Monday, October 3, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - October 3
St. Benedict's Sanity
There is nothing whatever of the ghetto spirit in the Rule of St. Benedict.
That is the wonderful thing about the Rule and the saint. The freshness, the liberty, the spontaneity, the broadness, the sanity and the healthiness of early Benedictine life.
But closed in on itself, interpreting interpretations of interpretations, the monastery becomes a ghetto.
Reforms that concentrate too excessively on a return to strictness do not in fact break the spell. They tend to increase the danger of spiritual suffocation. On the other hand, fresh air is not the air of the world.
Just to break out of the ghetto and walk down the boulevard is no solution. The world has its own stink, too--perfume and corruption.
The fresh air we need is the air of the Holy Spirit "breathing where He pleases," which means that the windows must be open and we must expect Him to come from any direction.
The error is to lock the windows and doors in order to keep the Holy Spirit within our house. The very action of locking doors and windows is fatal.
October 27, 1957, III.130-31