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Words of Wisdom

Christ, The Incarnate Word: From Thoughts in Solitude by the Reverend Thomas Merton (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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The Reverend Thomas Merton, an important Catholic mystic and spiritual thinker, was born in 1915, to a New Zealand father and an American mother. During his monastic life, Thomas Merton developed his writing talent by translating religious texts and writing biographies. He also penned poetry, as well as books and articles on topics ranging from spirituality to social justice and peace. Today, we will read a selection from Thomas Merton’s book, “Thoughts in Solitude.”

“If you want to have a spiritual life, you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire. To unify your life, unify your desires. To spiritualize your life, spiritualize your desires. To spiritualize your desires, desire to be without desire.”

“The 28th chapter of Job (also of Baruch 3) tells us that the wisdom of God is hidden and impossible to find — and yet ends by assuming that it is easily found, for the fear of the Lord is wisdom. A monk must never look for wisdom outside his vocation. If he does, he will never find wisdom, because for him wisdom is in his vocation.”

“Reading ought to be an act of homage to the God of all Truth. We open our hearts to words that reflect the reality He has created or the greater Reality which He is. It is also an act of humility and reverence towards other men who are the instruments by which God communicated His Truth to us. Reading gives God more glory when we get more out of it, when it is a more deeply vital act not only of our intelligence, but of our whole personality, absorbed and refreshed in thought, meditation, prayer, or even in the contemplation of God.”

“Humility is a virtue, not a neurosis. It sets us free to act virtuously, to serve God and to know Him. Therefore, true humility can never inhibit any really virtuous action, nor can it prevent us from fulfilling ourselves by doing the will of God. Humility sets us free to do what is really good, by showing us our illusions and withdrawing our will from what was only an apparent good.”

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