Thomas Merton

 

Those who abandon everything in order to seek God know well that He is the God of the poor…the supreme expression of His justice is to forgive those whom no one else would ever have forgiven. That is why He is, above all, the God of those who can hope where there is no hope. The penitent thief who died with Christ was able to see God where the doctors of the law had just proved impossible Jesus’s claim to divinity.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Perhaps,
in our darkest hour,
the difference between
hope and despair
is our willingness
to recognize
the God of love
hanging on the cross
beside ours.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

 

I cannot be humble unless I first know that I am good, and know that what is good in me is not my own, and know how easy it is for me to substitute an evil of my own choice for the good that is God’s gift to me.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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The point in my life
where I began to believe
I was better than you
was the point where I forgot
or no longer believed
that God made us both
to be his children.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

The devil believes in God but he has no God. The Lord is not his God…the damned have confirmed themselves in the belief that they cannot hope in God.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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I spent many years believing in God, but not hoping in him. Oh, doctrinally, yes, of course I “hoped” in God: it was the right thing to do. Doctrinally correct, and I could site chapter and verse to back it up. But there is an imposter for hope that is grim and cynical and never really expects, never really hopes, that any good will come. God is not really good, doesn’t really love me – all that is beyond hope.

Believe me, I’ve been there, and am so grateful I’m not there now. Over many years, gradually letting my grip loosen about being “right”, I find I am wrong and loved – both. It’s no longer up to me earning something; it’s about coming to know that God cherishes me and will lead me like a parent leads a little child. And hope awakens, softness awakens, love awakens. It’s not a buried treasure I will never find; it’s right there in my hand if I want to grasp it, the hand of God reaching for mine.

Grace and peace and hope to you…

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Upon our hope, therefore, depends the liberty of the whole universe. Because our hope is the pledge of a new heaven and a new earth, in which all things will be what they were meant to be.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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If my hope

Is the toe hold

The universe needs

To stay on the face

Of liberty;

Though barely a seam,

May it remain

As steadfast

As the One

Who made it

The anchor

Of my soul.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Freedom is perfect when no other love can impede our desire to love God.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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From John’s gospel, Chapter 8:

31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 79992-79998). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Grace and peace and freedom to you…

dw

 

 

This is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil — disgust with the things we have misused and hatred of ourselves for misusing them.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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That tree, you know the one,
where Eve got sucker punched
and Adam melted away,
didn’t even stand up for her,
distracted, maybe, by the spectre
of knowing her nakedness
apart from her soul,
thus beginning the dehumanizing
of one image of God by another,
the desecration of created things,
the discounting of God who made them;

That tree, you know the one,
that bides its time
while we distract ourselves
knowing the distraction will quiet
and we will one day stare and swallow
at the noose our own demand
to experience something other than God’s provision,
the difference between Good and Evil,
has tied for us –
we the condemner and the condemned;

That tree, you know the one,
where our discounted God
hung on our behalf
to show us pure Good,
to cut us free.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

 

It would be a sin to place any limit upon our hope in God. We must love Him without measure. All sin is rooted in the failure of love. All sin is a withdrawal of love from God, in order to love something else. Sin sets boundaries to our hope, and locks our love in prison.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Sin:
exchanging our greatest love
for something less,
hoping for less than what we have assurance of,
settling for even less than we hope for,
accepting a story of non-provision,
covetousness rewriting hope’s history
into a bleak tragedy
of love beyond our reach
just outside the bars
of the unlocked cell
we are dying in

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by chris panas on Unsplash