Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Merton's thoughts on "The Pure Heart"

"No man can live a fully sane and decent life unless he is able to say 'no' occasionally to his natural bodily appetites." One who does not do this "has renounced his spiritual freedom and become the servant of bodily impulse." The one who lives "under the power of his appetites" "is not 'sinning' but simply makes an ass of himself, deluding himself that he is real when his compulsions have reduced him to a shadow of a genuine person."

"One must learn to survive without the habit-forming luxuries which get such a hold on men today."

"Keep your eyes clean and your ears quiet and your mind serene. Breathe God's air. Work, if you can, under His sky."

"The virtue of chastity is not the complete renunciation of all sex, but simply the right use of sex. ... Nowhere is self-denial more important than in the area of sex, because this is the most difficult of all natural appetites to control and one whose undisciplined gratification completely blinds the human spirit to all interior light. ... The very struggle for chastity teaches us to rely on a spiritual power higher than our own nature, and this is an indispensable preparation for interior prayer."

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, 85-88

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