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Inspirational Thomas Merton Quotes

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From a man considered somewhat ahead of his time, these Thomas Merton quotes offer profound wisdom about life.

Thomas Merton was a man of much knowledge.

Tell us which Thomas Merton quote resonated with you the most in the comment section below.

What are the benefits of reading these Thomas Merton quotes?

During his life, he wrote over 50 books sharing insight on the topics that mattered the most to him.

Merton learned about the different religions, studied them, met with religious leaders, and then wrote about their connections with each other.

This was something that wasn’t done during his lifetime.

He was a:

  • monk
  • priest
  • theologian
  • poet
  • writer
  • social activist

His unique perspective is shown through these Thomas Merton quotes.

These quotes can give you new ways to look at love and life.

Don’t forget to check out these Will Rogers quotes for more inspiration.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration. 

If you enjoy this collection, check out our inspirational quotes category page.

Thomas Merton quotes about Love

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

Thomas Merton quotes

2. “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”- Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

3. “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

Thomas Merton quotes

4. “Prayer and love are really learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart turns to stone.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

5. “A Christian is committed to the belief that Love and Mercy are the most powerful forces on earth.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

6. “For if I am to love truly and freely, I must be able to give something that is truly my own to another. If my heart does not first belong to me, how can I give it to another?” – Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton quotes

7. “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.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

8. “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

Thomas Merton quotes

9. “Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

10. “To love blindly is to love selfishly because the goal of such love is not the real advantage of the beloved but only the exercise of love in our own souls.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

11. “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

Thomas Merton quotes

Thomas Merton quotes about Life

12. “Life consists in learning to live on one’s own, spontaneous, freewheeling: to do this one must recognize what is one’s own-be familiar and at home with oneself. This means basically learning who one is and learning what one has to offer to the contemporary world, and then learning how to make that offering valid.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

13. “By my monastic life and vows I am saying no to all the concentration camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices, the economic tyrannies, and the whole socioeconomic apparatus which seems geared for nothing but global destruction in spite of all its fair words in favor of peace.” – Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton quotes

14. “A purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for actions. The activity proper to man is purely mental because man is not just a disembodied mind. Our destiny is to live out what we think because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

15. “Our whole life is a meditation of our last decision – the only decision that matters.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

16. “A man can radically change his life and attain to a deeper meaning, a more perfect integration, a more complete fulfillment, a more total liberty of spirit than are possible in the routines of a purely active existence centered on money-making.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

17. “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

Thomas Merton quotes

18. “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

Thomas Merton quotes

19. “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, it is true.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

20. “My life is … a mystery which I do not attempt to really understand, as though I were led by the hand in a night where I see nothing, but can fully depend on the Love and Protection of Him Who guides me.” – Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton quotes

21. “Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

Inspirational quotes by Thomas Merton

22. “Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for Joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and joy you have not yet begun to live.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

23. “When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

24. “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

Thomas Merton quotes

25. “We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.” – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton quotes

What did you learn from these Thomas Merton quotes?

Whether you consider yourself religious, there is a lot of wisdom that can be taken from these quotes.

They can help you gain a greater understanding of both yourself and those that are around you.

Some of these quotes are inspirational.

Others are more thought-provoking.

You may benefit from taking some quiet time to sit and ponder on them.

The love and peace that Merton speaks about is something most people want in their life but cannot get.

He shares some good practices and principles to live by to experience these things yourself.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Thomas Merton quotes and sayings?

Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends on social media.

Stephanie Kirby
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