Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - September 2

A Compassionate Transparency

And yet it seems to be that writing, far from being an obstacle to spiritual perfection in my own life, has become one of the conditions on which my perfection will depend. If I am to be a saint--and there is nothing else that I can think of desiring to be--it seems that I must get there by writing books in a Trappist monastery. If I am to be a saint, I have not only to be a monk, which is what all monks must do to become saints, but I must also put down on paper what I have become. It may sound simple, but it is not an easy vocation.

To be as good a monk as I can be, and to remain myself, and to write about it: to put myself down on paper, in such a situation, with the most complete simplicity and integrity, masking nothing, confusing no issue: this is very hard because I am all mixed up in illusions and attachments. These, too, will have to be put down. But without exaggeration, repetition, useless emphasis. To be frank without being boring: it is a kind of crucifixion. Not a very dramatic or painful one. But it requires much honesty that is beyond my nature. It must come somehow from the Holy Spirit.

A complete and holy transparency: living, praying and writing in the light of the Holy Spirit, losing myself entirely by becoming public property just as Jesus is public property in the Mass. Perhaps this is an important aspect of my priesthood--my living of my Mass: to become as plain as a Host in the hands of everybody. Perhaps it is this, after all, that is to be my way to solitude. One of the strangest ways so far devised, but it is the way of the Word of God.

September 1, 1949, I.365-66

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