More Merton Excerpts
Compiled by Fred Pruitt
These are all taken from "Thomas Merton, Brother Monk" by M. Basil Pennington, who was Merton's friend and also a Trappist monk.
"The best way to pray is to stop. Let prayer pray within you, whether you know it or not. This means a deep awareness of our true identity ... By grace we are Christ. Our relationship with God is that of Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit."
"We exist solely for this, to be the place God has chosen for His presence, his manifestation in the world, his epiphany ... If we once began to recognize this, humbly but truly, the real value of our own self, we would see that this value was the sign of God in our being, the signature of God upon our being."
This next is not a direct quote from Merton, but a paraphrase of him by Pennington:
"It begins with being, with God as the creator of everything. What is first in intention is last in execution. If we want to know the reason for all that is, it is to be found in what God intended. ... What God intended when he first decided to create was a Person. This Person is the Bride of the Word -- as all the imagery in the Gospel of wedding feasts and the like brings out. In this concept of being, then, all of us are the one person together; each one of us in our individuality is at heart this one Person. We are told to love one another as ourself -- not as if the other person is ourself but because she or he IS ourself, our deeper self. As Merton wrote in the Japanese edition of The New Man [my favorite Merton book -- fred], all are 'created, redeemed, and loved by God, and all are "one in Christ" in the sense that all are known to God as One Man, the universal Man, Christ, the Son of God.
"If one asks, then, what will we be at the end, I would answer that we will be one with God, we will be, in a sense, God. God will be all in all ... This is what Christ prayed for on the eve of his sacrifice that made all this possible, as he gave us the Eucharist by which it is perfected: 'May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe that it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one.' The oneness we have in God in Christ Jesus is beyond anything we can comprehend, even as we cannot comprehend how the Father and the Son are one in the Trinity. it is a oneness we CAN HARDLY EXAGGERATE [emphasis mine, fred]. Yet it frightens us.
"We should let God draw us into himself and let him transform us into himself and not hold back and worry about pantheism. Let us be open to where he can bring us and realize there is no way in which we can exaggerate what he intends for us. 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the human mind what God has prepared for those who love him.'"
"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." (Ps 73:25)