Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Year With Thomas Merton - February 9

Out of Touch and Left Behind

The "spiritual preoccupations" of this time--the post-Vatican II Conciliar years. (A imaginary era we have thought up for ourselves--divertissement!) I need perhaps to be less preoccupied with them, to show that one can be free of them, and go one's own way in peace. But there is inculcated in us such a fear of being out of everything, out of touch, left behind. This fear is a form of tyranny, a law--and one is faced with a choice between this law and true grace, hidden, paradoxical, but free.

An unformulated "preoccupation" of our time--the conviction that it is precisely in these (collective) preoccupations that the Holy Spirit is at work. To be "preoccupied with the current preoccupations" is then the best--if not the only--way to be open to the Spirit.

Hence one must know what everybody is saying, read what everybody is reading, keep up with everything or be left behind by the Holy Spirit. Is this a perversion of the idea of the Church--a distortion of perspective due to the Church's situation in the world of mass communications? I wonder if this anxiety to keep up is not in fact an obstacle to the Holy Spirit.

February 24, 1966, VI.363

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