Thomas Merton on Sanctity

The saint knows that the world and everything made by God is good, while those who are not saints either think that created things are unholy, or else they don’t bother about the question one way or another because they are only interested in themselves.
The eyes of the saint make all beauty holy and the hands of the saint consecrate everything they touch to the glory of God, and the saint is never offended by anything and judges no man’s sin because he does not know sin. He knows the mercy of God. He knows that his own mission on earth is to bring that mercy to all.

— Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Catholic Meditation and Contemplative Prayer: What's the Difference?
Is Mysticism Genetic?
Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • judith collier

    That is the most beautiful explanation of a saint I have ever read. And to think His “mercies are new every morning”. Exactly why I don’t believe in Hell. People need healing not condemnation. Maybe if that was preached more people would be responsive to the Gospel. But then, there is the other statement by Jesus, “if they hate me they will hate you” I can never quite figure this all out. But since I was the receipient of such forgiveness and mercy I will just go with what I experienced and not worry about the other statement.

  • a lee

    For a number of years, I’ve kept a little printout of the second paragraph, tacked up in my study. It’s no understatement that that paragraph (actually the last half of it) changed my entire grasp of the Christian life, and therefore my way of being. Merton’s ability to move from insight to paper was brilliant in its clarity.

    If you enjoy catching a random quote of his from time to time, I post one on my blog each Monday, and I’m always happy to have new visitors.

    kind regards,
    a lee