Merton to the rescue

Lately I’ve been very troubled. I dare say, I’ve been depressed with all the bad news that surrounds us. I’ve been consumed by the myriad troubles of the world because I care too deeply. Today I got a message from the Merton Foundation that resonates for me. I hope it does for you too.

What is wanted now is not simply the Christian who takes an inner complacency in the words and example of Christ, but who seeks to follow Christ perfectly, not only in his own personal life, not only in prayer and penance, but also in his political commitments and in all social responsibilities.

We have certainly no need for a pseudo-contemplative spirituality that claims to ignore the world and its problems entirely, and devotes itself supposedly to the things of God, without concern for human society. All true Christian spirituality, even that of the Christian contemplative, is and must always be deeply concerned with man, since “God became man in order that man might become God” (St. Irenaeus). The Christian spirit is one of compassion, of responsibility and of commitment. It cannot be indifferent to suffering, to injustice, error, and untruth.

Thomas Merton. Peace in the Post-Christian Era. Edited by Patricia A. Burton (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004): 135.

I need balance and was thinking of giving all this up. I may yet. I’ve not felt the urge to write or better yet to write well. I’ve felt very down, but Merton has given me hope and shown me that it is quite normal and desirable to see a world where you and I are called to action. Maybe that action is just a prayer now and then.

4 Replies to “Merton to the rescue”

  1. I hear you but Thomas Merton was all about hope and believing that light is truly ours if we will only search for it. Everyone has their burdens, but if we empty ourselves of things that make no difference, then we may fill ourselves with things that can a difference – helping others, loving those who disagree or even hate us, being compassionat to everyone, and trying out best to live a Christlike existence. Hope is everyone, never give up. Merton would be disappointed if you did.

    Bless you,
    Mark Shaw

  2. Perception

    We thought “conditions” drove us to drink, and when we tried to correct these conditions and found that we couldn’t to our entire satisfaction, our drinking went out of hand and we became alcoholics. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves, whatever they were. — Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 47

    Nobody can change my thoughts but me.

    I find it is easier to change me and my attitude than to change the world. Hopefully, I can pass that on to one person. Be a living example of what I believe.

    I enjoy your blog — don’t give up — they win if your voice is silent.

  3. Blogging has been a discovery process for me. I was never a journal person until the last couple of years. Been taking my inventory today and building a gratitude list. I have a lot to be grateful for and every now and then I need more time to assess that and always with the help of other people.

    I stopped by the Abbey of the Genesee last night on my way home from Rochester and just sat in the silence. I know God is everywhere but he always seems closest in that sanctuary. Maybe because I first heard him there nearly thirty years ago. Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve been beating up on myself, judging myself and others too harshly.

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