Pope Francis on Thomas Merton

mertonPope Francis addressed Congress and all of the United States earlier today. I laud House Speaker Boehner for this initiative.

The Holy Father lauded Thomas Merton for his “capacity for dialogue and openness to God” as well as his “contemplative style.” I always pay attention when people speak of Merton.

A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.” Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

That inner dialogue is suggested here. Loving, yet hating: when we admit, we can begin the dialogue, become practiced at it, and engage it even when we think of the other as the enemy.

 

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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