Monday, December 11, 2017

coming to terms with what is inmost in our selves ...

Czeslaw Milosz, The Paris Review

"The thing is then not to struggle to work out the 'laws' of a mysterious force alien to us and utterly outside us, but to come to terms with what is inmost in our own selves, the very depth of our own being. No matter what our 'Providence' may have in store for us on the surface of life, what is within, inaccessible to the evil will of others, is always good unless we ourselves deliberately cut ourselves off from it." 

- Merton (Striving Toward Being, letter to Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, dated 21 May 1959; 39-40.  Milosz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. Milosz and Merton had a deep and lively correspondence for ten years, until Merton's death in 1968.
A loss of harmony with the surrounding space, the inability to feel at home in the world, so oppressive to an expatriate, a refugee, an immigrant, paradoxically integrates him in contemporary society and makes him, if he is an artist, understood by all. Even more, to express the existential situation of modern man, one must live in exile of some sort.
—Czeslaw Milosz, “On Exile”


  1. Good photo! I like how the smoke seems to be carried onward by the writing in chalk on the blackboard. And Milosz's expressive face....

    1. I know. I couldn't find the name of the photographer other than that it appeared in the Paris Review.

      Milosz is an interesting guy. He & Merton had a sort of meeting of minds. Milosz challenged Merton at a level that I think few "theology" people ever did (or even do now).

      It helps me to see what Milosz looked like. I think it is his honed honesty that I find so refreshing. This photograph sort of captures it.

    2. Something about the way he holds the cigarette, his set jaw, and his open eyes, looking, suggest to me that he is a fluid man, grounded, but not at all set in his ways.


2nd Sunday of Advent 2023

Photo by John P. Walsh F rom Alfred Delp S.J.,   Prison Writings , Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, 2004: “So this Sunday we must again fol...