Next to The Fire Within, one of the best books I’ve read in the last three years. Merton’s not only a brilliant writer, he’s full of the contemplative fire of God’s love - who could resist? For anyone who with the sensitivity to be moved by a story of family, of searching vocation, and the deepest spiritual movements of the soul, this book is for you.
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
You mustn’t wage your Christian struggle with sermons and arguments, but with true secret love. When we argue, others react. When we love people, they are moved and we win them over. When we love, we think that we offer something to others, but in reality we are the first to benefit.
- Elder Porphyrios
(via a-pilgrims-diary)Source: jcassian
How can love guide life in this world? How are we to enact love in a world where love has no place to rest its head?
Augustine’s answer lies in the idea of the activity of confession, a double confession, itself doubly doubled.
This confession is double first of all in what it is about: initially one’s sin, but also praise of God; secondly it is double in its audience: both to God and to one’s fellow humans (ennar. 138.1; in Io. ep. 1.6).
The primordial theological activity of confession, that is, is both profoundly private and public, psychological and political, “vertical” and “horizontal.”
"Confession" here does not mean what we typically take it to mean; it is not fundamentally an exhibitionism, that desperate (and violent) stand-in for openness which is manifest so pathetically on TV talk shows. It is not fundamentally about the communication of autobiographical data; it is more an orientation, an awareness of and openness to the others surrounding oneself - an openness to transforming, and being transformed by, them.
In it we find ourselves decentered, we find that we are no longer the main object of our purposes, but participate in something not primarily our own. This confession, then, is itself a turning to the other, not in the interests of mutual narcissism - which makes the other only a consolation prize for having to be already ourselves - but as an openness to transforming, and being transformed by, the other.
There is no security in this. But none should be anticipated in this life. Our hopes must anticipate a transcendental satisfaction, and we should seek to be “trained by the longing” for the end (in Io. ep. 4.6). But this training takes place here, and we cannot escape it, or the conditions of this journey, before our completion."