Day 39 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 39
Yesterday, in Louisville, at the corner of 4th and Walnut, suddenly realized that I loved all the people and that none of them were or could be totally alien to me. As if waking from a dream – a dream of my separateness, of the “special” vocation to be different. My vocation does not really make me different from the rest of men or put me in a special category except artificially, juridically. I am still a member of the human race, and what more glorious destiny is there for man, since the Word was made flesh and became, too, a member of the Human Race!

Thank God! Thank God! I am only another member of the human race, like all the rest of them. I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

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

Today: Seeking to see what’s different about someone else creates division. Seeking to see what someone holds in common with you, helps create a sense of unity. Consider becoming a people watcher today. Look for some stranger and speculate on what you hold in common with that fellow human. Try it on the next cashier at the super market, the next telemarketer who calls, your neighbor who just scolded you for not attending to your children or your dog, your partner who just complained about something you did to upset them. Find the overlap, what you hold in common with that person and you’ll find it’s a lot harder to be upset with them.

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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