Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - June 28

Living the Gospel

Question: (1) Can the Gospel commitment, in Gospel terms, be considered enough, or must it be translated also into concrete, contemporary social terms? (2) Is my commitment by religious vows enough, or must it be clarified by a further, more concrete commitment (a) to a monastic policy and (b) to a social viewpoint for myself and the other monks? (3) Are the commitments of the Church and the Order such today that they necessarily involve one in a “reactionary” social situation? Or is it faith that to follow the Church even in politics necessarily implies going in the direction of justice and truth, despite appearances to the contrary? Or is this question absurd? What are the Church’s politics exactly?

A commitment: to the point at least of reading and studying fully these questions, not speculatively, but in order to form my conscience and take such practical actions as I can.

This requires a certain perspective, which necessarily implies a withdrawal “to see better,” a stepping back from the machinery of daily monastic life, solitude for study and thought, and more individual development. Party of my vocation!

To discover all the social implications of the Gospel not by studying them but by living them, and to unite myself explicitly with those who foresee and work for a social order—a transformation of the world—according to these principles: primacy of the person (hence, justice, liberty, against slavery, peace, control of technology, etc.). Primacy of wisdom and love (hence, against materialism, hedonism, pragmatism, etc.).

June 5 and 6, 1960, IV.8-9

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