The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedSaint John of the Cross
Title Quotedcomplete works of Saint John of the Cross, doctor of the church / Saint John of the Cross ; transl. from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, and ed. by E. Allison Peers
Date (Year/Month/Day)1957/09/15
ImprintWestminster. MD : The Newman Press, 1949
QuotationAnd this is what happens to people with a priori notions of what pleases God or "ought" to please Him. (Eating always displeases Him, fasting always pleases Him etc.) They end up by disobeying in everything or almost everything. The true will of God for us as Christ has taught it to us and St. Paul. Making void the law of God for the traditions of man. St. John of the Cross himself leads readers into this misapprehension. Where he says, "Strive always to choose not that which is easiest but that which is most difficult," he seems to be saying that the difficult is always the most perfect, the most pleasing to God and the easy is always imperfect-always less pleasing to God, always displeasing. The perfect equated with the hard and unpleasant. To say this is sometimes true is correct, To say it is always and necessarily so is FALSE! And that is the trouble.
Quotation SourceA Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk's True Life. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3, 1952-1960.; Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1996, p. 119
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Link to Merton's Copy