Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quiet Flame

No matter how ruined man and his world may seem to be, and no matter how terrible man’s despair may become, as long as he continues to be a man his very humanity continues to tell him that life has a meaning. That, indeed, is one reason why man tends to rebel against himself. If he could without effort see what the meaning of life is, and if he could fulfill his ultimate purpose without trouble, he would never question the fact that life is well worth living. Or if he saw at once that life had no purpose and no meaning, the question would never arise. In either case, man would not be capable of finding himself so much of a problem.

Our life, as individual persons and as members of a perplexed and struggling race, provokes us with the evidence that it must have meaning. Part of the meaning still escapes us. Yet our purpose in life is to discover this meaning, and live according to it. We have, therefore, something to live for. The process of living, of growing up, and becoming a person, is precisely the gradually increasing awareness of what that something is. This is a difficult task, for many reasons.

Every other man is a piece of myself, for I am a part and a member of mankind. Every Christian is part of my own body, because we are members of Christ. What I do is also done for them and with them and by them. What they do is done in me and by me and for me. But each one of us remains responsible for his own share in the life of the whole body. Charity cannot be what it is supposed to be as long as I do not see that my life represents my own allotment in the life of a whole supernatural organism to which I belong. Only when this truth is absolutely central do other doctrines fit into their proper context. Solitude, humility, self-denial, action and contemplation, the sacraments, the monastic life, the family, war and peace—none of these make sense except in relation to the central reality which is God’s love living and acting in those whom He has incorporated in His Christ. Nothing at all makes sense, unless we admit, with John Donne, that “No man is an island, entire of itself every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
---Thomas Merton "No Man Is an Island"

5 Grateful Heart's Words:

Shinade said...

Another wonderful and inspiring post Shawie. You are incredible. That is why I would like to share this with you.

I rarely pass along awards but this time I did and I simply couldn't leave you out!

Happy Saturday!!:-)

Scotty's Princess said...

What a truly inspiring article, Sis! You are making my Sunday fabulous!

You deserve the Premio Dardos award here:

umeko said...

Another wonderful and inspiring post Shawie. You are incredible. That is why I would like to share this with you.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Yes, we must discover our own purpose for life so that our life will become more meaningful. As it is, we were created by God to worship Him and to give praise and glory to His name. Nothing more is more meaningful than that. Thanks for the insightful post. God bless you always.

Sher said...

Hi Shawie,
Great post...Merton is one of my spiritual heroes, too! Reading it this morning made a great start to my day!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)