Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 - December 10, 1968)
Born: 31st January, 1915
Died: 10th December, 1968
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Author
Region: France, Bangkok, Thailand

Thomas Merton Facts

Biography

Thomas Merton, original name of Father M. Louis, (born Jan. 31, 1915, Prades, France--died Dec. 10, 1968, Bangkok, Thai.), Roman Catholic monk, poet, and prolific writer on spiritual and social themes, one of the most important American Roman Catholic writers of the 20th century.

Merton's early education was in England and France; after a year at the University of Cambridge, he entered Columbia University, New York City, where he earned B.A. (1938) and M.A. (1939) degrees. After teaching English at Columbia (1938-39) and at St. Bonaventure University (1939-41) near Olean, New York, he entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani near Louisville, Kentucky. He was ordained priest in 1949.

Merton's first published works were collections of poems--Thirty Poems (1944), A Man in the Divided Sea (1946), and Figures for an Apocalypse (1948). With the publication of the autobiographical Seven Storey Mountain (1948), he gained an international reputation. His early works are strictly spiritual, but his writings of the early 1960s tend toward social criticism, and many of his later works reveal an insight into Oriental philosophy and mysticism unusual in a Westerner. He was electrocuted by a faulty wire during an international monastic convention in Thailand.

Merton's only novel, My Argument with the Gestapo, written in 1941, was published posthumously in 1969. His other writings include The Waters of Siloe (1949), a history of the Trappists; Seeds of Contemplation (1949); The Living Bread (1956), a meditation on the Eucharist; and further posthumous publications, including the collection of essays entitled Contemplation in a World of Action (1971) and The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (1973). Seven volumes of his private journals and several volumes of his correspondence have been published.

Top 41 Thomas Merton quotes

We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others.
Alone
Also
Begin
Convinced
Exist
Fact
Fully
Love
Only
Others
Ourselves
Properly
Thus
To love
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
Balance
Happiness
Harmony
Intensity
Matter
Rhythm
Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.
Advertising
Due
Products
Reverence
Seriousness
Treats
The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.
Contradictions
God
Life
Me
Mercy
My life
Signs
Some
Very
Ways
Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.
Deepening
Find
Future
Hope
Look
Must
Never
Present
Rather
Solitude
Something
Unless
Will
You
Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.
Christ
Dry
Eyes
Feet
Good
Heart
Joy
Keep
Open
Peace
Soul
Your
A daydream is an evasion.
Daydream
Evasion
Wheels of fire, cosmic, rich, full-bodied honest victories over desperation.
Cosmic
Desperation
Fire
Honest
Over
Rich
Victories
Wheels
By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.
Am
Around
Blue
Charged
Cooler
Deeper
Feel
Feet
Fire
Glory
God
Green
I am
I feel
October is a fine and dangerous season in America. a wonderful time to begin anything at all. You go to college, and every course in the catalogue looks wonderful.
America
Anything
Begin
Catalogue
College
Course
Dangerous
Every
Fine
Go
Looks
October
Season
Time
The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.
Biggest
Human
Little
Settle
Temptation
Too
Attachment to spiritual things is... just as much an attachment as inordinate love of anything else.
Anything
Anything else
Attachment
Else
Inordinate
Just
Just as much
Love
Much
Spiritual
Spiritual things
Things
The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
Less
Squeeze
You
When ambition ends, happiness begins.
Ambition
Begins
Ends
Happiness
What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.
Able
Abyss
Cross
Disastrous
Discovery
Gain
Important
Moon
Most
Only
Ourselves
Rest
Sailing
Separates
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.
Desire
Either
End
Image
Life
Live
Made
Man
Masters
Serve
Shaped
Spiritual
Two
You
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.
Beginning
Find
Fit
Image
Love
Love is
Only
Otherwise
Our
Ourselves
Own
Perfectly
Reflection
Them
The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.
About
Been
Discover
Discovery
Error
Finding
First
First step
God
Myself
Step
Toward
Truth
Truth is
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Art
Enables
Find
Lose
Ourselves
Same
Same time
Time
Us
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.
Another
Awareness
Based
Beings
Compassion
Idea
Interdependence
Involved
Keen
Living
Part
Which
Whole
We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
Give
Itself
Known
Make
Seek
Time
Us
Will
Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.
Act
Activities
Begin
Beyond
Deepest
Desire
Discover
Extend
Fulfillment
Here
Infinity
Labor
Limits
Loneliness
We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.
Capacities
Choices
Deepest
Enable
Fulfill
Make
Must
Our
Real
Selves
Us
I cannot make the universe obey me. I cannot make other people conform to my own whims and fancies. I cannot make even my own body obey me.
Body
Cannot
Conform
Even
Fancy
Make
Me
My own
Obey
Other
Own
People
Universe
Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of a chill from within the marrow of your own life.
Center
Chill
Clearly
Death
Eyes
Heart
Kind
Life
Light
Marrow
Own
Reacting
See
Someone
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.
Constantly
Darkness
Enlightened
Even
Fall
Fallen
Know
Most
Spiritual
Stumble
True
In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for 'finding himself.' If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.
Analysis
Else
Existence
Fails
Find
Finding
He
Himself
His
Individual
Individual person
Last
Life
Living
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.
Conscience
Demands
Difficult
Fidelity
Greater
Heroic
Heroism
Labor
More
Most
Much
Peace
Perfect
Purity
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
Artificial
Humility
Makes
Pride
Real
Us
Perhaps I am stronger than I think.
Am
I am
I think
Perhaps
Stronger
Than
Think
The least of the work of learning is done in the classroom.
Classroom
Done
Learning
Least
Work
If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.
Hell
History
Modern
Nations
Political
Political history
Social
Study
Want
You
Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul.
Earth
Event
Every
His
Life
Man
Moment
Plants
Something
Soul
Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another.
Alone
Another
Destiny
Find
Life
Love
Love is
Meaning
Meaning of
Meaning of life
Our
Ourselves
True
To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.
Consider
Doorstep
Effect
Events
Hell
Light
Live
Myself
Only
Persons
Situations
Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.
Attentive
Being
Courage
God
Him
Just
Listening
Lot
Presence
Quietly
Remaining
Requires
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.
Because
God
Others
Ourselves
Peace
We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have - for their usefulness.
Being
Doing
Imagination
Left
Men
No time
Obsessed
Result
Time
Usefulness
Valued
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.
Care
Effects
Good
Leaves
Love
Loved
One thing
Only
Other
Own
Reward
Secondary
Seeks
Take
I brought all the instincts of a writer with me into the monastery.
Brought
Instincts
Me
Monastery
Writer
On the last day of January 1915, in the second year of the Great War, down in the shadow of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into this world.
Borders
Came
Day
Down
French
Great
Great war
I came
January
Last
Mountains
Second
Shadow
Some

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