Thomas Merton

🎈1.20.2020

January 16, 2020

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, 1967.

Prayer, contemplation, is freedom and affirmation growing out of nothingness into love. Prayer is the flowering of our inmost freedom, in response to the Word. Prayer is not only dialogue with God: it is the communication of our freedom with ultimate freedom in infinite spirit. It is the elevation of our limited freedom into the infinite freedom of the divine spirit and of the divine love. Prayer is the encounter of our freedom with all the all-embracing charity which knows no limit and knows no obstacle. Prayer is an emergence into this area of infinite freedom. Prayer, contemplation, then, is not an abject procedure, though sometimes it may spring from our abjection. But prayer is not something that is meant to maintain us in servility and helplessness. We take stock of our own wretchedness at the beginning of prayer, contemplation, in order to rise beyond it and above it to infinite freedom and infinite creative love in God.

-Thomas Merton, Contemplation in a World of Action, 1965

 

When do we

become one with earth and stars?

It is not achieved, a young friend, by being in love,

however vibrant that makes your voice.

Learn to forget you sang like that. It passes.

Truly to sing takes another kind of breath.

A breath in the void. A shudder in God. A wind.

-Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus I, 3

 

Because Jesus did not directly attack the religious and institutional systems of his time until his final action against the money changers in the temple [1], his primary social justice critique and action are a disappointment to most radicals and social activists. Jesus’ social program, as far as I can see, was a quiet refusal to participate in almost all external power structures or domination systems. Once we have been told this, we see it everywhere in the four Gospels. Jesus chose a very simple lifestyle which kept him from being constantly co-opted by those very structures, which we can call the sin system.

The city of Sepphoris was the Roman regional capital of Galilee and the center for most money, jobs, and power in the region where Jesus lived. It was just nine miles from Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. Yet there is no record that Jesus ever went there, nor is it mentioned once in the New Testament, even though he and his father, Joseph, were carpenters or “workmen” and Jesus traveled through many other cities much farther away. He also seems to have avoided the money system as much as possible by using “a common purse” (John 12:6, 13:29)—voluntary “communism,” we might say.

Jesus was finally a full victim of the systems that he refused to worship. Is this not a much more coherent explanation of why Jesus died?

What can we learn from Jesus’ life about how we might address the systems of inequity and oppression in our own cultures? One lesson seems to me that we have to “start local.”

He simply goes around doing what he knows to be right, which he surely discovered during his long periods of solitude and silence (a form of contemplation) on the outskirts of town, and others begin to join him.

-Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation

 

War: Bloodthirsty Arrogance

January 11, 2020

Rescue teams on January 8, 2020 at the scene of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed shortly after take-off near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran.

“The solitary is, first of all, one who renounces arbitrary social imagery. When his  nation wins a war or sends a rocket to the moon, he can get along without feeing as if he personally had won the war or hit the moon with ar rocket. When his nation is rich and arrogant, he does not feel that he himself is more fortunate anymore honest, as well as more powerful, than the citizens of other, more ‘backward’ nations. More than this, he is able to despise war and to see the futility of rockets to the moon in a way quite different and more fundamental from the way in which society may tolerate these negative views. That is to say, he despises the criminal, blood thirsty arrogance of his own nation or class as much as that of the ‘the enemy.’ He despises his own self -seeking aggressively as much as that of the politicians who hypocritically pretend they are fighting for peace.”

-Thomas Merton


-Actor Michelle Williams at the Golden Globes

 

1.05.2000

January 5, 2020

 

It seems

our own impermanence is concealed from us.

The trees stand firm, the houses we live in

are still there. We along

flow past it all, an exchange of air.

-Rilke

 

Only the woman who has had to face despair is really

convinced that she needs mercy.

-Thomas Merton

 

I miss you, D.

 

Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
Twenty years
I don’t know
I sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone

And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall
I recall.

 

2020

January 1, 2020

Begin what? I begin. I have already thus begun a thousand lives.

-Rilke

Whatever today brings, try to make the most of it, making it the best day you can. I hope you will fill the day with many magical moments and grace notes and remember that everywhere, all of us are struggling and striving to do the same. In Emerson’s words we are seeking the divinities that are sitting disguised. Grace notes are multifaceted, rich. They are as scattered as shooting stars, as diverse as the sea and the sky. Some are wise and wonderful; some are intentionally vague and mysterious. Whether they are instructional, specific, questioning, inspiring or just plain fun, pay attention to them and how you react to them each day.

-Alexandra Stoddard

‘In dangerous times like these we have to produce generations of dedicated, courageous, and creative contemplative activists who will join [the conscious collective] to bring radical healing and change to this damaged world, before it’s too late.’

-Fr. Richard Rohr

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

“Whatsoever things are true,

Whatsoever things are honest,

Whatsoever things are just,

Whatsoever things are pure,

Whatsoevery things are lovely,

Whatsoever things are of good report:

If there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

Think on these things.”

-Philippians 4:8

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

Thomas Merton…”literally meditated on paper.”

‘But I do have a past to break with, an accumulation of inertia, waste, wrong, foolishness, rot, junk, a great need of clarification of mindfulness, or rather of no mind…a return to genuine practice, right effort, need to push on to the great doubt. Need for the Spirit. Hang on to the clear light!’

New arts, new sciences, new philosophies, better government, and a high civilization wait on our thoughts.

-Ernest Holmes

In 2020, let us commit to evaporating patriarchy, power, and greed.

‘The influence of the Feminine is responsible for the growth of the Environmental Movement; for the determination of women in every culture to free themselves from their long oppression and encourage their increased participation to healing both psyche and body. It is reflected in the mountain revulsion for our addiction to war; in the engagement of hundreds of thousands of people in the work of helping both the planet and the victims of oppression. These different channel of influence are creating new perspectives on life, new ways of connection that bring together body, soul, mind and spirit. All this is being accelerations by organizations like Avaaz which now has many millions of subscribers.

The recovery of the Feminine invites a reorientation of consciousness: a receptivity not only to the events occurring in the external world but to the long-ignored voice of the Soul. The activation of the Feminine is helping us to relate to the deep cosmic source of our psychic life and draw up the living waters from those depths. This enormous shift challenges every aspect of our beliefs. It immeasurably deepens and broadens our perspective on our presence on this planet. It gives deeper meaning to our lives. It is changing everything.’

-Anne Baring, The dream of the Cosmos a Quest for the Soul

‘The journey in search of soul is difficult and even dangerous because it requires that we relinquish the certainty of what we think we know and what we have been taught for generations to believe. It means surrendering the desire to be in control and opening ourselves to a quest, a path of discovery. Many myths and fairy tales emphasize the need for surrender and trust in the strange non-rational guidance offered by animals or shamans on the quest. As the hero follows their guidance, so the hedge opens, the way unfolds. Following the guidance and wisdom of the instinct is the royal road into the realm of soul.’
-Anne

The Dream of the Cosmos is the story of a multi-layered quest to understand the causes of human suffering and to reconnect with a deeper reality than the one we inhabit in this physical dimension of experience. It seeks to answer the questions: “Who are we?” and “Why are we here, on this planet?” [google books]

 

‘The Politics of Death’

November 11, 2019

V E T E R A N S   D A Y

Thomas Merton:

In moments that appear to be lucid, I tell myself that in times like these there has to be something for which one is willing to get shot, and for which, in all probability, one is actually going to get shot. What is this? A principle? Faith? Virtue? God? The question is not easy to answer, and maybe it has not answer that can be put into words. Perhaps this is no longer something communicable, or even thinkable. To be executed today (and death by execution is not all uncommon) one has no need to commit a political crime, to express opposition to a tyrant, or event to hold an objectionable opinion. Indeed, most political deaths under tyrannical regimes are motiveless, arbitrary, absurd. You are shot, or beaten to death, or started, or worked until you drop, not because of anything you have done, not because of anything you believe in, not because of anything you stand for, but arbitrarily: your death is demanded by something or someone undefined. Your death is necessary to give apparent meaning to a meaningless political process which you have never quite managed to understand

-Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Equal Justice Initiative

African Americans bravely served in the U.S. military for generations. But instead of being treated as equal members of society, thousands of black veterans were accosted, attacked, or lynched.’

 #VeteransDay

https://eji.org/news/remembering-black-veterans-and-racial-terror-lynchings

~

Society of Professional Journalists

“Aside from deep understanding and technical knowledge of the military and veteran issues, vets bring with them objectivity, neutrality, and ability to work in crises—all valuable attributes for newsrooms.”

The new nonprofit Military Veterans in Journalism wants to bring more military knowledge and experience into the media

Since the attacks of 9/11, the United States has been in a perpetual state of fighting, in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. About 7,000 American troops have been killed and at least another 50,000 wounded. One study estimates the U.S. federal price tag of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts at $5.9 trillion.

Despite more than 18 years of war, America’s newsrooms have been shockingly negligent in hiring reporters who know these conflicts and their impacts best—our veterans.

Only 1.1 percent of media workers in the U.S. are post-9/11 military veterans while about 7 percent of Americans have served in the military, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

We Need More Veterans in America’s Newsrooms

Mutual love, not fear.

October 30, 2019

‘The Church came into existence as a community that preserved the dangerous memory of Jesus—totally without reproach but was rather utterly new and beyond anything that could have been previously imagined. This new radical community has held together over two thousand years, as a community based, at bottom, on mutual love and not, as with other human institutions on fear.

The Church’s contemplation of this dangerous memory is what we call ‘theology’, which is actually founded on the marriage of sacred Scripture with philosophy—particularly classical Greek philosophy. This is important. A religion . . . that is without theology quickly becomes fundamentalist as it begins to interpret Scripture in a literal way, full of cultural bias and with little rational underpinning.

Fundamentalism is always culture-bound, whereas, although the story of Jesus is historical, set in a particular time, place and culture, a teaching essentially transcultural.’

-Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

~

‘When the time comes to enter the darkness in which we are naked and helpless and alone; in which we see the insufficiency of our greatest strength and the hollowness of our strongest virtues; in which we have nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, and nothing in the world to guide us at give us light—then we find out whether or not we live by faith.’

-Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

ℒℴve

October 6, 2019

Ghandi recognized, as no other world leader of our time has done, the necessity to be from from the pressures, the exorbitant and tyrannical demands of a society that is violent because it is essential greedy, lustful, and cruel.

He recognized the impossibility of being a peaceful and nonviolent man, if one submits passively to the insatiable requirements of a society maddened by overstimulation and obsessed with demons of noise, voyeurism, and speed.

Gandhi believed that the central problem of our time was the acceptance or the rejection of a basic law of love and truth which had been made knows to the world in traditional religions.

His whole, his political action, finally even his death, were nothing but a witness to this commitment: “If love is not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces.”

-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction

 

The most inward and loving of all,

he came forth like a new beginning,

the brown-robed brother [St. Francis] of your nightingales,

with his wonder and good will

and delight in Earth.

Rilke, The Book of Hours III, 33

 

This is the miracle of love: to discover that all creation is one, flung out into space.

[…] 

This is the principle of nonviolence, and I want to recommend it to you with all the enthusiasm I can command. . . .

If human beings go to war, it is because they fear someone.

Remove the fear, and you re-establish trust, and will have peace.

Nonviolence means destroying fear.

-Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.

—John Steinbeck, The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957)


What is our plan?

October 3, 2019

‘Exactly when we began a style of production and consumption that would eventually ravage planet earth, he decided to love the earth and live simply and barefoot upon it. Francis of Assisi is a Prime Attractor to what we really want, what we definitely need, and who we finally are. And, apparently, he did it all with a “perfect joy” that comes from letting go of the ego!’ -Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

The change in my own inner climate. -Thomas Merton

Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response?

In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves―with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life.

UK, US and European studies claim our meat consumption should be reduced by 90%, and dairy consumption by 60%. Two meals a day should be vegetarian, and think about a family climate plan. One couple a month out from their wedding day came up with theirs at book signing:

  • Vegetarian meals
  • Vegan meals 2x per week
  • Driving less than 1,000 miles a year
  • Only two kids

Jonathan’s response? “Holy crap. I don’t have a plan.”

“An ode to collective action, persuasively asking readers to take a hard look at our own role in the climate crisis and its solutions.” ―Kate Wheeling, The New Republic

Sam Sanders interviewed Jonathan on “It’s Been a Minute”. Follow the link to about 16:00 into the program.

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510317/its-been-a-minute-with-sam-sanders

The Correspondent

#Unbreaking

Climate change is about how we treat each other

by Eric Holthaus

’What this moment needs, more than anything, is moral clarity. […] American media was curiously obsessed with President DT’s stubborn insistence that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama.

Seen through the lens of climate inaction, against a backdrop of unfettered economic growth, one can only conclude that climate change is an intentional act, in which the media is complicit.

‘We need to know, viscerally, that we can no longer abandon our neighbours in their time of greatest need. We need to relearn our interdependence. There is the alternative. The way to write this story that doesn’t end in apocalypse.’

https://thecorrespondent.com/34/climate-change-is-about-how-we-treat-each-other/149622814-e324a49f

Generation to Generation

September 29, 2019

Rilke.

I would rather sense you

as the earth senses you.

In my ripening 

ripens

what you are.

 

No miracles, please.

Just let your laws

become clearer

from generation to generation.

Thomas Merton.

You train your eye, and your vision lusts after color. You train your ear, and you long for delightful sounds. You delight in doing good, and your natural kindest is blown out of shape. You delight in righteousness, and you become righteous beyond all reason. You overdo liturgy, and you turn into a ham actor. Overdo your love of music, and you play corn. Love of wisdom leads to wise contriving. Love of knowledge leads to faultfinding.

When the delights become a religion, how can you control them?

Chuang Tzu, who wrote in the fourth and third centuries B.C., is the chief authentic historical spokesman for Taoism.

The realm of waste.

September 4, 2019

The realm politics is the realm of waste.

I know that now all my own poems about the world’s suffering have been inadequate: they have not solved anything, they have only camouflaged the problem. And it seems to me

you live your life  like a candle in the wind

that the urge write a real poem about suffering and sin is only another temptation, because, after all, I do no really understand.

-Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

Love Economy

September 2, 2019

 

Some say it’s naive to think we can turn love into the governing principle of our civilization; I say it’s naive to think we’ll last another 100 years on this planet if we don’t try. Swords into plowshares: we can to turn a war economy into a peace economy. Where [he] has harnessed fear, we must harness love.-Marianne
Admonitions, 27:
Where there is charity and wisdom there is neither fear nor ignorance.
Those who live in love have a wisdom about them, particularly in their sense of priorities. They know what is important.
Day by Day with St. Francis:
Those who are fearful see things that aren’t there, and tend not to grasp the truth when it is presented to them.

In love there is no fear; indeed, perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18

‘Occasional churchgoing and the recitation of has prayers have no power to cleanse this purulent wound.’ -Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

‘Lord, the great cities are lost and rotting.

Their time is running out…

The people there live harsh and heavy,

crowded together, weary of their own routines.

Beyond them waits and breathes your earth,

but where they are ti cannot reach them.

They don’t know that somewhere

wind is blowing through a field of flowers.’

-Rilke, The book of Hours III, 4/5

 

My campaign for the presidency is dedicated to this search for higher wisdom. Its purpose is to create a new political possibility in America — where citizens awaken, our hearts and minds are uplifted, and our democracy once more becomes a thing about which we can all feel proud.

This is a new time, and we must bring forth something new within ourselves in order to deal with it.  In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
 

Make of us a garland.

August 31, 2019

Rilke:

We are not poor. We are just without riches,

we who have no will no world:

marked with the marks of the latest anxiety, disfigured, stripped of leaves.

 

Around us swirls the dust of the cities,

the garbage clings to us.

We are shunned as if contaminated,

thrown away like broken pots, like bones,

like last year’s calendar.

 

And yet if our Earth needed to

she could weave us together like roses

and make of us a garland.

 

For each being is cleaner than washed stones

and endlessly yours, and like an animal

who knows already in its first blind moments

its need for one thing only…

 

to let ourselves be poor like that…as we truly are.

 

-The Book of Hours III,16


“…a discovery that respects the hiddenness and in communicability of each one’s personal secret, while paying tribute to his presence in the common celebration.”

-Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration

 

 

 

 

Deliver us from evil.

August 25, 2019

“You cannot be a (wo)man of faith unless you know how to doubt. You cannot believe in Gaia unless you are capable of questioning the authority of prejudice, even though that prejudice seems to be religious. Faith is not blind conformity to a prejudice–a ‘pre-judgment.’ It is a decision, a judgment that is fully and deliberately taken in the light of a truth that cannot be proven.”

-Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

[G7 in France]

But deliver us from evil, past, present, and to come.

We must strive to overcome evil, but even our best efforts will require Gaia’s help.

The Lord said to Evil, “‘Where did you come from?’ Evil answered, ‘From prowling about on the earthmovers going back and forth on it.” Job 1:7

Cosmology: Part I

The Change of a World View

Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

Today, every academic, professional discipline—psychology, anthropology, history, the various sciences, social studies, art, and business—recognizes change, development, and some kind of evolving phenomenon. But in its search for the Real Absolute, much of Christian theology made one fatal mistake:

It imagined that any notion of God had to be unchanging, an “unmoved mover,” as Aristotelian philosophy called it.

There’s little evidence of a rigid God in the biblical tradition or the image of Trinity—where God is seen as an active verb more than a substantive noun. But many Christians seem to have preferred a stable notion of God as an old white man, sitting on a throne—much like the Greek god Zeus (whose name became the Latin word for God or “Deus”)—a critical and punitive spectator to a creation that was merely a mechanical clock of inevitable laws and punishments, ticking away until Doomsday.

We need a new way of thinking about the universe and our place in it. To begin our two weeks on this theme, I offer a clear and concise description of our changing worldview from Australian theologian Denis Edwards (I waited in a long line once just to thank him for his fine work):

Our theological tradition has been shaped within the worldview of a static universe. The great theological synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas [1224–1274], for example, was formed within a culture which took for granted that the world was fixed and static, that the Sun and the Moon and the five known planet stars revolved around the Earth in seven celestial spheres, moved by angels, that beyond these seven spheres there were the three heavens, the firmament (the starry heaven), the crystalline heaven, and the empyrean, and that there was a place in the heavenly spheres for paradise. It was assumed that human beings were the center of the universe, that Europe was the center of the world, and that the Earth and its resources were immense and without any obvious limits.

By contrast, we are told today that the universe began with a cosmic explosion called the Big Bang, that we live in an expanding universe, with galaxies rushing away from us at an enormous rate, that the Earth is a relatively small planet revolving around the Sun, that it is hurtling through space as part of a Solar system which is situated toward the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, that we human beings are the product of an evolutionary movement on the Earth, and that we are intimately linked with the health of the delicately balanced life systems on our planet.

The shift between these two mindsets is enormous. It needs to be stressed that most of our tradition has been shaped by the first of these, and even contemporary theology has seldom dealt explicitly with the change to a new mindset. . . .

We have no choice but to face up to the ecological crisis which confronts us. Religious thinkers . . . are searching for a new synthesis of science and faith, a new cosmology, and a “new story.” [1]

☆ ☆ ☆

[1] Denis Edwards, Jesus and the Cosmos (Paulist Press: 1991), 3-5.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Evolution Is Another Name for Growth,” “Evolutionary Thinking,” Oneing, vol. 4, no. 2 (CAC Publishing: 2016), 111-112.

Image credit: Starry Night Over the Rhône (detail), Vincent van Gogh, 1888, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

 

 

Greed.

August 14, 2019

Thomas Merton:

Saint Paul calls is the “servitude of corruption” and which, in fact, holds the whole world of man in bondge by passion, greed, the lust for sensation and for individual survival, as though one could become rich enough, powerful and clever enough, to cheat death. 

Unfortunately, this passion for unreality and for the impossible fills the world today with violence, hatred,, and indeed, with a kind of insane and cunning fury which threatens our very existence.

 

 

 

´*.¸.• .¸. ❥❥¸¸.☆¨¯ Wind & Sun.¸.¸¸.☆¨¯`❥❥

June 21, 2019

Trees are all clothed and benches are out, and a new summer has begun.

-Thomas Merton

Other.

May 24, 2019

Thomas Merton:

Between You and Me.

I have what you have not. I am what you are not. I have taken what you have failed to take and I have seized what you could never get. Therefore, you suffer and I am happy, you are despised and I am praised, you die and I live; you are nothing and I am something because you are nothing. And thus, I spend my life admiring the distance between you and me. [Seeds of Contemplation, 1961]

Fr. Richard Rohr:

In very real ways, soul, consciousness, love, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. Each of these point to something that is larger than the individual, shared with God, ubiquitous, and even eternal—and then revealed through us! Holiness does not mean people are psychologically or morally perfect (a common confusion), but that they are capable of seeing and enjoying things in a much more “whole” and compassionate way, even if they sometimes fail at it themselves. [Just This, 2017].

Only time for loving.

May 17, 2019

Mark Twain, looking back on his life:

“There isn’t time so brief is life for bickering, apologies, heart-burnings, calling to account there is only time for loving, but in an instant, so to speak, for that.” [1910]

 

Rilke:

“Brother body is poor…that means we must be rich for him.

He was often the rich one; so may he be forgiven

for the meanness of his wretched moments.

Then, when he acts as though he barely knows us,

may he be gently reminded of all that has been shared.

Of course, we are not one but two solitaries:

our consciousness and he.

But how much we have to thank each other for,

as friends do! And illness reminds us:

friendship demands a lot.” [Written between 1908 and 1923.]

 

Thomas Merton (insert medium of choice):

“I am certainly no judge of television, since I have never watched it. All I know is that there is a sufficiently general agreement, among men whose judgement I respect, that commercial television is degraded, meretricious, and absurd. Certainly, it would seem that TV could become a kind of unnatural surrogate for contemplation: a completely inert subjection to vulgar images, a descent to a sub-natural passivity rather than an ascent to a supremely active passivity in understanding and love. It would seem that television should be used with extreme care and discrimination by anyone who might hope to take interior life seriously. [1961]

 

Humanity is gravely threatened.

May 6, 2019

‘The city we now live will not last.’ [Heb 13:14]

‘Yes, to go forth, hand pulling away from hand.

Go forth to what? To uncertainty,

to a country with no connections to us

and indifferent to the dramas of our life.

What drives you to go forth? Impatience, instinct, 

a dark need, the incapacity to understand.

To bow to all this.

To let go-

even if you have to die alone.

Is this the start of a new life?’ -Rilke

‘The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God.The leaf has its own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape and the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river are canonized by their beauty and their strength.

The lakes hidden among the hills are saints, and the sea is a saint who praises God without interruption in her majestic dance.

The great, gashed, half-naked mountain is another of God’s natural saints. There is no other like him. He is alone in his own character; nothing else in the world ever did, or ever will, imitate God in quite the same way. That is his sanctity. -Thomas Merton

 


The Guardian

Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life

Scientists reveal 1 million species at risk of extinction in damning UN report

“Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, the world’s leading scientists have warned, as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken.”

The knock-on impacts on humankind, including freshwater shortages and climate instability, are already “ominous” and will worsen without drastic remedial action, the authors said.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

AP

“The research included more than 450 researchers who used 15,000 scientific and government reports.

A new United Nations science report says nature is in trouble and 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of going extinct. [May 6]

The report’s summary had to be approved by representatives of all 109 nations.

The findings are not just about saving plants and animals, but about preserving a world that’s becoming harder for humans to live in, said Robert Watson, a former top NASA and British scientist who headed the report.

“We are indeed threatening the potential food security, water security, human health and social fabric” of humanity, Watson told The Associated Press.

It’s also an economic and security issue as countries fight over scarcer resources. Watson said the poor in less developed countries bear the greatest burden.”

https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/reports.shtml

The value of truthfulness.

March 20, 2019

A liar no longer needs to feel that his lies may involve him in starvation. If living were a little more precarious, and if a person who could not be trusted found it more difficult to get along with other men, we would not deceive ourselves and one another so carelessly.

But the whole world has learned to deride veracity or to ignore it. Half the civilized world makes a living by telling lies. Advertising, propaganda, (politics) and all the forms of publicity that have taken the place of truth have taught men to take it for granted that they can tell other people whatever they like, provide that it sounds plausible and evokes some kind of shallow emotional response.

-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]

Humbly, we are asked to keep the flow real between what is taken in and what is let out. We have only to breathe to remember our place as al living inlet. Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant tide, life rushes in, and in constant release, we must let it all run back off. For this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind is carved upright, again and again, by the ocean of spirt that sets us free.

-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening [2011]

There is something in me that knows what to do. It not only knows what to do, It impels me to act upon what It knows. This very acceptance flows forth into action through me. Always there is an inner, quiet, persistent confidence, a nonresistant but complete acceptance, an inward flowing with the stream of Life, knowing that It carries me safely and surely to my destination and to the accomplishment of every good purpose.

-Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind [2001]

We are guided continually. We choose to follow what is good, and right, and just.

 

 

Love laughs.

March 19, 2019

But love laughs at the end of the world, because love is the door to eternity; and, before anything can happen, love will have drawn her over the sill and closed the door, and he won’t bother about the world burning because he will know nothing about love.

-Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas [1953]

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