Happy Birthday, Contemplative Friend

Oh, as they say, snap.

I just went zipping through google to snag a pic for this post and realized my old friend Thomas Merton looks a whole lot like this truly TERRIBLE pop-Christian marriage speaker.

My faith has been tested.

Love for Merton prevails. But if Merton were still alive I would probably write him a fan letter and recommend a wig or false nose or something because this is really bothering me.

Merton was an American Trappist monk (1915-1968) who wrote a lot of great books, and you can totally check him out if you’re interested, but in the spirit of Merton and contemplation, I’d like to just share you some of my favorite highlights from my most recent jaunt in Mertonia, New Seeds of Contemplation.

Be blessed, friends. Be blessed and be at peace.


“We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves—the ones we are born with and which feed the roots of sin. For most of the people in the world, there is no greater subjective reality than this false self of theirs, which cannot exist. A life devoted to the cult of this shadow is what is called a life of sin.”


“Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.”


“This then is what it means to seek God perfectly… to find peace in withdrawal from conflict and competition with other men; to turn aside from controversy and put away heavy loads of judgment and censorship and criticism and the whole burden of opinions that I have no obligation to carry…”


Sigh. The contemplative writers are my spiritual antibiotic of choice. Nothing like them for healing the infections of bad theology and toxic Christians. So happy birthday, Fr. Merton. Let’s do lunch someday when I’m up there.


2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Contemplative Friend

  1. Fun to see what good old Brother Thomas looks like. I’ve heard lots about him, but never thought to Google a picture. It was also fun to read the quotes. I liked the second one especially.

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