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Thoughts in Solitude

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Thomas Merton
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….
Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality….
The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived….
The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless we have a pursuit of finding him yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him….
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….
My Lord 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 that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will 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. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
From Thoughts in Solitude (1956)