Saturday, February 18, 2017

destiny

"I can no longer see the ultimate meaning of a man's [sic] life in terms of either 'being a poet' or 'being contemplative' or even in a certain sense 'being a saint', (although that is the only thing to be). It must be something much more immediate than that. I -- and every other person in the world -- must say 'I have my own peculiar destiny which no one else has ever had or ever will have. There exists for me a particular goal, a fulfillment which must be all my own -- nobody else's -- and it does not really identify that destiny to put it under some category -- 'poet', 'monk', 'hermit'. Because my own individual destiny is a meeting, an encounter with God that God has destined for me alone. God's glory in me will be to receive from me something which God can never receive from anyone else."
- Merton, from a letter written to Mark Van Doren in March, 1948

Thursday, February 2, 2017

a flash of sanity

"Anunciation" by Thomas Merton; photo by Jim Forest
"At least a flash of sanity: the momentary realization that this is no need to come to certain conclusions about persons, events, conflicts, trends, even trends toward evil and disaster, as if from day to day and even from moment to moment I had to know and declare (at least to myself): This is so and so, this is good, this is bad; we are heading for a “new era” or we are heading for destruction. What do such judgments mean? Little or nothing. Things are as they are, in an immense whole of which I am a part, and which I cannot pretend to grasp. To say I grasp it is immediately to put myself in a false position, as if I were “outside” it. Whereas to be  in it is to seek truth in my own life and action, by moving where movement is possible and keeping still when movement is unnecessary, realizing that things will continue to define themselves and that the judgments and mercies of God will clarify themselves - and will be more clear to me if I am silent and attentive, obedient to God’s will, rather than constantly formulating statements in this age which is smothered  in language, in meaningless and inconclusive debate, and in which, in the last analysis, nobody listens to anything except what agrees with his own prejudices." 


-Thomas Merton, Learning to Love, page 366

Apocalyptic times

Charlottesville VA, August 2017 "There is no need to insist that in a world where another Hitler is very possible the mere existenc...