Day 15 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 15

Violence rests on the assumption that the enemy and I are entirely different: the enemy is evil and I am good. The enemy must be destroyed but I must be saved. But love sees things differently. It sees that even the enemy suffers from the same sorrows and limitations that I do. That we both have the same hopes, the same needs, the same aspiration for peaceful and harmonious human life. And that death is the same for both of us. Then love may perhaps show me that my brother is not really my enemy and that war is both his enemy and mine. War is our enemy. Then peace becomes possible.

— Thomas Merton in No Man Is an Island quoted in Thomas Merton: Essential Writings selected by Christine M. Bochen

 

Today:   Jesus spoke literally, “Love your enemy.” Merton spoke figuratively that peace becomes possible when you see war as your “enemy”. How can you personally embrace such world views when they appear to be self-contradicting? Maybe the way to resolve this would be to look at how it would take shape in your relationships with the people around you? We don’t have to become physically violent to be at war with one another, do we? Consider a bridge that enables you to cross over from the side of war to the side of peace. Call that bridge “curiosity.” What would becoming curious look like when you’re confronted face-to-face with an “enemy” ? If you’d like, write me your thoughts.

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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2 Responses to Day 15 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

  1. Barbara says:

    Father, I think I see “the enemy” every day. Sometimes I appalled by what he does, curiosity runs rampant in me to find out why he is at war with certain people. Why is he still at war when this person is obviously spent of life or the will or capability to live it normally. My curiosity looks like a bridge of compassion, reaching out to see where the damage has been done, and how we can take that and turn it back to God to mend it…Maybe that sounds to easy and uncomplicated…it is much more complicated sometimes. However that is the best way I can explain it!

    Blessings
    Barb

  2. sue day says:

    Ok, this is a bit confusing to me but what I am getting is this…………a few years back there would have been no way for me to ” love my enemy” !!! I just couldn’t do it and I know that I lost alot from that experience. I would say that in the past 3 years or so I still have the enemy, but by praying for the enemy and me I can confront the enemy
    maybe not with open arms so to speak, but with a clearer mind and more of a forgiving heart and soul. Life is so much better this way……………. I still can really get mad with the enemy but now I have the better thought process to get past it and move forward………………

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