37 Thomas Merton Quotes That Will Motivate You For Change

Thomas Merton was a monk from the 12th century who has been called “the most influential Catholic writer of the 20th century.” He was a Christian mystic and religious teacher who wrote extensively on spirituality, especially on suffering and God.

He wrote more than 200 books, many of which were translated into English. Like many other writers who have been influential in our history, he was an atheist until he died in 1968. Nonetheless, he is considered by many to be one of the greatest saints of all time.

Here is the list of his inspirational quotes that will describe his insight into the topics that will help you reach your goals.

37 Thomas Merton Quotes That Will Motivate You For Change

1. “The solution of the problem of life is life itself. Life is not attained by reason and analysis but first of all by living.” ~ Thomas Merton

2. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton

3. “A man can radically change his life and attain to a deeper meaning, a more perfect integration, a more complete fulfillment, a more total liberty of spirit than are possible in the routines of a purely active existence centered on money-making.” ~ Thomas Merton

4. “Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” ~ Thomas Merton

5. “My life is … a mystery which I do not attempt to really understand, as though I were led by the hand in a night where I see nothing, but can fully depend on the Love and Protection of Him Who guides me.” ~ Thomas Merton

6. “Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for Joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and joy you have not yet begun to live.” ~ Thomas Merton

7. “The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.” ~ Thomas Merton

8. “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.” ~ Thomas Merton

9. “You are made in the image of what you desire.” ~ Thomas Merton

10. “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.” ~ Thomas Merton

11. “If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.” ~ Thomas Merton

12. “Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.” ~ Thomas Merton

13. “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.” ~ Thomas Merton

14. “Perhaps I am stronger than I think.” ~ Thomas Merton

15. “The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds”

16. “For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.” ~ Thomas Merton

17. “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” ~ Thomas Merton

18. “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.” ~ Thomas Merton

19. “Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” ~ Thomas Merton

20. “The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” ~ Thomas Merton

21. “The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.” ~ Thomas Merton

22. “But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question.” ~ Thomas Merton

23. “We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.” ~ Thomas Merton

24. “Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true.” ~ Thomas Merton

25. “By my monastic life and vows I am saying no to all the concentration camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices, the economic tyrannies, and the whole socioeconomic apparatus which seems geared for nothing but global destruction in spite of all its fair words in favor of peace.” ~ Thomas Merton

26. “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.” ~ Thomas Merton

27. “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.” ~ Thomas Merton

28. “We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.” ~ Thomas Merton

29. “We have what we seek. We don’t have to rush after it. It was there all the time, and if we give it time it will make itself known to us.” ~ Thomas Merton

30. “We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.” ~ Thomas Merton

31. “We are already one and we imagine we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. Whatever we have to be is what we are.” ~ Thomas Merton

32. “A purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for actions. The activity proper to man is purely mental because man is not just a disembodied mind. Our destiny is to live out what we think because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.” ~ Thomas Merton

33. “Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.” ~ Thomas Merton

34. “When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.” ~ Thomas Merton

35. “Our whole life is a meditation of our last decision – the only decision that matters.” ~ Thomas Merton

36. “Life consists in learning to live on one’s own, spontaneous, freewheeling: to do this one must recognize what is one’s own-be familiar and at home with oneself. This means basically learning who one is and learning what one has to offer to the contemporary world, and then learning how to make that offering valid.” ~ Thomas Merton

37. “When ambition ends, happiness begins.” ~ Thomas Merton

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