Day of Reflection on Thomas Merton at the Monastery of the Risen Christ

women seeking men in Derby On a beautiful autumn Saturday, October 18, 2014, around 25 participants gathered for a Day of Reflection on Thomas Merton at the Monastery of the Risen Christ.  We were blessed to have Father Daniel Manger, OSB, Cam. and Dr. Robert Inchausti, Ph.D. leading the day.  Both men are Merton scholars and analysts; and each has a deeply contemplative heart which helped open Merton’s message, site rencontre ado Dying to Live, for us.  It is impossible to capture the depth and wisdom of this day in a brief synopsis; however, below are a few inspirations that I received.

kvinnor söker män i Skänninge Each of us is asked by God to “show up” in life.  God does not ask us to be successful, but to be faithful .

Paraphrasing Blessed Mother Teresa

Thomas Merton, 1915 – 1968, wrote and lectured extensively, and published many important books that even in 2014 are not well understood.  Also, there still are books to come.  Scholars believe that at least half of what he wrote won’t be clearly comprehended until late in the 21st century by most people.

One recurring theme of this day on Merton was about our false self and our authentic self.  Merton believed that we are called to become alive to the grace of the self hidden interiorly, and that we must work throughout life to rid the self that holds illusions and self-deception.

Merton wrote:

“This ‘false self’ is the ego or external self.  It is like a mask or disguise that obscures the authentic self.  The real self is the true self.  Buried and hidden within, the true self is who we really are. The true self knows its Source in God who is Truth and in so doing recognizes its unity with others whom it meets on common ground of spiritual Truth.”  (Search for Solitude, p. 273).

Father Daniel spoke about one deep anguish that often opens up the human heart.  It is when we accompany a family-member, loved one, or friend in his or her process of dying.  It is as if we are gazing into a dark icon and cannot understand what we are meant to see.  We are watching something that is invisible and unknown.  Our own letting go, personal grief, and the urgent longing in our heart for a deeper way of knowing, offers an opportunity to break open our authentic self.  Opening up to God through grief, pain, loss, or sorrow of any kind is difficult to comprehend because we actually are letting go to achieve an intimacy that is beyond our rational knowing.  Letting go speaks to other small forms of dying during our time on earth, and helps us to ask:  “What lessons do I want to learn from dying to myself?”  Christ’s voice is in the darkness of mystery, and also in the emptying and emptiness of suffering.  Our deep hunger and thirst for God become even more important than are our times of inner calm.

Dr. Robert Inchausti continued the theme of par söker kvinna i Jämtland Dying to Live by expressing that every symbol in the modern world also is a dark icon.  Each holds the embodiment of our own self and God.  It is our work to convert the symbols that we face in our own life into the meaning God has for them to teach us.  Life is not so much a search for meaning or symbols.  Rather, it is God calling us to learn to read our own life’s symbols or icons and to move from our false self to our authentic self.

One way to see into the dark icon is through contemplation.  As we more deeply die to the self that is a mask or disguise, we begin to live in a true consciousness with the authenticity and unearned grace received from God.  We already are “one”, as Merton understood.  Most of us just don’t know it yet.

Merton also understood that the Christian is not merely ‘alone with the ‘Alone’ in the Neoplatonic sense, but a Christian is One with all of his or her brothers or sisters in Christ.  The inner self is inseparable from Christ; and, in a mysterious and unique way, we are inseparable from all others.  All humanity forms one mystical Person – the Christ.

Please join us in future offerings at the Monastery of the Risen Christ.  Check the website www.monasteryrisenchrist.com often for upcoming opportunities.

by Rita King, OSB, Cam., Oblate