3 Advent Monday


The more I am able to affirm others, to say “yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.

I will be a better Catholic, not if I can refute every shade of Protestantism, but if I can affirm the truth in it and still go further.

So, too, with the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, etc. This does not mean syncretism, indifferentism, the vapid and careless friendliness that accepts everything by thinking of nothing. There is much that one cannot “affirm” and “accept,” but first one must say “yes” where

one really can.

If I affirm myself as a Catholic merely by denying all this is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., in the end I will find that there is not much left for me to affirm as a Catholic: and certainly no breath of the Spirit with which to affirm it.

Thomas Merton in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander quoted in Thomas Merton: Essential Writings Christine M. Bochen

Today: War and violence requires division: I’m right, holy, and good and you’re wrong, despicable and evil. Our differences bring us war and violence. Our commonality with one another brings us peace. Just because we believe we know the truth doesn’t mean our faith has a monopoly on it. One need not compromise one’s personal convictions to embrace the truth and love of others different than ourselves. Consider seeking someone out today that is different… maybe someone you believe is “mistaken.” Instead of rising above them, consider looking for what you hold in common rather than where you are different. Look for the overlap.

Ed Jansen, OCM

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