“I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born.” Thomas Merton
“Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. …In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.” Pope Francis
“ Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Moving From Head to Heart
- Is religion as you practice it, part of the problem (extremism, reductionism, polarization), or the solution (protecting freedom, fostering love, working against grave injustices, creating social consensus)?
- Is the language of your religious leaders characterized by the moral courage, humility and hope that Pope Francis demonstrated before Congress?
- Do you recognize both the “image of God” and the “image of the world” in yourself? Can you be gracious and patient with yourself accordingly? …with others?
Abba, may your image increasingly prevail in us as individuals and communities of faith.
For More: The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thanks for reading and sharing them. I appreciate your interest! – Bill