This book has been on my shelf for years. Since we’ve been home more than a month and I have the spiritual space to sit down with this kind of dense nourishment, I finally took the plunge and fully engaged with Thomas Merton. He’s something of a legend to Christian contemplatives, sort of like the Keith Richards of monks. Wise, somewhat cantankerous, expansive and global in his conception of God, God’s purpose, and destiny of people. A hippie monk.
In New Seeds of Contemplation, Merton explores the nature of God, the emptying of self to paradoxically become one’s true self, the dangers of pride within contemplation, and much more. For this reader, Merton’s work helps provide the courage to journey into the spiritual desert (or abyss, choose your metaphor) and endure the presence of Being-Itself. Some great quotes:
“If you have money, consider that perhaps the only reason God allowed it to fall into your hands was in order that you might find joy and perfection by giving it all away.” [Timely!]
“We cannot go to heaven to find Him because we have no way of knowing where heaven is or what it is. He comes down from heaven and finds us.”
“Reality is to be sought not in division but in unity.”
“God does not give us graces or talents or virtues for ourselves alone. We are members one of another and everything that is given to one member is given for the whole body.”
“To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason fo ray existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”
“No despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.”