Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: Thomas Merton on Becoming Ourselves

In his book New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton explores what it means to become our true selves, who we are intended to be by God. Read the following quotations, and join us in reflection.


“Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious [people] are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or the particular monk they are intended to be by God. …

Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success and they are in such haste to get it that they cannot take time to be true to themselves. …

And so it takes heroic humility to be yourself and to be nobody but the [person], or the artist, that God intended you to be.” 

(New Seeds of Contemplation, 98-100)



  1. How have you been able to step into your own fullness and calling? What spaces have been most supportive to your becoming?
  2. “Hurry ruins saints as well as artists,” whereas “humility consists in being precisely the person you actually are before God.” How do you cultivate humility, and avoid hurry? 


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