“Man has an instinctive need for harmony and peace, for tranquility, order and meaning.  None of those seem to be the most salient characteristics of modern society.  A book written in a monastery where the traditions and rites of a more contemplative age are still alive and still practiced, could not help but remind men that there had once existed a more leisurely and more spiritual way of life – and that this was the way of their ancestors.  Thus even into the confused pattern of Western life is woven a certain memory of contemplation.  It is a memory so vague and so remote that it is hardly understood, and yet it can awaken the hope of recovering inner peace.  In this hope, modern man can perhaps entertain, for a brief time, the dream of a contemplative life and of a higher spiritual state of quiet, of rest, of untroubled joy.”

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“It is true, political problems are not solved by love and mercy. But the world of politics is not the only world, and unless political decisions rest on a foundation of something better and higher than politics, they can never do any real good for men. When a country has to be rebuilt after war, the passions and energies of war are no longer enough. There must be a new force, the power of love, the power of understanding and human compassion, the strength of selflessness and cooperation, and the creative dynamism of the will to live and to build, and the will to forgive. The will for reconciliation.”

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From Introductions East & West: The Foreign Prefaces of Thomas Merton, edited by Robert E. Daggy (Unicorn Press Inc., Greensboro, NC, 1981).

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You see friends, the reason we don’t have peace is that we don’t want it badly enough: We just don’t have the will.   I find that especially sad concerning Christians.

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