“It would perhaps be too much to say that the world needs another movement such as that which drew these men into the deserts of Egypt and Palestine. Ours is certainly a time for solitaries and for hermits. But merely to reproduce the simplicity, austerity and prayer of these primitive souls is not a complete or satisfactory answer. We must transcend them, and transcend all those who, since their time have gone beyond the limits which they set. We must liberate ourselves, in our own way, from involvement in a world that is plunging to disaster. But our world is different from theirs. Our involvement in it is more complete. Our danger is far more desperate. Our time, perhaps, is shorter than we think.” Thomas Merton
“We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them; we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them but to find out the way to do them the most good. …For the monk searches not only his own heart; he plunges deep into the heart of that world of which he remains a part although he seems to have ‘left’ it. In reality the monk abandons the world only in order to listen more intently to the deepest and most neglected voices that proceed from it’s inner depth. …The only justification for a life of deliberate solitude is the conviction that it will help you to love not only God but also other men.” Merton
”Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers
to abstain from fleshly lusts
which wage war
against the soul.”
1 Peter 2:11.
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you agree that ours is “a time for solitaries and for hermits?” Is God calling you to a life somehow separate from the crowd which would enable you “to love not only God but also other men?”
- Do you see our world as “plunging to disaster?” Is there a way for you to “liberate” yourself from it today as the desert monastics did in theirs? What would that look like?
- Are you able to listen intently to the “deepest and most neglected voices” of our world? What can you to do grow in that capacity?
Abba, guide me in my day as you did the monastics before me.
For More: New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”