Quote for the Day

The important thing in contemplation is not enjoyment, not pleasure, not happiness, not peace, but the transcendent experience of reality and truth in the act of a supreme and liberated spiritual love. The important thing in contemplation is not gratification and rest, but awareness, life, creativity, and freedom.

— Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience

Why Trappists Make Great Spiritual Guides
Five Things Christian Contemplatives can learn from Buddhists
Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
Catholic Meditation and Contemplative Prayer: What's the Difference?
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.

  • noel a light bearer

    you know the mary and martha scene……….
    whos got a good take on that story .
    i think it is the hub of mertons statement and possibly the hub of spiritual living.
    well okay living which is spiritual

  • Jo

    I do not think contemplation is a destination. Ultimate realization may be a manifestation farther down the road, but to the individual in process, what is important is what they are finding/needing/experiencing at any given time, point, or stage. I think that is the hardest thing for me in reading Merton. It seems to be all or nothing. I am trying to work through New Seeds of Contemplation and finding it extremely difficult. Appreciate any insight

  • Bill Horlick

    I too found Merton’s approach in need of continual explainations which made it difficult to comprehend. I soon realised he wasn’t writing for me. I discovered another author who has directed me to the same goal with a more gentle walk.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman/ Carl McColman

      Okay, Bill; I’ll bite. Who is this “another author”?

  • Brian Doyle

    There is a book of essays, “The Vision of Thomas Merton” (http://www.amazon.com/Vision-Thomas-Merton-Patrick-OConnell/dp/0877939918), that a friend gave to me as a gift. In this volume, several authors write about how Merton’s perspective changed and matured over the course of his life. One thing to consider, therefore, is that New Seeds (1961), which I believe contains material original published in Seeds of Contemplation (1949), represents reflections that Merton himself refined later in life.