Thomas Merton Quotes: The Epilogue to Jerry Colonna’s guest post on A VC

by Joe on February 21, 2012

After reading what I’ve found to be one of the most well put together treatises of management with the subtitle of “On Becoming Your Self,” I thought I’d follow it up with a few quotes that have been useful to me as I’ve sought to be more fully myself.

Selected Thomas Merton quotes as an epilogue to Jerry Colonna’s guest post on A VC:

  1.  “One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless charity, is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other men. We can only get rid of this anxiety by being content to miss something in almost everything we do. We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us -whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.
    Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one thing necessary’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed. “ – from No Man is an Island
  2. “All men seek peace first of all with themselves. That is necessary, because we do not naturally find rest even in our own being. We have to learn to commune with ourselves before we can communicate with other men and with God. A man who is not at peace with himself necessarily projects his interior fighting into the society of those he lives with, and spreads a contagion of conflict all around him. Even when he tries to do good to others his efforts are hopeless, since he does not know how to do good to himself. In moments of wildest idealism he may take it into his head to make other people happy: and in doing so he will overwhelm them with his own unhappiness. He seeks to find himself somehow in the work of making others happy. Therefore he throws himself into the work. As a result he gets out of the work all that he put into it: his own confusion, his own disintegration, his own unhappiness. “ – from No Man is an Island
  1. “The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one another’s imagined greatness.If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all. I would be liberated from the painful duty of saying what I really do not think and of acting in a way that betrays God’s truth and the integrity of my own soul.” – from “No Man is an Island”

How can we enable each other to become more fully ourselves?  How can we enable our wives/girlfriends be more fully themselves and for them to do likewise to us?



Hey Joe…brilliant Merton quotes. Thanks for sharing these.

by Jerry Colonna on March 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm. Reply #

Thanks, Jerry. It was fun to leaf through a slew Merton quotes after reading your post.

by Joe on March 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm. Reply #


by home on December 17, 2016 at 8:53 am. Reply #

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