Sunday, December 14, 2008

Merton on humanity

I appreciate Troy Jackson's analysis of the importance of the thought of Thomas Merton, the spiritual leader who died 40 years ago this year.

What was it about 1968 and the loss of so many significant people?

Good focus for this Sunday:

I grew up an evangelical, so part of my spiritual DNA is to act first and pray later. I had few models of men and women in my church who practiced regular reflection, contemplation, and solitude. Fewer still took seriously the call to simplicity. Thankfully, over the past few decades, I have learned from and tried to emulate the spiritual depth found in Merton’s volumes of contemplative writings, and through the integrity of his life.

Merton’s words stand the test of time. He called a world filled with greed, violence, prejudice, and fear to pursue dialogue, silence, solitude, and prayer. He questioned the values and priorities of modernity, claiming modern

"mass man … lives not only below the level of grace, but below the level of nature—below his own humanity. No longer in contact with the created world or with himself, out of touch with reality of nature, he lives in the world of collective obsessions, the world of systems and fictions with which modern man has surrounded himself. In such a world, man’s life is no longer even a seasonal cycle. It’s a linear flight into nothingness, a flight from reality and from God, without purpose and without objective, except to keep moving, to keep from having to face reality. "

Continue reading here.

Your thoughts???


Anonymous said...

He was another one of those wacky, but lovable and eccentric, bacon lettuce and tomato guys

Tim Timmons said...

Thomas Merton was one of God's greatest gifts to humanity - and to me personally as well. I have one of his books sitting on my desk at home.

He was a mystic in the same spiritual lineage of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint John of the Cross (Dark Night of the Soul). if you ever get chance to listen to Loreena McKennitt sing "Rising Sun" - you'll be hearing some of the same words that inspired Merton.

PBS will be running a one hour special on him on December 18th.

Larry James said...

Thanks for the tip and the opinion, Tim! Always good to hear from you. Anon, 7:32, if Merton was "wacky," may I grow in that rare grace myself!