Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merton on Love and Service

Some good words, about which I'll continue to reflect in 2014.

"Do not depend on the hope of results.... [S]tart more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. ... In the end... it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything....
"The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen and we can share in them; but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important.
"The next step in the process is for you to see that your own thinking about what you are doing is crucially important. You are probably striving to build yourself an identity in your work and your witness.... That is not the right use of your work. All the good that you will do will come not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God's love.
"The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth: and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free of the domination of causes and just serve Christ's truth... [t]he real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see."

         ---Thomas Merton to James Forest, 2/21/66, quoted in Thomas Del Prete, Thomas Merton and the Education of the Whole Person (Religious Education Press, 1990).

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