Excerpt from Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation (p.163-4):
Why should I fear anything that cannot rob me of God, and why should I desire anything that cannot give me possession of Him?
Exterior things come and go, but why should they disturb me? Why should joy excite me or failure depress me, life attract or death repel me if I live only in the Life that is within me by God’s gift?
Why should I worry about losing a bodily life that I must inevitably lose anyway, as long as I possess a spiritual life and identity that cannot be lost against my desire? Why should I fear to cease to be what I am not when I have already become something of what I am? Why should I go to great labour to possess satisfactions that cannot last an hour, and which bring misery after them, when I already own God in His eternity of joy?
It is the easiest thing in the world to possess this life and this joy; all you have to do is believe and love; and yet people waste their whole lives in appalling labour and difficulty and sacrifice to get things that make real life impossible.
This is one of the chief contradictions that sin has brought into our souls: we have to do violence to ourselves to keep from labouring uselessly for what is bitter and without joy, and we have to compel ourselves to take what is easy and full of happiness as though it were against our interests, because for us the line of least resistance leads in the way of greatest hardship and sometimes for us to do what is, in itself, most easy, can be the hardest thing in the world.
The more time we spend opening our minds and hearts to Christ, the more we become aware of how much we need Him, desire Him and belong to Him. This awareness grows such that we understand that it is only when we surrender our selves completely to Him are we able to be most fully alive.
A Christian who proclaims belief but does not open his or her life to Christ is like a husband who says he loves his wife but does not put her interests above his own. An idle faith is a sickly faith… and we struggle even more in such circumstances to live a Christian life.
The greatest commandment is to ‘Love God with all your heart and all your might and all your strength… and to love your neighbour as yourself’. If we do no relinquish our ego to God and put Him before ourselves, we can forget about being able to love and serve our brothers and sisters in the same way as Christ served us.
Do we love God? Do we love ourselves more? Is our faith sick and dying? There is nothing to fear. As long as we desire to take the first steps back towards God and turn to Him with a sincere and contrite heart, He sends us His Spirit and guides us back the rest of the way.
Let’s turn back to Him TODAY!