Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Festival of Thomas Merton!

I'm still lobbying for December 10th to be Merton's Feast Day. After all, he entered the Abbey of Gethsemane December 10, 1941 and died in Bankok, December 10, 1968, the date bookending his monastic life.

But whether or not that happens, I'll celebrate in my own way. Tonight I'll read The Sign of Jonas, the first book I read by him, and which deeply affected me and my understanding of God.

In the meantime, here's a quote from a later work of his:

Am I sure that the meaning of my life is the meaning God intends for it? Does God impose a meaning on my life from the outside, through event, custom, routine, law, system, impact with others in society? Or am I called to create from within, with him, with his grace, a meaning which reflects his truth and makes me his “word” spoken freely in my personal situation? My true identity lies hidden in God’s call to my freedom and my response to him. This means I must use my freedom in order to love, with full responsibility and authenticity, not merely receiving a form imposed on me by external forces, or forming my own life according to an approved social pattern, but directing my love to the personal reality of my brother, and embracing God’s will in its naked, often impenetrable mystery. - From Seeds of Contemplation

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