Merton on love

Love is our true destiny.
We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone—
we find it with another.
We do not discover the secret of our lives by mere study
and calculation in our own isolated meditations.
The meaning of our life is a secret that is to be revealed
to us in love, by the one we love.
We will never be fully real until we let ourselves fall in love….
Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value and identity.

Thomas Merton, Love and Living. (Source)

1 Kings 19

And there he came to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 

11 And he said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And behold, there came a voice to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meho′lah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And him who escapes from the sword of Haz′ael shall Jehu slay; and him who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Ba′al, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

1 Kings 19

Alone and wrestle

I have been thinking about Jacob wrestling with God. I have been struck by two things:

  1. Jacob is alone (24). He leaves behind family, position, and possession. He is alone with God, alone before God.
  2. Jacob is changed by the wrestle. The stranger touches him and changes him – physically (with his “thigh”) and spiritually (by giving him a new name). Jacob does not stand far off and reflect – he engages and physically struggles with God – sweat and pain! “The Strange” is not an object but a person.

I think the story is a great example of what it means to be a Christian in a modern context. SO …

I need to be alone before God, wrestle with God, and that will change me.

TM on SK

Pragmatism and positivism are therefore interested in the question how.  Traditional metaphysics, whether scholastic (realist) or idealist, is interested in the question what (the essence).  Existentialism wants to know who.  It is interested in the authentic use of freedom by the concrete personal subject.

The Other Side Of Despair, by Thomas Merton

I would like to “wrestle” a little more with this article but just wanted to get things started.

truth and love

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16

Let knowledge be used as a kind of scaffolding to help build the edifice of love and understanding, which shall endure forever even after knowledge itself shall be destroyed. 

Augustine, Epist. 55,21.39

Nothing conquers except truth. The victory of truth is charity. 

Augustine, Serm. 358,1