Thursday, February 23, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - February 23
Belonging Entirely to God
Certainly the solitary life makes sense only when it is centered on one thing: the perfect love of God. Without this, everything is triviality. Love of God in Himself, for Himself, sought only in His will, in total surrender. Anything but this, in solitude, is nausea and absurdity. But outside of solitude, one can be occupied in many things that seem to have and do have a meaning of their own. And their meaning can be and is accepted, at least provisionally, as something that must be reckoned with until such time as one can come to love God alone perfectly, etc. This is all right in a way, except that, while doing things theoretically "for the love of God," one falls in practice into complete forgetfulness and ignorance and torpor. This happens in solitude, too, of course, but in solitude, while distraction is evidently vain, forgetfulness brings nausea. But in society, forgetfulness brings comfort of a kind.
It is therefore a great thing to be completely vulnerable and to feel at once, with every weakening of faith, a total loss. Things that in community are legitimate concerns are seen in solitude to be also temptations, test, questionings: for instance, the skin trouble on my hands.
February 27, 1965, V.211-12