Friday, December 9, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - December 9

The Complexity of Our Real "I"

When I got up it was about thirty degrees on the porch and now at dawn it is down to twenty-one. These are the coldest hours--meditation, lectio (spiritual reading), and hot tea with lemon and a good fire. I am reading Paul Evdokimov's La Femme et le salut du monde (Woman and the Salvation of the World)--after tea--and then Rilke's Duino Elegies.

"The cross is made up of our weaknesses and failures, it is constructed by our ego and above all by our profound gloom and unspeakable and culpable ugliness, in short, by all the complexity that is at this time the real I."

I experience the truth of this very real and exact insight of Evdokimov. Still, in regard to the Catholic Peace Fellowship--about which nothing is settled--I see how much there was that was inauthentic (i.e., false, spurious) in my own initial enthusiasm for identification with peace activities, The Catholic Worker, etc. It was in reality selfish and naive at the same time. And I did not foresee that necessarily they and I could hardly go along forever in agreement, living in totally different circumstances. Yet I do agree with their ideal in general--not with all its particular implementations. One could go on analyzing interminably. I must accept this result of my own inner contradictions and trust God to bring a solution in which His will may be done by me and all of them too. And I don't know what to do next--hence I must be content not to act at all, when I would very much like to settle everything in a big sweep.

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