Thomas Merton (1915-1968) ON PRAYER

[This is the twenty-first of a series of posts featuring a saint, mystic, or writer to include some of their thoughts on prayer as well as a prayer written by or ascribed to him or her.  Thomas Merton was a best-selling writer, Trappist monk, mystic whose writing continues to inspire new generations of readers.]   


The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass
of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds  

We have what we seek, 
it is there all the time, 
and if we give it time, 
it will make itself known to us.

We do not want to be beginners [at prayer]. 
but let us be convinced of the fact that 
we will never be anything but beginners, all our life!

Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him,
being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.

If our life is poured out in useless words, 
we will never hear anything, 
never become anything, and in the end, 
because we have said everything before we had anything to say, 
we shall be left speechless at the moment of our greatest decision. 
(Thoughts in Solitude)

A Prayer by Thomas Merton
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. 
I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
Nor do I really know myself, and 
the fact that I think I am following your will 
does not mean that I am actually doing so. 
But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. 
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. 
I hope that I will never do anything apart  from that desire. 
And I know that, if I do this , You will lead me by the right road, 
though I may know nothing about it. 
Therefore I will trust You always though 
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. 
I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and 
You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
(Thoughts in Solitude)

Thomas Merton Center:

Thomas Merton Books:



About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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One Response to Thomas Merton (1915-1968) ON PRAYER

  1. Kelly Rose says:

    Interesting man. How do you explain such a death though? Very weird. I guess it just happened is all?

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