Monday Merton 6.3.13

These Monday Merton quotes are taken from chapter 7, “Being and Doing,” of No Man Is An Island.

“The soul that projects itself entirely into activity, and seeks itself outside itself in the work of its own will is like a madman who sleeps on the sidewalk in front of his house instead of living inside where it is quiet and warm.” 118

“The reason why men are so anxious to see themselves, instead of being content to be themselves, is that they do not really believe in their own existence. And they do not fully believe that they exist because they do not believe in God.” 118

“Self-contemplation leads to the most terrible despair: the despair of a god that hates himself to death. This is the ultimate perversion of man who was made in the image and likeness of the true God, who was made to love eternally and perfectly an infinite good–a good… which he was to find dwelling within himself! In order to find God within ourselves, we must stop looking at ourselves… and be content to be in Him and to do whatever He wills.” 120

“It useless to try to make peace with ourselves by being pleased with everything we have done… We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work without expecting an immediate reward, to love without an instantaneous satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition.” 121

“A man who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly.” 127

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” 127

“Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm. If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sounds, productive by turning all life’s leisure into work, and real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth. If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music.” 127

“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.” 128


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