Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - Christmas Day

I Heard and Believed

I am finally reading Vladimir Lossky's fine book La Vision de Dieu, which reminds me that the best thing that has come out of the Second Vatican Council is the Declaration on Ecumenism, particularly on oriental theology. If it were a matter of choosing between "contemplation" and "eschatology," there is no question that I am, and would always be, committed entirely to the latter. Here in the hermitage, returning necessarily to beginnings, I know where my beginning was, having the Name and the Godhead of Christ preached in Corpus Christi Church. I heard and believed. And I believe that He has called me freely, out of pure mercy, to His love and salvation, and that at the end (to which all is directed by Him) I shall see Him after I have put off my body in death and have risen together with Him. And that at the last day "all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

What this means is that my faith is an eschatological faith, not merely a means of penetrating the mystery of the divine presence, resting in Him now. Yet because my faith is eschatological it is also contemplative, for I am even now in the Kingdom and I can even now "see" something of the glory of the Kingdom and praise Him who is King. I would be foolish, then, if I lived blindly, putting all "seeing" off until some imagined fulfillment (for my present seeing is the beginning of a real and unimaginable fulfillment!). Thus contemplation and eschatology are one in Christian faith and in surrender to Christ. They complete each other and intensify each other. It is by contemplation and love that I can best prepare myself for the eschatological vision--and best help all the Church, and all men, to journey toward it.

December 22, 1964, V.181-82

1 comment:

  1. I am struck by how incredibly widely read Merton was.

    I love his notion of eschatology and the connection he makes between it and contemplative prayer.