Saturday, February 3, 2007

doing God's will, dynamically

"Merton understood that God's "will" was revealed most personally in the responses demanded of him through his relationships with his neighbors in the widest sense of that reality. Merton's neighbors were all beings with whom he shared his life. Every relationship in which we find ourselves asks us to respond flexibly, with justice and mercy, to what is the often unspoken need of our neighbor.

"We live contemplatively so that we can live dynamically in response to the changing needs of the neighbor before us."

- from BOOK ONE of the "Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton" series. Edited by Jonathan Montaldo & Robert G. Toth of the Merton Foundation. p. 36-37

"Unfortunately, many people view the will of God rather like a ten-ton elephant hanging overhead, ready to fall on them ... Actually the word which we translate into English as will comes from both a Hebrew and a Greek word which means yearning. ...

" ... Thus, the will of God is dynamic ... When we pray "Your will be done", we are not thinking about a script of our lives God has destined from all eternity. Rather we are referring to the choices we must make ..."

- Wilkie Au, "By Way of the Heart" (excerpted from Book One of the Bridges series book)


  1. Beth, you are the only other person I know of who has read Wilkie Au's "By Way of the Heart". I found it by accident a number of years ago in my public library, and it became a very important book in my life. Wonderful to see someone else mention it.

  2. SOrry, Gabrielle, I haven't read his book ... just excerpts from it that were used in the BRIDGES Merton series.

    I understand he is still teaching at a University in California, though. Those must be pretty good classes!

    Speaking of books from the public library, when I was about 22 years old I came upon Dag Hammerskjold's "Markings" in a small public library in Oregon. I was so moved by that book that I never brought it back (and ended up mailing them the money to pay for it). I still have the book, and still love it.

    I will look for some of Au's books in the library the next time I go.


The Merton Center

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