Tag Archives: Solitude

Thomas Merton on God Cannot be Loved or Felt without Human Feelings

If we are without human feelings we cannot love God in the way in which we are meant to love Him—as men. If we do not respond to human affection we cannot be loved by God in the way in which He has willed to love us—with the Heart of the Man, Jesus Christ Who is God, the Son of God, and the anointed Christ.[1]

[1] Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude (Dell Publishing Co., Inc.: New York, 1961), 26.

Thomas Merton, (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968)

An American Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappist monk, as commonly referred to as, was a poet, social activist, and ecumenist. He was ordained to the priesthood and later given the name Father Louis in 1949. He While he was at the Trappist Monastery of Our Lady Gethsemane, he wrote a book that is “both about meditation and a meditation in itself.”


Monday Devotion: Celebrating Solitude

Suggestions for Further Reading of Celebration of Discipline, Chapter 7

            Jesus spent four days alone in the desert before his public ministry. When he was choosing twelve disciples the next day, he spent whole night in prayer in solitude. Jesus withdrew by a boat to solitary place when he heard about death of John the Baptist. Jesus withdrew himself from thousands of crowds and went to be in solitude in hillside just before he fed five thousand people excluding children and women. The author of the Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster has presented so many examples of Jesus Christ who celebrated, enjoyed, and blessed solitude. Among those examples, I want to cultivate a Christian character of solitude like withdrawing myself from work even though it is very important. Rather I want to be in solitude and spend time in prayer and devotion. Jesus himself withdrew himself from going to preach the kingdom of heaven for a while when he heard about the death of John, the Baptist. But he spent time in prayer and sought guidance from the Father at that time. Continue reading Monday Devotion: Celebrating Solitude

Monday Devotion: The Discipline of Solitude

Reading Notes

Solitude is inner fulfillment that sets us free from loneliness and fear.

Solitude is more a state of mind than it is a place.

Inward solitude has outward manifestations.

Inner solitude and inner silence are separable from each other.

The spiritual discipline of solitude and silence teach us when to speak and when to refrain from speaking.

The discipline of silence teaches us to speak when we should.

Silence makes us feel so helpless that we can hardly remain silent.

Silent is intimately related to trust.

One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier.

Silence brings us to believe that God cares for us.

The fruit of solitude is increased sensitivity and compassion for other people.

Reflecting on Solitude

Solitude is simply a state of mind and heart rather than being alone or far away from other people and their activities. The absence of other people has nothing to do with the spiritual discipline of solitude because it the isolation of mind and heart, but not a place. Thus, solitude and silence are interrelated to each other.

The most important purposes of solitude are training our tongue when to speak and when to refrain from speaking. Moreover, solitude makes us believe how much God cares and loves us. Similarly, solitude increases sensitivity and compassion for other people.

A Light for the Path

Literally, solitude implies the absence of all others. In the discipline of solitude, it implies the solitude of our mind and heart. When we are in distress and agony, our mind develops skeptical attitudes. They divide and scatter into fragments, so we lose our confidence and hope. However, we will be able to gather the fragmented thoughts and unify them into one in solitude. Gradually, our mind and heart become still which boosts our spirit to be confident. This is how confidence musters strength and makes us firm.

Journal Reflections

When I try to be in solitude, I also seek silence in that situation. It always does not turn as we expect. As a result, there will be spiritual tumult at that time. That experience rather brings inner emptiness in my life. Sometimes, I like to be in the mass because of fear if I would be alone. That fear also creates hollowness in my mind and heart which causes an inner emptiness.

Conversely, solitude becomes inner fulfillment when I collect all fragmented thoughts and merge them into one single thought. I feel solitude and deep inner silence in the mind and heart although there is commotion outside.

Monday Devotion: Thomas à Kempis on Solitude

Thomas à Kempis  (c.1379 – 1471)

Background and Context

Thomas à Kempis, a classic devotion contributor to Christian world in fourteenth century was a member of the Brethren of the Common life. It was a religious community found in Holland to provide education and care for the poor. Kempis was a well educated intellectual icon of his time who was a spiritual director in a branch of the Augustinians. In other words, Kempis was a spiritual leader to lead young men into spirituality who wanted to learn under the order of Augustinian. Continue reading Monday Devotion: Thomas à Kempis on Solitude