Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Choosing to Love the World

Catholic monk and mystic Thomas Merton continues to offer remarkable guidance for the times in which we live. I've long admired Merton and have sampled his writings at different times in my life. A wonderful new compilation of selections from Merton's key writings is titled "Choosing to Love the World". What a fit and striking reminder of the essence of spirituality in so many ways, in a day and time in which we are more tempted to fear the world, than love it.
"For God so loved the world..." the Gospel of John reminds us.

Here's a passage from Merton's writings in this wonderful book...

"He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.

There is nothing more tragic in the modern world than the misuse of power and action to which we are driven by our own Faustian misunderstandings and misapprehensions. We have more power at our disposal today than we have ever had, and yet we are more alienated and estranged from the inner ground of meaning and of love than we have ever been. The result of this is evident. We are living through the greatest crisis in the history of man; and this crisis is centered precisely in the country that has made a fetish out of action and has lost (or perhaps never had) the sense of contemplation. Far from being irrelevant, prayer, meditation and contemplation are of utmost importance in American today."


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