Monday, December 5, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - December 4

My Old Life Slowly Breaks Loose

Last evening at supper I began Jacques Ellul's L'illusion politque. It is some comfort to find someone who agrees with my position. I must be resolutely non-political, provided I remain ready to speak out when it is needed. However, I think this book, too, may turn our insufficient and naive (philosophically weak perhaps, I am not far into it). But he is basically right in attacking the modern superstition that "what has no political value has no value at all"--"A man who does not read the newspapers is not a man." And to be apolitical is to be excommunicated as a sorcerer. That the deepest communion on man with man is in political declarations.

What is primary? God's revelation of Himself to me in Christ and my response in faith. In the concrete, this means for me my present life of solitude, acceptance of its true perspectives and demands, and the work of slow orientation that goes on. Each day, a little, I realize that my old life is breaking loose and will eventually fall, in pieces, gradually. What then? My solitude is not like the German poet Rilke's: ordered to a poetic explosion. Nor is it a mere deepening of religious consciousness. What is it then? What has been so far only a theological conception, or an image, has to be sought and loved: "Union with God!" So mysterious that in the end man would perhaps do anything to evade it, once he realizes it means the end of his own Ego self-realization, once for all. Am I ready? Of course not. Yet the course of my life is set in this direction.

December 5 and 7, 1965, V.322

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