1. The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
2. Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another.
3. Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
4. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
5. Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: Thomas Merton (31 January 1915 – 10 December 1968) was a 20th century American Catholic writer. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist and student of comparative religion. He wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, the Japanese writer on the Zen tradition, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton is the subject of several biographies.
Sayings by Thomas Merton
1. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
2. Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.
3. We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
4. Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
5. You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.
6. If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.
7. To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
8. The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.
9. Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.
10. If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.
11. A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.
Books by Thomas Merton
1. Praying the Psalms (By Thomas Merton)
2. The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton (New Directions Paperwork, 587)
3. Thomas Merton’s Paradise Journey
4. Walking With Thomas Merton
5. The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton (New Directions Paperbook)
6. The Vision of Thomas Merton
7. The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (New Directions Book)