That I should have been born in 1915, that I should be the contemporary of Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Viet Nam and the Watts riots, are things about which I was not first consulted. Yet they are also events in which, whether I like it or not, I am deeply and personally involved. The “world” is not just a physical space traversed by jet planes and full of people running in all directions. It is a complex of responsibilities and options made out of the love, the hates, the fears, the joys, the hopes, the greed, the cruelty, the kindness, the faith, the trust, the suspicion of all. In the last analysis, if there is war because nobody trusts anybody, this is in part because I myself am defensive, suspicious, untrusting, and intent on making other people conform themselves to my particular brand of death wish.
[Contemplation in a World of Action: 161]
Saturday, February 23, 2008
choosing to love the world - 1
[Note: The next few entries are selected quotes that reflect Merton's world-engaging spirituality. Whereas an older school of monastic observance warned monks to abandon “the world” as decisively as one flees a sinking ship, Merton’s monastic life remained affiliated to the world he never left behind when he became a monk. Thanks to Jonathan Montaldo for directing me toward these quotes.]