“The mission of the contemplative in this world of massive conflict and collective unreason is to seek the true way of unity and peace without succumbing to the illusion of withdrawal into a realm of abstraction from which unpleasant realities are simply excluded by force of the will. In facing the world with a totally different viewpoint, he maintains alive in the world the presence of a spiritual and intelligent consciousness which is the root of true peace and true unity among men.”–Thomas Merton, Faith and Violence (University of Notre Dame Press, 1968).
Reflecting on this comment reminds me how effective we can be if we choose to remain contemplative and engaged in the world around us. There are some among us who would encourage us to withdraw, to give up our engagement with the world. However, as Franciscans and children of the Incarnation it is our special charism to share the beauty of the world with those around us each day. It is very important however to continue to sit quietly each day a be still with God as we conceive God so that we can share that stillness and beauty with others. We literally live with and for others. As Merton says remain engaged and not succumb to the illusion of withdrawal. Peace.
thomas merton, contemplative, franciscan, incarnation