"This is the time when we really learn to pray in earnest. For we are no longer proud enough to expect great lights and consolations in our prayer. We are satisfied with the driest crust of supernatural food, glad to get anything at all, surprised that God should even pay the slightest attention. And if we cannot pray (which is a source of concern) yet we know more than ever before how much we desire to pray. If we could be consoled at all, this would be our only consolation.
The man who can face such dryness and abandonment for a long time, with great patience, and ask nothing more of God but to do His holy will and never offend Him, finally enters into pure prayer. Here the soul goes to God in prayer without any longer adverting either to itself or to its prayer. It speaks to Him without knowing what it is saying because God Himself has distracted the mind from its words and thoughts. It reaches Him without thoughts because, before it can think of Him, He is already present in the depths of the spirit, moving it to love Him in a way it cannot explain or understand. Time no longer means anything in such prayer, which is carried on in instants of its own, instants that can last a second or an hour without being able to distinguish one from another. For this prayer belongs less to time than to eternity."
— Thomas Merton
"I’d like to meet. Perhaps I could come up to town some day when you are in town and take you to lunch at the Athenaeum. For I am—oh God that I were not—very free now. One doesn’t realise in early life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy one must be tied."
— C. S. Lewis on the death of his wife, in a letter to Peter Bride.
"Arm yourself with prayer rather than a sword; wear humility rather than fine clothes."
— St. Dominic of Guzman (via a-pilgrims-diary)
"If we are too anxious to find absolute perfection in created things we cease to look for perfection where alone it can be found: in God. The secret of the imperfection of all things, of their inconstancy, their fragility, their falling into nothingness, is that they are only a shadowy expression of the one Being from Whom they receive their being. If they were absolutely perfect and changeless in themselves, they would fail in their vocation, which is to give glory to God by their contingency."
— No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton
"Physical evil is only to be regarded as a real evil insofar as it tends to foment sin in our souls. That is why a Christian must seek in every way possible to relieve the sufferings of others, and even take certain necessary steps to alleviate some sufferings of his own: because they are occasions of sin. It is true that we can also have compassion for others merely because suffering is an evil in its own right. This compassion is also good. But it does not really become charity unless it sees Christ in the one suffering and has mercy on him with the mercy of Christ. Jesus had pity on the multitudes not only because they were sheep without a shepherd, but also simply because they had no bread. Yet He did not feed them with miraculous loaves and fishes without thought for their place in His Father’s Kingdom. Bodily works of mercy look beyond the flesh and into the spirit, and when they are integrally Christian they not only alleviate suffering but they bring grace: that is the strike at sin."
— No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton
"In order to face suffering in peace:
Suffer without imposing on others a theory of suffering, without weaving a new philosophy of life from your own material pain, without proclaiming yourself a martyr, without counting out the price of your courage, without disdaining sympathy and without seeking too much of it.
We must be sincere in our sufferings as in anything else. We must recognize at once our weakness and our pain, but we do not need to advertise them. It is well to realize that we are perhaps unable to suffer in grand style, but we must still accept our weakness with a kind of heroism. It is always difficult to suffer fruitfully and well, and the difficulty is all the greater when we have no human resources to help us. It is well, also, not to tempt God in our sufferings, not to extend ourselves, by pride, into an area where we cannot endure.
We must face the fact that it is much harder to stand the long monotony of slight suffering than a passing onslaught of intense pain. In either case what is hard is our own poverty, and the spectacle of our own selves reduced more and more to nothing, wasting away in our own estimation and in that of our friends.
We must be willing to accept also the bitter truth that, in the end, we may have to become a burden to those who love us. But it is necessary that we face this also. The full acceptance of our abjection and uselessness is the virtue that can make us and others rich in the grace of God. It takes heroic charity and humility to let others sustain us when we are absolutely incapable of sustaining ourselves.
We cannot suffer well unless we see Christ everywhere—both in suffering and in the charity of those who come to the aid of our affliction."
— Thomas Merton
When all I want to do is lie down before Him and be.
I am because You Are. I am Yours.
"My heart deserves to be cut into little bits and given to the birds, for it never knew how to love God as it should."
— St. Paul of the Cross (via catholicsoul)
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
— Warsan Shire (via thatkindofwoman)
(Source: oofpoetry, via hmkay)