Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Year With Thomas Merton - February 15

On Not Going Crazy for Christ

I have been reading about de
Rancé, that old Trappist business of trying to starve and beat your way to sanctity and of assuming that your own efforts and energy are practically everything--beating your head against a brick wall at the end of the dead end in order to fulfill some particular negative ideal. Our Cistercian Fathers and St. Benedict knew better. So did the Little Flower. So did our Lord.

I don't know any universal solution to the problem of why monks go crazy, except yesterday it was such a beautiful day, and I walked under the trees and looked at the sunny hills, and listened to the quiet sunlight, and kicked the gravel with my feet and said, "What is there to go crazy about?" We have a wonderful vocation. Christ has brought us here to live: to live and breathe and be happy under His gaze, to play in His sight like children, while He takes care of us--to sing and fast and pray and (for me) to write books and to love all the time. It's not an effort; there is nothing to get excited about. Sure, I am distracted, I am vain, I am full of dumb books, and I get into interior arguments about the chant, so what? He know I don't want to get into all that stuff, and He loves me.

I am happy that I can at least want to love God. Perhaps that is all I've got, but it is already all that is essential. And He will take care of the rest.

February 22, 1948, II.172

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