The Dead Speak: Thomas Merton

Today’s selection comes from a trappist Monk named Thomas Merton who is probably most noted for his autobiography The Seven Story Mountain, which recounts his endeavors as a young man to find fulfillment and meaning through academic and literary pursuits and his subsequent conversion to Roman Catholicism. Through his literary talents, strong mystical leanings, and depth of thought, Merton became one of the most noted and acclaimed spiritual writers of the 20th century.


A supernatural experience of our contingency is a humility which loves and prizes above all else our state of moral and metaphysical helplessness before God.

To love our “nothingness” in this way, we must repudiate nothing that is our own, nothing that we have, nothing that we are. We must see and admit that it is all ours and that it is all good: good in its positive entity since it comes from God: good in our deficiency, since our helplessness, even our moral misery, our spiritual [misery], attracts to us the mercy of God.

To love our nothingness we must love everything in us that the proud man loves when he loves himself. But we must love it all for exactly the opposite reason.

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