Thomas Merton

“Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there, too, a great deal has to be done though, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real.

In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything. The great thing, after all, is to live—not to pour out our life in the service of a myth. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration, and confusion… The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do God’s will, we will be helping in this process.”

Thomas Merton to Jim Forrest from the Fellowship of Reconciliation

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