Thomas Merton

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)

Simple Presence

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“Before undertaking any project, assuming any stance, fulfilling any purpose, we are called upon to abide ourselves, to do what we do, to “just live,” and in simple presence to life learn to expect nothing out of anything and everything out of nothing.”

~ James Finely, Merton’s Palace of Nowhere

Painting by Julian Alden Weir (1908)

The Great Revelation

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“And so the true nature of the struggle of the dark night begins to appear. The great revelation is that, if our struggle is authentic, we find we are not alone.”

~ James Finley, Merton’s Palace of Nowhere

Painting by Louis Tribsees Douzette (1869)