Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thomas Merton on "Salvation": "To Live in God"

In New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 37-38, Merton contrasts the "vapid" and "hackneyed" concept of salvation that is so prevalent with "the beautiful Christian metaphor." He says that "salvation" means to "be full of [God's] actuality and find Him everywhere in myself." When that happens, Merton says, "I shall be lost in Him," but what that really means is that "I shall find myself." That is what it means to be "saved."

He contrasts this with being immersed "in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent."

He summarizes: "To be 'lost' is to be left to the arbitrariness and pretenses of the contingent ego, the smoke-self that must inevitably vanish. To be 'saved' is to return to one's inviolate and eternal reality and to live in God."

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