Day 25 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 25

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them. It is pure affection, and filled with reverence for the solitude of others. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say. It is no longer a question of dishonoring them by accepting their fictions, believing in their image of themselves, which their weakness obliges them to compose, the wan work of communication. . . .

Solitude is not merely a negative relationship. It is not merely the absence of people or of presence with people. True solitude is a participation in the true solitariness of God — Who is in all things.

— Thomas Merton in A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals edited by Jonathan Montaldo

Today: Again Merton speaks of solitude and community. A country preacher told me a long time ago, “Ed, God’s more concerned about you than your ministry.” I didn’t like it at the time, but today, I am seeing the wisdom in this statement.  Consider your own community. Consider your own solitude.  Is there a healthy tension that brings balance into your life? Are you willing to escape in order to return?  Maybe the hard question might be, “Is your intimate relationship with God overshadowed by all the good works you do for him?”  Which you do believe God wants you to nurture and grow?

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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