A pious monk

This came in today’s mail. I received this in another mailing just last week and I think it’s an appropriate response to all that surrounds us today.

I do not consider myself integrated in the war-making society in which I live, but the problem is that this society does consider me integrated in it. I notice that for nearly twenty years my society-or those in it who read my books-have decided upon an identity for me and insist that I continue to correspond perfectly to the idea of me which they found upon reading my first successful book [The Seven Storey Mountain, his autobiography published in 1948]. Yet the same people simultaneously prescribe for me a contrary identity. They demand that I remain forever the superficially pious, rather rigid and somewhat narrow-minded young monk I was twenty years ago, and at the same time they continually circulate the rumor that I have left my monastery. What has actually happened is that I have been simply living where I am and developing in my own way without consulting the public about it since it is none of the public’s business.

Thomas Merton. Raids on the Unspeakable. New York: New Directions Press, 1964: 172.

One Reply to “A pious monk”

  1. I like the thought of the day, myself:

    “I am content that these journal pages show me to be what I am: noisy, full of the racket of imperfections and passions and the wide open wounds left by sin, full of faults and envies and miseries, full of my own intolerable emptiness.”

    Thomas Merton. Entering the Silence. Journals Volume 2, Jonathan Montaldo, editor. San Francisco: Harpersanfranciso, 1997: 71.

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