God is to be heard, not only on Sinai, not only in my own heart, but in the voice of the stranger… We must, then, see the truth in the stranger, and the truth we see must be a newly living truth…
A Newly Living Truth
Topic: Interfaith Pathways
“God speaks, and God is to be heard, not only on Sinai, not only in my own heart, but in the voice of the stranger… We must, then, see the truth in the stranger, and the truth we see must be a newly living truth, not just a projection of a dead conventional idea of our own–a projection of our own self upon the stranger.”
Born on 31 January 1915, Thomas Merton was a significant spiritual thinker of the 20th century. Raised in a non-religious household, his spiritual journey eventually led him to the Roman Catholic Church, and later, into the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as the Trappists, at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. Merton adopted a life of monastic contemplation, but his profound reflections on faith, spirituality, and society went on to have a widespread impact. As a writer, his diverse oeuvre included poetry, essays, and over 70 books, touching on a broad spectrum of spiritual traditions and social issues.
Merton's works often showcased his deep commitment to fostering understanding among different faiths. As a student of comparative religion, he sought to highlight the universal values and shared wisdom that transcended the boundaries of individual faith traditions. His exploration of Eastern religions and their intersections with Christian mysticism was particularly groundbreaking for its time. Merton's dialogues with leading Asian spiritual figures, such as the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, a prominent scholar of Zen Buddhism, and Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Vietnamese monk, further cemented his reputation as a pioneering figure in interfaith dialogue.
Unfortunately, Merton's life was tragically cut short when he died on 10 December 1968. Despite his untimely death, his influence continues to reverberate in contemporary religious and spiritual discourse. Through his writings and activism, Merton fostered a greater awareness of social justice issues within the church and inspired a more inclusive, holistic approach to spirituality. His legacy as a monastic scholar, a prolific writer, and a tireless advocate for interfaith understanding endures, solidifying his place as one of the most influential Catholic figures of the 20th century.
Merton, Thomas, and Patrick F. O'Connell. Thomas Merton: Selected Essays. Orbis Books, 2013.
Copyright © 2017 – 2023 LuminaryQuotes.com About Us