“Christ will not be visible to the world in His Church except in
proportion as Christians seek peace and unity with one another and with
all men.  But since conflict is inevitable, unity cannot be maintained
except in great difficulty, with constantly renewed sacrifice, with
lucid honesty, openness, humility, the readiness to ask forgiveness and
to forgive.  Christian life is a perpetual conversion, a turning to God
and to the Church of pardon.”

(SEASONS OF CELEBRATION,  page 216-217)

–Thomas Merton

“DETACHMENT from things does not mean setting up a contradiction between “things” and “God” as if God were another “thing” and as if His creatures were His rivals. We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become de-tached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God. This is an entirely new perspective which many sincerely moral and ascetic minds fail utterly to see. There is no evil  in anything created by God, nor can anything of His become an obstacle to our union with Him. The obstacle is in our “self,” that is to say in the tenacious need to maintain our separate, external, egotistical will. It is when we refer all things to this outward and false “self” that we alienate ourselves from reality and from God. It is then the false self that is our god, and we love everything for the sake of this self. We use all things, so to speak, for the worship of this idol which is our imaginary self. In so doing we pervert and corrupt things, or rather we turn our relationship to them into a corrupt and sinful relationship. We do not thereby make them evil, but we use them to increase our attachment to our illusory self.

Those who try to escape from this situation by treating the good things of God as if they were evils are only confirming themselves in a terrible illusion. They are like Adam blaming Eve and Eve blaming the serpent in Eden. “Woman has tempted me. Wine has tempted me. Food has tempted me. Woman is pernicious, wine is poison, food is death. I must hate and revile them. By hating them I will please God.  . .” These are the thoughts and attitudes of a baby, of a savage and of an idolater who seeks by magic incantations and spells to protect his egotistical self and placate the insatiable little god in his own heart. To take such an idol for God is the worst kind of self-deception. It turns a man into a fanatic, no longer capable of sustained contact with the truth, no longer capable of genuine love.
In trying to believe in their ego as something “holy” these fanatics look upon everything else as unholy.”   Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation, Everything That Is, Is Holy

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