Thomas Merton Quotes

Thomas Merton, 1915 – 1968

Born: 31 January 1915, Prades, Pyr
Died: 10 December 1968, Bangkok, Thailand

Merton, known in the Catholic church as Father Louis, was a Trappist monk and author of over seventy books, as well as many essays and reviews, mostly on spirituality. His mother died when he was six, and he didn’t get along with his father’s new partner, author Evelyn Scott. He was happy living with his grandparents while growing up and spent a great deal of time in boarding schools, since his father, a famous sculptor, was often away from home. His father died the day after Thomas’ sixteenth birthday, his father’s friend and attorney Tom Bennett got custody and let him use a house at London before Thomas enrolled at Clare College, Cambridge in 1933.

In his youth, he was uninterested in religion but did have a few experiences which presaged his involvement in spirituality. After graduation in 1933, he visited Rome, he found himself drawn to churches and monasteries, and even thought that he might like to become a monk. Later that year, he came to the United States to visit his grandparents and attended services of various denominations, but didn’t feel at home in any of them, losing the interest in religion that he developed in Rome.

At Cambridge he was adrift, drinking and sleeping around rather than studying, and spending his inheritance freely. Two years later, Bennett tired of bailing him out of trouble and transferred him to Columbia University, where he lived with his grandparents while attending classes. He became politically active, protesting for peace and developing an interest in interfaith dialogue and cooperation. He would maintain this interest throughout his life. After an attempt to enter the Franciscan Order in 1939 didn’t work out, he took a position at St. Bonaventure University as a teacher and joined the Cistercian Order in 1942.

His abbot saw the quality of his writing and encouraged him to continue. He wrote extensively and was active in interfaith discussions before accidentally electrocuting himself getting out of the shower in a hotel. His works celebrated the Christian mystical tradition, the best known being The Seven Storey Mountain.

Thomas Merton quotes:

A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book.
    Thomas Merton

A daydream is an evasion.
    Thomas Merton

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

A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.
    Thomas Merton

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying. It “consents”, so to speak, to creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.
    Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation (1962)

Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.
    Thomas Merton

And of course most non-Catholics imagine that the Church is immensely rich, and that all Catholic institutions make money hand over fist, and that all the money is stored away somewhere to buy gold and silver dishes for the Pope and cigars for the College of Cardinals.
    Thomas Merton – The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)

Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.
    Thomas Merton

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
    Thomas Merton – No Man Is an Island (1965)

Ask me not where I live or what I like to eat…. Ask me what I am living for and what I think is keeping me from living fully that.
    Thomas Merton – Thoughts in Solitude (1956)

Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.
    Thomas Merton

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

Contemplation in the age of Auschwitz and Dachau, Solovky and Karaganda is something darker and more fearsome than contemplation in the age of the Church Fathers. For that very reason, the urge to seek a path of spiritual light can be a subtle temptation to sin. It certainly is sin if it means a frank rejection of the burden of our age, an escape into unreality and spiritual illusion, so as not to share the misery of other men.
    Thomas Merton – The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation (Posthumous, 2003)

Contradictions have always existed in the soul of [individuals]. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.
    Thomas Merton – Thoughts in Solitude (1956)

Dear God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But, I believe this: I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. I hope I have that desire in everything I do. I hope I never do anything apart from that desire.
And, I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it at the time.
Therefore, I will trust You always, for though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not be afraid because I know You will never leave me to face my troubles all alone.
Amen
    Thomas Merton – Thoughts in Solitude (1956)

Contemplation in the age of Auschwitz and Dachau, Solovky and Karaganda is something darker and more fearsome than contemplation in the age of the Church Fathers. For that very reason, the urge to seek a path of spiritual light can be a subtle temptation to sin. It certainly is sin if it means a frank rejection of the burden of our age, an escape into unreality and spiritual illusion, so as not to share the misery of other men.

Thomas Merton

The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation (Posthumous, 2003)
Contradictions have always existed in the soul of [individuals]. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
Dear God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But, I believe this: I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. I hope I have that desire in everything I do. I hope I never do anything apart from that desire.
And, I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it at the time.
Therefore, I will trust You always, for though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not be afraid because I know You will never leave me to face my troubles all alone.
Amen

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a person deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost.

Thomas Merton
Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.

Thomas Merton
Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you are capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.

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

Thomas Merton
Everyone of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self..We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves.

Thomas Merton

New Seeds of Contemplation (1962)
For it had become evident to me that I was a great rebel. I fancied that I had suddenly risen above all the errors and stupidities and mistakes of modern society—there are enough of them to rise above, I admit—and that I had taken my place in the ranks of those who held up their heads and squared their shoulders and marched into the future. In the modern world, people are always holding up their heads and marching into the future, although they haven’t the slightest idea what they think the “future” is or could possibly mean. The only future we seem to walk into, in actual fact, is full of bigger and more terrible wars, wars well calculated to knock our upraised heads off those squared shoulders.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
For our duties and our needs, in all the fundamental things for which we were created, come down in practice to the same thing.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
God Himself begins to live in me not only as my Creator but as my other and true self.

Thomas Merton

New Seeds of Contemplation (1962)
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.

Thomas Merton

“Being and Doing” in No Man is an Island (1955)
How deluded we sometimes are by the clear notions we get out of books. They make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another man’s city?

Thomas Merton
Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.

Thomas Merton

Seeds of Contemplation (1949)

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.

Thomas Merton
I will no longer wound myself with the thoughts and questions that have surrounded me like thorns: that is a penance You do not ask of me.

Thomas Merton

The Sign of Jonas (1953)
If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
If our life is poured out in useless words, we will never hear anything, never become anything, and in the end, because we have said everything before we had anything to say, we shall be left speechless at the moment of our greatest decision.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
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, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.

Thomas Merton
If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.

Thomas Merton
If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men—you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.

Thomas Merton

Seeds of Contemplation (1949)
In our creation, God asked a question and in our truly living; God answers the question.

Thomas Merton

New Seeds of Contemplation (1962)
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.

Thomas Merton
Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.

Thomas Merton
Is there any man who has ever gone through a whole lifetime without dressing himself up, in his fancy, in the habit of a monk and enclosing himself in a cell where he sits magnificent in heroic austerity and solitude, while all the young ladies who hitherto were cool to his affections in the world come and beat on the gates of the monastery crying, “Come out, come out!”

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes.

Thomas Merton

Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1966)
It is a kind of pride to insist that none of our prayers should ever be petitions for our own needs: for this is only another subtle way of trying to put ourselves on the same plane as God — acting as if we had no needs, as if we were not creatures, not dependent on Him and dependent, by His will, on material things, too.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
It is both dangerous and easy to hate man as he is because he is not what he ought to be. If we do not first respect what he is we will never suffer him to become what he ought to be: in our impatience we do away with him altogether.

Thomas Merton
It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.

Thomas Merton

It is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.

Thomas Merton
It is quite false to imagine that Zen is a sort of individualistic, subjective purity in which the monk seeks to rest and find spiritual refreshment by the discovery and enjoyment of his own interiority. It is not a subtle form of spiritual self-gratification, a repose in the depths of one’s own inner silence. Nor is it by any means a simple withdrawel from the outer world of matter to an inner world of spirit. The first and most elementary fact about Zen is its abhorrence of this dualistic division between matter and spirit. Any criticism of Zen that presupposes such a division is, therefore, bound to go astray.

Thomas Merton

Mystics and Zen Masters
It is true that neither the ancient wisdoms nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone. They call for one another. Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and the material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man’s own pointless existence.

Thomas Merton

Gandhi on Non-Violence (1965)
Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.

Thomas Merton

The Sign of Jonas (1953)
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. This is true.

Thomas Merton
Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone—we find it with another.

Thomas Merton
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.

Thomas Merton
Merely to resist evil with evil by hating those who hate us and seeking to destroy them, is actually no resistance at all. It is active and purposeful collaboration in evil that brings the Christian into direct and intimate contact with the same source of evil and hatred which inspires the acts of his enemy. It leads in practice to a denial of Christ and to the service of hatred rather than love.

Thomas Merton

Passion for Peace; Reflections on War and Nonviolence (Posthumous, 2006)
Music and art and poetry attune the soul to God because they induce a kind of contact with the Creator and Ruler of the Universe.

Thomas Merton

No Man is an Island (1955)
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.

Thomas Merton
One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men.

Thomas Merton
Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.

Thomas Merton

No Man Is an Island (1955)
Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.

Thomas Merton
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.

Thomas Merton
Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny….To work out our identity in God.

Thomas Merton

New Seeds of Contemplation (1962)

Paradoxically, I have found peace because I have always been dissatisfied. My moments of depression and despair turn out to be renewals, new beginnings. If I were once to settle down and be satisfied with the surface of life, with its divisions and its clichés, it would be time to call in the undertaker. … So, then, this dissatisfaction which sometimes used to worry me and has certainly, I know, worried others, has helped me in fact to move freely and even gaily with the stream of life.

Thomas Merton

“First and Last Thoughts”, preface to A Thomas Merton Reader, Thomas P. McDonnell, ed. (1974)
Peace cannot be built on exclusivism, absolutism, and intolerance. But neither can it be built on vague liberal slogans and pious programs gestated in the smoke of confabulation. There can be no peace on earth without the kind of inner change that brings man back to his “right mind”.

Thomas Merton

Gandhi on Non-Violence (1965)
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.

Thomas Merton
Perhaps I am stronger than I think.

Thomas Merton
Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are.

Thomas Merton

Letter to Dorothy Day (20 December 1961)
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.

Thomas Merton
Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more.

Thomas Merton
Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.

Thomas Merton
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.

Thomas Merton
Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
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
The biggest human temptation is … to settle for too little.

Thomas Merton
The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows, not by clarity and substance but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor in intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
The fruitfulness of our lives depends in large measure in our ability to doubt our own words and to question the value of our own work. The man who completely trusts his own estimate of himself is doomed to sterility.

Thomas Merton

Seeds of Contemplation (1949)
The Hindus are not looking for us to send them men who will build schools and hospitals, although those things are good and useful in themselves—and perhaps very badly needed in India: they want to know if we have any saints to send them.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)

The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it. My father and mother were captives in that world, knowing they did not belong with it or in it, and yet unable to get away from it. They were in the world and not of it — not because they were saints, but in a different way: because they were artists.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
The least of the work of learning is done in the classroom.

Thomas Merton
The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear.

Thomas Merton
The lights of prayer that make us imagine we are beginning to be angels are sometimes only signs that we are finally beginning to be men. We do not have a high enough opinion of our own nature. We think we are at the gates of heaven and we are only just beginning to come into our own realm as free and intelligent beings.

Thomas Merton

The Ascent to Truth (1951)
The logic of the poet — that is, the logic of language or the experience itself — develops the way a living organism grows: it spreads out towards what it loves, and is heliotropic, like a plant.

Thomas Merton

The Secular Journal of Thomas Merton (1959)
The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
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.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
The most awful tyranny is that of the proximate Utopia where the last sins are currently being eliminated and where, tomorrow, there will be no more sins because all the sinners will have been wiped out.

Thomas Merton

Gandhi on Non-Violence (1965)
The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness. But it does not matter much because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.

Thomas Merton
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
The soul of man, left to its own natural level, is a potentially lucid crystal left in darkness. It is perfect in its own nature, but it lacks something that it can only receive from outside and above itself. But when the light shines in it, it becomes in a manner transformed into light and seems to lose its nature in the splendor of a higher nature, the nature of the light that is in it.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.

Thomas Merton
The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that 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.

Thomas Merton
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

There is a logic of language and a logic of mathematics.

Thomas Merton

The Secular Journal of Thomas Merton (1959)
There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
They were in the world and not of it—not because they were saints, but in a different way: because they were artists. The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
This is the crucifixion of Christ: in which He dies again and again in the individuals who were made to share the joy and freedom of His grace, and who deny Him.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.

Thomas Merton
To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.

Thomas Merton
To enter into the realm of contemplation, one must in a certain sense die: but this death is in fact the entrance into a higher life. It is a death for the sake of life, which leaves behind all that we can know or treasure as life, as thought, as experience as joy, as being. [Every form of intuition and experience] die to be born again on a higher level of life.

Thomas Merton

New Seeds of Contemplation (1962)
To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.

Thomas Merton

Seeds of Contemplation (1949)
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
We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
We do not exist for ourselves.

Thomas Merton
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
We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.

Thomas Merton
We must suffer. Our five sense are dulled by inordinate pleasure. Penance makes them keen, gives them back their natural vitality, and more. Penance clears the eye of conscience and of reason. It helps think clearly, judge sanely. It strengthens the action of our will.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)

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

Thoughts on Solitude (1956)
We who claim to love peace and justice must always be careful that we do not use our righteousness to provoke the violent, and in this way bring about the conflict for which we, too, like other men, are hungering in secret, and with suppressed barbarity.

Thomas Merton
What a revelation it was, to discover so many ordinary people in a place together, more conscious of God than of one another: not there to show off their hats or their clothes, but to pray, or at least to fulfill a religious obligation, not a human one. For even those who might have been there for no better motive than that they were obliged to be, were at least free from any of the self-conscious and human constraint which is never absent from a Protestant church where people are definitely gathered together as people, as neighbors, and always have at least half an eye for one another, if not all of both eyes.

Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
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.

Thomas Merton
What do I mean by loving ourselves properly? I mean first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and a great good, not because of what it gives us, but because of what it enables us to give to others.

Thomas Merton
What we have to be is what we are.

Thomas Merton
When ambition ends, happiness begins.

Thomas Merton
When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, then society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, you do your work well.

Thomas Merton
Without our knowing it, we see reality through glasses colored by the subconscious memory of previous experiences.

Thomas Merton

No Man is an Island (1955)
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

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