Thomas Merton

 

Better than hoping for anything from the Lord, besides His love, let us place all our hope in His love itself. This hope is as sure as God Himself. It can never be confounded.

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

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It doesn’t matter what we do,
you and I,
as long as we are together.

No need for lavish blessings
or miraculous signs;
just You hovering near me will do.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

 

If I believe that He can love me, I must also believe that I can love Him. If I do not believe I can love Him, then I do not believe Him Who gave us the first commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole mind and all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.”

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

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The system of church doctrine I learned and lived under for too long told me I was incapable of loving God.  I’m beginning to believe, instead, that those who preach such doctrines are the ones incapable of loving God or of admitting that many people, in fact, do.  Their own systematic theology keeps them from the experience they need and long for.  My prayer: Lord, give us all the simple love and courage of Mary, sister of Martha, who chose “the good portion” – sitting at your feet, loving you with all her heart.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

So the soul that hopes in God already belongs to Him, and to belong to Him is the same as to possess Him, since He gives Himself completely to those who give themselves to Him.

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

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We began this series on Hope with Thomas Merton telling us that hope takes everything away from us so that, in the end, we may possess everything. Here he gives us the answer to that riddle:

Hope’s mission is to lead us to the only sure hope, that the God Jesus called ‘Father’ is our God, we are his people, and he takes joy in giving us all that can truly be called Life. Any hope less than this is a distraction, a diminishing of this sure hope, the anchor of our souls.

dw

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com

 

Without hope, our faith gives us only an acquaintance with God.  Without love and hope, faith only knows Him as a stranger. For hope casts us into the arms of His mercy and of His providence. If we hope in Him, we will not only come to know that He is merciful but we will experience His mercy in our own lives.

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

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Faith without hope
is a dry throat
swallowing hard
to push down the panic
“What if I am wrong?”

Unless it is
seething hatred
at a world
that has no good news.

Mere acquaintance with God is terrifying.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

p.s.

This post from last year is a prayer I have prayed over the years, asking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to help me be more than an acquaintance.

 

 

Hope deprives us of everything that is not God, in order that all things may serve their true purpose as means to bring us to God.

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

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What is this hope that dashes all hopes,
yet is the only sure remedy for hopelessness?

An anchor that holds us, drowns us,
baptizes us clean, clean,
cleaner than we ever wanted to be
(but always wanted to be)
in water that is life itself
if we will only drown ourselves in it,
suck it in knowing it is the death of us,
us as beings with the right to choose,
for our own selves,
what we hope for,
even if what we hope for
would be the death of us.

dw

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com

Supernatural hope is the virtue that strips us of all things in order to give us possession of all things.

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

We’ve had a theme of sorts running for a good bit of this year on Thomas Merton’s reflections on what love is and isn’t. We’ll be switching now to the topic of hope. As we’ll see, hope may not be anything like we’d expect it to be, today’s quote being a jarring example. Merton will push us to examine our hearts in ways that maybe we haven’t before:

  • What do we hope for?
  • What do we hope in?
  • What does this mean for our soul?
  • What does hope that is good for us look like, feel like?
  • What does it accomplish in us and in God’s kingdom?
  • Do we have reason to hope for this kind of hope?

I sincerely hope this series is something you can connect with, something that speaks to you where you are and challenges you and gives you maybe a hope that’s been missing for awhile or maybe that you can’t remember ever having before.

Grace and peace…and hope…to you…

dw

p.s. Here’s a listing of some past posts on the topic of Love: