Thomas Merton on Suffering

| | Comments (5)

By the way, much of the recent quotation is derived secondarily from Dwight Longenecker's beautiful study St. Benedict and St. Thérèse

from The Seven Storey Mountain
Thomas Merton

The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you . . . the one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all; it is his own existence which is the source of his pain.

And this extremely powerful note from Longenecker follows:

from St. Benedict and St. Thérèse
Dwight Longenecker

If the vow of stability forces me to stay in one place and face the grim reallitiles of llife, then I am also confronted by the glorious realities. Indeed, if we embrace ther grim reality, then the good reality is more vibrantly alive than we could ever have imagined. The climax of Thérèse's deathbed experience was an excrutiating participation in the suffering of Christ, but it was also an exhilirating participation in the love of Christ. On the afternoon of her death she cries, "Newver would I have believed it was possible to suffer so much!" but her last words are, "Oh! I love HIm! . . . My God . . . I love you!"

The everyday realities of being married, of loving who and where we are--these are the places where we are called to grow in sanctity, in the pain of feeling not appreciated, and in the warm embrace of family.

I go on, but I think you would all do yourselves a favor to acquire and read this wonderful book. It has blessed me over and over again.

Bookmark and Share



On this day, of all, I did not expect YOU to breathe a word of Therese - just John.

Happy Feast Day!

Kind of tangential, but did you know Merton later in life was embarrassed by his Seven Storey Mountain? He said it was written by a man he didn't know. I guess to the extent that suggests growth that's a good thing.


Thank you. I think I thought about St. Thérèse because she was her father's daughter (in the spirit). Everything she wrote and said reflected the wisdom of St. John of the Cross and brought it home to millions who could never scale the heights of Mt. Carmel with the great Saint. I don't know. Perhaps I wasn't thinking at all.




I am ignorant of a connection between Therese and John. If it as you say, I am most grateful for I cannot read John at all. Therese is much more accessible to me (at least the authentic Therese is.)

The bit on suffering is good, too. What book are you recommending - a Merton volume or the Therese/Benedict one?


The Therese/Benedict. I think you bought it at a St. Paul's bookstore when I was visiting once. In fact, I think that's what sparked further interest.





About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 14, 2004 9:04 AM.

Supernatural and Natural was the previous entry in this blog.

Code of Canon Law is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll