Thursday, October 11, 2007

Aiming High in Christ

There is no leaf that is not in Your care. There is no cry that was not heard by You before it was uttered. There is no water in the shales that was not hidden there by Your wisdom. There is no concealed spring that was not concealed by You. There is no glen for a lone house that was not planned by You for a lone house. There is no man for that acre of woods that was not made by You for that acre of woods.
But there is a great comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question. Eternity is in the present. Eternity is in the palm of the hand. Eternity is a seed of fire whose sudden roots break barriers that keep my heart from being an abyss.
(Thomas Merton, Entering the Silence (Harper San Francisco), p487)

I am constantly fascinated by Thomas Merton, whose understanding of happiness is in relation to God. In fact, he claims that "The only unhappiness is not to love God." That makes his spiritual walk most authentic, very Christian. Today I was reflecting upon the meaning of life and the spiritual journeys that a Christian take. I chanced upon this segment (above quote) from Merton about solitude and silence. Reading it makes me realize that solitude is not a matter of being alone by oneself. It is an enjoyment solely with God, a meeting with God that we do not want to end. It is like a first date with someone we like, in which we never want it to end. A moment of divine presence with Christ which we want to remain forever. Silence is seen as a form of dialogue with God. The constantly asking, persistently seeking and regularly finding is a measure of our spiritual health. Forget about those types of spiritual disciplines, which aim more at self-gratification, or mere obligatory fulfillment of a set of do's and don'ts. It may be ok to start off our spiritual search via obligation, but we cannot always remain there.

Consider a self-professed Christian who has never evidenced their desire to grow. Spirituality to them may simply mean going to church faithfully every Sunday, or just saying their graces before meals. If Christ is in all, and through all, should not our pursuit of Christ be 7 days a week, 24 hours a day? My personal view is that whatever we want to aim in life, let's aim high. If we want to live a good and perfect life, aim high towards Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.

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