Incarnational Involvement – 6 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Love and Living edited by Naomi Burton Stone and Patrick Hart

by Mark Votava

510p+r97PhL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_1. Silence, solitude, love

“Where is silence?  Where is solitude?  Where is love?”

2. Celebration is the beginning of confidence, therefore of power

“We like to be together.  We like to dance together.  We like to make pretty and amusing things.  We like to laugh at what we have made.  We like to put bright colors on the walls – more bright colors on ourselves.  We like our pictures, they are crazy.  Celebration is crazy: the craziness of not submitting even though ‘they,’ ‘the others,’ the ones who make life impossible, seem to have all the power.  Celebration is the beginning of confidence, therefore of power.”

3. Narcissism produces a fake humanism

“Narcissism is hostile to the true development of man’s capacity to love.  Narcissism alienates man and his society in a slavery to things – money, machines, commodities, luxuries, fashions, and pseudoculture.  The idolatrous mentality of narcissism produces a fake humanism which cynically deifies man in order to cheat him of his human fulfillment and enslave him to the ‘rat race’ for riches, pleasure, and power.”

4. Incarnational involvement in the struggle of living

“The Christian cannot be fully what he is meant to be in the modern world if he is not in some way interested in building a better society, free of war, of racial and social injustice, of poverty, and of discrimination.  It is no longer possible to evade this obligation by withdrawing into otherworldly aspirations and pious interiority unconcerned with human and historical problems.  On the contrary, eschatological Christian hope is inseparable from an incarnational involvement in the struggle of living and contemporary man.”

5. Profoundly contemplative and rich in active work

“All Christian life is meant to be at the same time profoundly contemplative and rich in active work…  It is true that we are called to create a better world.  But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.  In doing this, we act as co-workers with God.  We take our place in the great work of mankind, since in effect the creation of our own destiny, in God, is impossible in pure isolation.  Each one of us works out his own destiny in inseparable union with all those others with whom God has willed us to live.  We share with one another the creative work of living in the world.  And it is through our struggle with material reality, with nature, that we help one another create at the same time our own destiny and a new world for our descendants.  This work of man, which is his peculiar and inescapable vocation, is a prolongation of the creative work of God…  Failure to measure up to this challenge and to meet this creative responsibility is to fail in that response to life which is required of us…”

6. Becoming ourselves

“There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power.  We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within.  And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves.  To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.”

Which quote do you like the best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.