V is for Value

We are so obsessed with doing
that we have no time
and no imagination left
for being.
As a result,
men are valued
not for what they are
but for what they do
or what they have
for their usefulness.

Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

(Emphasis mine)


Although sometimes what a man has
— homemade shortbread sent for a birthday —
is because of who he is
and not because of what he has done.
While he has done a lot in his life,
more importantly he has been
kind,
loving, and
generous.

U is for Utter

God utters me like a word containing a partial thought of Himself.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation


To say that I am made in the image of God is to say
that love is the reason for my existence,
for God is love.
Love is my true identity.
Selflessness is my true character.
Love is my name.
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

The pocket mirror I carried during Lent (and my father’s reflection in it)

For the past several years during Lent, I have carried a mindfulness object to remind myself of something Christ-centered during that holy season.  This year I carried a little pocket mirror on which I had written the first three words of today’s quote by Thomas Merton.

And these were some of my thoughts about his words —

What if, instead of the four Greek words for love, or instead of the five ways to say “I love you” in Mandarin, or instead of the nine ways to say it in Russian — what if, at any given time on the planet Earth, there are over 7 billion words for Love, uttered by God Himself, and they each have a face, and hands, and feet?

What if each time God utters a person into being, He’s saying another word containing a partial thought of Him — and that word is Love?

What if I am a word for love? Am I living my life in such a way that others can see that?

 

 

T is for True

Therefore, if you spend your life
trying to escape from the heat of the fire
that is meant to soften and prepare to become your true self…
you will be destroyed by the event
that was meant to be your fulfillment.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation


New Seeds of Contemplation (Thomas Merton) — the sealing wax analogy

So often I pray not to be brittle.