No Man is an Island

 

We are too much like Pilate. We are always asking, “What is truth?” and then crucifying the truth that stands before our eyes.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sincerity

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I’m reading through Proverbs and using, for the first time, Eugene Peterson’s translation called The Message.  Bible reading has been a regular part of my life for many years. And, yes, it often becomes stale – I stop paying attention. When I notice that happening, I’ll often try a new translation: thus, I’m reading The Message now.

Scripture is part of the ‘truth that stands before our eyes.’ Paying attention to it helps open our eyes to truth still hidden from us, or that we are hiding from ourselves. The book of Proverbs is particularly challenging in that regard – read it and it will make you squirm.

This passage from Chapter 8 fits well with Thomas Merton’s challenge to us.  Lady Wisdom tells us we will recognize the truth if we have “truth-ready minds”.

Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well, I’m telling you how to live at your best. My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth— I can’t stand the taste of evil! You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth; not one syllable will be twisted or skewed. You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds; truth-ready minds will see it at once.

Peterson, Eugene H.. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language . The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

Father in heaven, may our minds and hearts be open to the truth you ‘stand before our eyes’ every hour of every day. Where would we be without your constant, faithful, truthful presence in our world?

dw

Copyright © 2020, becomingflame.com

 

We make ourselves real by telling the truth. Man can hardly forget that he needs to know the truth, for the instinct to know is too strong in us to be destroyed. But he can forget how badly he also needs to tell the truth.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sincerity

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My friends, if we give up on truth in these trying times for truth, we give up on life itself, and on the Giver of Life, who is the Spirit of Truth. Let us continue to seek and speak the truth, as best we can, as faithfully as we can, as long as we can, with as much love as we can.

May God help us. Amen.

dw

Copyright © 2020, becomingflame.com

 

If I do not hope in His love for me, I will never really know Christ. I hear of Him by faith. But I do not achieve the contact that knows Him, and thereby knows the Father in Him, until my faith in Him is completed by hope and charity: hope that grasps His love for me and charity that pays Him the return of love I owe.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Faith without hope
is light without sight
warmth too far away to feel
music that can’t be heard
over the dry, drafty doctrine
that being correct is a higher calling
than simply being loved.

dw

p.s. I’ve written about this before with similar sentiment. I wish I had learned this lesson much earlier in my life.

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Hope seeks not only God in Himself, not only the means to reach Him, but it seeks, finally and beyond all else, God’s glory revealed in ourselves. This will be the final manifestation of His infinite mercy, and this is what we pray for when we say “Thy Kingdom come.”

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Ask for Me, and receive
that I have received you.
Seek Me, and find
that I have found you.
Knock and enter, knowing
that I knock and wait to enter.

You already have what you truly hope for:
the Giver of Life
asking, seeking, knocking
to give you Life.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

The very essence of hope is freely to expect all the graces necessary for salvation as free gifts from God.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Freely to expect –
when was the last time
I was free to expect
anything at all
when some sort of pain
or payment wasn’t expected,
quid pro quo,
in return?
We learn,
young enough,
we better shape up
or shut up
or figure out how not to be
– yes, not to be –
too much of a bother,
so we can fit in
be accepted
be liked
be safe
at least for the moment.
But we can’t keep it up.
Can’t keep in line enough.
Can’t be good enough
to earn all the graces necessary
for acceptance
for being safe.
Can’t be good enough for hope.

We are the ones God saves.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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From one kind of sublime to, well, a something different…

I just happened to hear Andy Grammer’s Wish You Pain this morning.

Thomas Merton and Andy Grammer in the same post???

Get over it 🙂

dw

p.s. my better half took me to an Andy Grammer concert a couple of weeks back. I have to admit I’m a snob when it comes to musical style…and I found Andy’s positive message so spot on…well, who needs to be a snob anyway?

Grace and peace to you…

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Those who abandon everything in order to seek God know well that He is the God of the poor…the supreme expression of His justice is to forgive those whom no one else would ever have forgiven. That is why He is, above all, the God of those who can hope where there is no hope. The penitent thief who died with Christ was able to see God where the doctors of the law had just proved impossible Jesus’s claim to divinity.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Perhaps,
in our darkest hour,
the difference between
hope and despair
is our willingness
to recognize
the God of love
hanging on the cross
beside ours.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com