Monday, April 30, 2012

A Year With Thomas Merton - April 25

Loyal to the Truth

The Truth is a Way and a Person--and a Way and a Person have to be found and followed. Truth is to be lived. There are, in fact, no simple formulas that will suffice once for all. True, there are principles. But a principle is worthless if it is usually known and not applied. And if we apply it, we have to have regard for circumstances that make the principle true in a unique way in this unique case--or that perhaps calls into action some entirely different principle that gives the lie to the first.

How hard it is to be loyal to the Truth when most of the time you do not see any of it! Thus loyalty demands constant criticism, constant rejection of empty formulas, of words used to evade the struggle and to allay anguish, rather than to find Truth or express it. And can we use words simply to find Truth? Is this not an illusion?

There grows in me an immense dissatisfaction with all that is merely passively accepted as truth, without struggle and without examination. Faith, surely, is not passive, and not an evasion. And today, more than ever, the things we believe, I mean especially the things we accept on human faith--reported matters of "fact," questions of history, of policy, of interpretation, of wants--they should be very few. In great spheres we should believe little or nothing, except what is obviously and incontrovertibly true--that the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, for instance.

April 20, 1958, III. 192

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