gatehouse, I thought of the hope You have planted in our hearts.”

~ Thomas Merton, A Search For Solitude

Painting by Stanislav Yulianovich Zhukovsky (1926)

Your Own Poverty

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“Surrender your own poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon.”

~ Thomas Merton, The Hidden Ground Of Love

Painting by Vincent Van Gogh

Already Free

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“It may be that we are not capable of existing except in a state in which we imagine ourselves to be under domination. In that event, resentment may help to make the situation acceptable, but it can never make us healthy. It is only a justification, a pretense that we would be free if we could. But what if we discovered that we are, in fact, already free?”

~ Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Painting by André Brasilier (1929)