Daily Riches: Gradually Being Freed From Habitual Hardness of Heart (Thomas Merton)

“Even the capacity to recognize our condition before God is itself a grace. We cannot always attain it at will. To learn mediation does not, therefore, mean learning an artificial technique for infallibly producing ‘compunction’ and the ‘sense of our nothingness’ when ever we please. On the contrary, this would be the result of violence and would be inauthentic. Mediation implies the capacity to receive this grace whenever God wishes to grant it to us, and therefore a permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity, pliability. To learn to meditate then means to gradually get free from habitual hardness of heart, torpor and grossness of mind, due to arrogance and non-acceptance of simple reality, or resistance to the concrete demands of God’s will.” Thomas Merton

“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do
flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In his grace, has God allowed you to “recognize your condition before God?” What has that meant for you?
  • Merton says we must have a “permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity [and] pliability” to develop the “capacity to receive God’s grace when he wishes to grant it to us.” Can you pray slowly through this list, asking God to show you any areas in your life that need to change?
  • Are you developing practices like Sabbath, solitude and silence, or like meditation and wordless prayer so that God has more and more unhindered access to your heart? …so that your “capacity” to receive from him is increasing?
  • Are you taking risks with your heart, perhaps resisting “the concrete demands of God’s will” even though you know better?

Abba, by your grace, soften my heart to you, so that I may receive fuller, even more needed grace.

For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”