Monday, September 20, 2010

two quotes to ponder

"What you thought you came for is only a shell, a husk of meaning from which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled…the purpose is beyond the end you figured and is altered in fulfillment."   -- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

"When you have been praised a little and loved a little I will take away all your gifts and all your love and all your praise and you will be utterly forgotten and abandoned and you will be nothing, a dead thing, a rejection. And in that day you will begin to possess the solitude you have so long desired. And your solitude will bear immense fruit in the souls of men [and women] you will never see on earth. 
"You shall taste the true solitude of my anguish and my poverty and I shall lead you into the high places of my joy and you shall die in me and find all things in my mercy which has created you for this end…'that you may become the brother [sister] of God and learn to know the Christ of the burnt men.' "      -- Thomas Merton, Seven Story Mountain, page 462, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999

HT: Gone Walkabout


  1. The quote by Merton, where is that from? I would like to read that in context. Thanks. Rob

  2. This quote is from tthe Seven Story Mountain, page 462 - or check this link:

    (Hope that link works. It is a search in Google books and contains quite a bit of context. I linked the page to PAGE 462 on the post, so it should take you to the search result.)

  3. I understand Merton's comments -
    but I don't think I am ready to be forgotten, abandoned and rejected - by God or anyone else. I am the parent of two grown children - who have left the nest - and although I am sure it is unwarranted, many times I feel this way. And I don't see many fruits coming out of it..

    Thanks Beth

  4. Hang on, Brian. The story ain't over yet. I've found that some adult children go through a time where they need to be "free" of their parents. I even think that I did during my early adulthood. I didn't want to feel that I was emotionally responsible to my father (my mother had died); I wanted him to be OK without me. Of course we are deeply tied, psychically, with our parents. Long after they have died, we still commune with them and need them. At least I do. Waiting for kids to come around, though, is hard. Keep waiting, though.

  5. where's the middle-ground here? ouch...Catholics do have a penchant for extreme suffering and alienation don't they? I like that. That's the bludgeon of truth in "The Last Tempation of Christ" that so many responded to, I guess.

    I like extravagant suffering as well - the Buddhists are too quiet about it - scream when you burn. I say.

    Yeah, the parent thing does take some time - you feel guilty no matter what you do - or I do...I was in a similar position with my dad.

  6. I mean "The Passion of the Christ" - why do I get those mixed up so often?

    Less flippantly - my children have been and are an immediate way to belief in God in general, Christianity specifically, Catholicism existentially. I mean, it's just there when I look at them and be with them....for a man who spent most of his previous life seeking the hermitage in one way or another and not finding "it" - this has been a source of great joy and revelation for me...

    on the other hand - my therapist recommends a return to my days of mindfulness goes so far so long i guess...then returns, then compliments...

    Hesse's "Siddartha": last part was mostly about him dealing with his pain in the ass son....and how it was screwing up his spiritual life...

  7. Good to see you back, Marco.

    I think that I disagree with you about that extravagant suffering - at least what Eliot and Merton are referring to. I think that their words are more pointing toward extravagant love, like what you describe so beautifully with your children.

    Interesting that it takes awhile (years?) for children to recognize the love of their parents for what it is. There are all those parental flaws that they have to see through, I guess.

  8. "extravagant love" has great resonance


The Stuff of Contemplation (Joan Chittister)

Thomas Merton, Trappist, died December 10, 1968 Thomas Merton entered the Abbey of Gethsemane in Bardstown, Kentucky, at the age of twenty-s...