Life Is On Our Side


Life is on our side.
The silence and the Cross of which we know
are forces that cannot be defeated.
In silence and suffering,
in the heartbreaking effort to be honest
in the midst of dishonesty
(most of all our own dishonesty),
in all these is victory.
It is Christ in us who drives us through darkness
to a light of which we have no conception
and which can only be found
by passing through apparent despair.
Everything has to be tested.
All relationships have to be tried.
All loyalties have to pass through the fire.
Much has to be lost.
Much in us has to be killed,
even much that is best in us.
But Victory is certain.
The Resurrection is the only light,
and with that light there is no error.

Excerpt from a letter to Czeslaw Milosz, 28 February 1959

Conference papers presented at the Eleventh General Meeting of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland
held at Oakham School, Oakham from 1st - 3rd April, 2016.

Various conference papers from the Eleventh General Meeting were subsequently published in editions of The Merton Journal and other places.

Main Conference Addresses:


John Dear - "Life Is On Our Side: Thomas Merton's Lessons in Peace and Non-violence."

Fiona Gardner - "Raising 'Strange Suns for Your New Mornings': Thomas Merton on Rebirth, Renewal and Resurrection."


Concurrent Session Papers:


Lars Adolfsson - "The Joy of Community and Sacramental Friendship."

William Apel - "This Yes to God: Merton and his Gospel of the Living Christ."

Nass Cannon - "A Certain Victory: Thomas Merton and the Journey of Personhood."

James G. R. Cronin - "The Poetics of History: Thomas Merton's Use of the Past to Guide Possible Futures."

Larry Culliford - "Merton, Arasteh and Final Integration: Exploring Personal Pathways to Spiritual Growth and Maturity."

Detlev Cuntz - "Thomas Merton and Paul Celan – Poetry after Auschwitz."

Peter Ellis - "What is With Me? What Am I In?."

Phil Garrity - "What is Left When All is Lost?: Merton and Eckhart's Apophatic Unknowing as Entry into Divine Mercy."

Gary Hall - "Siding with Life: The Journal of Merton’s Escaping."

Daniel P. Horan, OFM - "Thomas Merton's Model of 'Ecological Conversion' in the Age of Pope Francis."

Susanne Jennings - "Living Comprehensible: Thomas Merton and the Necessity of Silence."

Gray Matthews - "This Heartbreaking Effort: Contemplative Critique & the Struggle to Express Life."

Mark C. Meade - "Merton's Censored Struggle with Suicide."

Paul M. Pearson - "In Silence: Merton's Invitation to Victory."

Sonia Petisco - "The Seduction of the Divine: Thomas Merton's Experience of Love as Self Abandonment."


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