Thursday, March 15, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - March 12
To Love and Serve Society
Came up to the hermitage at 4 a.m. The moon poured down silence over the woods, and the frosty grass sparkled faintly. More than two hours of prayer in firelight. The sun appeared and rose at 6:45. Sweet pungent smell of hickory smoke, and silence, silence. But birds again--presence, awareness. Our sorry idiot life, our idiot existence, idiot not because it has to be but because it is not what it could be with a little more courage and care. In the end it all comes down to renunciation, the "infinite bonding" without which one cannot begin to talk of freedom--but it must be renunciation, not more resignation, abdication, "giving up." There is no simple answer, least of all in the community. The ordinary answers tend to be confusing and to hide the truth, for which one must struggle in loneliness--but why in desperation? This is not necessary.
"All the more wretchedness as we see it about us is our wretchedness and our weakness," says Hromadka, in a powerful article about the Christian's concern for the (godless) man of today. From such a one I am willing to learn. He says the obligation of the Christian in a socialist society is first to understand that society, to love it and serve its spiritual needs, and to bring up children in truthfulness for the sake of helping in the task of building a new world. "Not with groaning but with joyful love for the man of this modern world of ours we want to bring a service which no one can bring in our stead."
March 26 and 27, 1964, V.92-93