LIFE – DEATH The question of the mystery of life and existence occurred to Ivan Merz early in his youth. The problem of death and suffering that he faced daily on the front during the war, completely changed his view on the world.The only satisfactory answer to the riddle of life and existence he discovered gradually in the Christian faith.

God,how large the Universe is: everything shines, everything moves!

With what speed this infinity rushes and turns around, and man thinks about it. Where does it go? Why does man have a body, when is he, in fact, a soul? Why? Which way? How? The eternal mysteries.

I’m most interested in the philosophy of life. I want to penetrate into the

mystery of life.

A religious life, a thought about Eternity, Death, Love, it is something great.

Life is not enjoyment but sacrifice.

Life is a fight for the truth and let’s observe it.

Our lives must be full of sacrifices: we should deprive ourselves of viewing

a great deal of beauty.

This life is only the preparation for eternity.

We should try to sweeten this short life with an ascetical way of life.

I feel that this life is only an ephemeral phase that leads into eternal life.

We mustn’t oppose the harmony of the Universe.

Life is a short, severe trial and who manages to get over it, he/she enters the life full of light and colours.

Pain, suffering, a view of thousands of deformed, dead and haggard people, washes a person of all ephemeral things, and suggests the meaning of life energetically.

Really, when a person is lonely and in darkness, the whole real world seems to be a dream.

A person in solutide and darkness feels that a spiritual world, the world of night and prayer, is more real than all that exists visually. We should long for it.

The most important question for man is the problem of death.

Frankly speaking, I’m not afraid of death, for up there – there is a real kingdom.


Thinking about the secrets of life and death, Ivan quickly notices the ephemerality of everything earthly. He constantly thinks about eternity. He finds the answers to all of these questions in the Christian faith.

Does a man have the right to be happy? Isn’t this world one of toil and trouble, and in the way the person proves to be in this toil, in the same way he/she wins the prize in the next world, which is eternal.

When everything in nature is so wonderfully ordered, it must be that the eternity of our life will be also rightful.

We have the honour of struggling through life and store up treasure for that great life.

The philosophy of happiness lies in this: the object of all our desires should be placed into the world to come.

Thinking about the ephemeral, I have no desires. Only the ascetic, monastic life in worshipping the Eucharist might bring satisfaction.

We know that this life is a very short phase and that after it we’ll be in the eternal heaven.

All the powers of this life should be aimed at the life to come after this stay on the Earth.

Let’s be brave, let’s sacrifice a second of this life to enter the endless heaven.

We must always be aware of the short duration of this life and that it’s only a minimal phase of eternity.

Let’s use all of our energies to redeem our souls and as many souls of our neighbours as possible.

My parents will vanish and everything will look like a dream, until I enter a dark, horrible street. No, it’s not dark nor horrible, but bright, full of a transcendental glow. Resurrectio – Resurrection is celebrated there.

Self-sacrifice and the Eucharist are the ways that lead us toward eternity.

Man is here only a traveller, his real habitation is not on the Earth, he’s been chosen for something higher.

I should vanish from the Earth, be burned up, to enter with as many of my neighbours as possible there where the Father, the Son, the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Holy Spirit, apostles, martyrs, angels, virgins wait for us – all those endless worlds of Apocalypse.

When will there finally there be a time without any sin? When will we see the resurrected Lamb of God and the splendor of His eternally beautiful Mother?

When will we be united in the song of heavenly choirs, when will we melt into the eternal singing of Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, wrapped up in the divine brilliance?


Ivan observed the created world around himself and he logically came to the conclusion about the existence of the Creator who governs everything. His faith in God, however, was passing through crises and doubts. Little by little, especially through the experience of suffering in the war, his faith was purged, became firm and he grew in love and longing for union with God.

All the wonders of the world, the whole of nature, leads us to the conclusion that everything was created by the infinite Spirit, by the Ideal of mankind, by Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

The secret of night was more and more engaging my attention, and in the motion of the Universe I felt the pulse of the One who was at the beginning, who exists now and who is going to reign forever.

God’s melodies hold and fill up the whole Universe.

In each man’s soul there is longing for something great.

Our hearts long eruptively for God.

God exists and I firmly believe, even in the strongest moments of trial and doubt that he is the only, eternal and great God.

I believe in the Lord God Almighty, I believe that He’s the perfect Spirit in free will and greatness.

The fact is that God exists, that I feel Him around me, in myself, here, there, everywhere.

When God exists, the result of this fact is that our life has a purpose.

If we believe in the absolute Divinity, then nothing happens by chance.

Filial love gives me a proof that love, soul, God are not a utopia, that all of them exist, that man really is an idea that yearns after its source.

Where you are absent, God, there’s no joy .

The whole of our life is a struggle between good and evil, by which struggle we come to the Ideal of our life: the Almighty.

The best apology of God’s activity in mankind is a unique spirit which permeates the Catholic movements in the world.

No human might, no philosophical system can create a unique spirit that permeates the Catholic movements in the world. This is the act of Might that is above us and that we look for and want to comprehend.


Reading Ivan’s diary we notice how Ivan – through art and then by means of his personal reflection, was reaching the comprehension of a true religion and its value for his personal life. Merz found the true religion only in the Catholic faith to which he will later dedicate his whole life .

The conversation with the Almighty, this connection, the recognition of the Almighty, this is religion.

Religion without prayer is dead.

The conversation of personal feelings, reflection about the Holy Writ and the intentions of the Almighty, this is prayer.

The best way to spend time is to contemplate God and the revealed truths.

Modern society despairs because it has lost a connection with the Primeval Source.

Absolute contentment is in God only.

Our spirit longs for the perfect , great Spirit. A man talks to Him in prayer and He answers him so surprisingly and nicely that a person thinks and breathes the air of the heights.

When the heart rushes toward the mystical regions, it feels a charming thirst that is greater and greater the nearer it is to its Source.

God, how much I love you, how much I thank you for you are filling my soul now with a strange, abundant sweetness.

How my soul rises, how it flies to You; it would like to break this chest by superhuman strength, and go up there to be united with You eternally.

There is one God who ceaselessly influences the human soul.


Ivan Merz didn’t leave us a theory of prayer, but an example of a prayer practice. In this chapter his short prayers have been collected as he wrote them down mainly in his diary on various occasions, like a student, or like a soldier on the front or already like a mature person. His prayers came out of the bottom of his heart, sincerely; they are conditioned by the life circumstances in which Ivan lived at the time. Especially through his prayers we can better learn about his soul, completely devoted to God. Looking backwards and observing Merz’s saintly character, we can assert that all of Ivan’s prayers stated below were gradually answered by God.

God, forgive me for leaving you. Give me strength again to get to know you everywhere and in everything, to feel you everywhere.

God, burn the parasites of sin in my soul by the flame of your mercy so that I, good and saintly, enter you.

God, Comforter, come and imbue my nature with the atoms of eternity.

My good Mother, the Greatest One, I beg you, fill my soul with beautiful feelings and noble thoughts. Always show me the right way, even if it is difficult to follow.

My prayer goes now to the Immaculate: let Her follow me at my every step in the town of Vienna. Let my every walk and step be headed to the beautiful.

Eternal Mother, you who are the embodiment of poetry, of everything beautiful and eternal, let me be able to continue receiving the gifts of beauty.

God, help me. Give me your grace to become an unconditional master of my body. It’s better to die than to become soft, to be at the mercy of passion.

Oh, God, if I were already with you! It would be best if you burned by the flame of your mercy the parasites of sins which are in my soul, so that I, good and saintly, enter you.

God, give me a thundering strength to collect all of my passions into my fist, to take them with my right hand and throw them with the cannon’s strength onto a cliff so that they break and scatter in all directions like glass.

God, God, when will I be able to do this? When will I tread on this earth purged! Help me, God, because it’s better not to live than to live in this way.

God, I beg you to give me the grace to burn my laziness and sensuality! Make my spirit stronger than my stomach which tries to subjugate me. Consecrate my body and soul!

Oh, my God, give me strength to love you ardently, to believe in you so firmly, to walk through the places which threaten death without any consideration or fear, innocent like a child who has never heard of stories about fear.

My God, enlighten me so that I can soon come to a decision. Your will be done everywhere, for we are here only the passengers, and in our true homeland I won’t be asked if I am a professor or a bricklayer. But one should be something!

I beg you, Jesus, the possibility to think about eternal truths, and to unite with you daily, my God.

God, take me and don’t let me cast my eye on the side and regret my choice. Let me accept the chalice of suffering and call upon your name on this earth, so that I can look at you face to face in the hereafter.