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Thomas Merton on the Spiritual Life

The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived. Like all life, it grows sick and dies when it is uprooted from its proper element. Grace is engrafted on our nature and the whole man is sanctified by the presence and action of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual life is not, therefore, a life entirely uprooted from man’s human condition and transplanted into the realm of the angels. We live as spiritual men when we live as men seeking God. If we are to become spiritual, we must remain men. And if there were not evidence of this everywhere in theology, the mystery of the Incarnation itself would be ample proof of it. Why did Christ become man if not to save men by uniting them mystically with God through his own sacred humanity? Jesus lived the ordinary life of the men of his time, in order to sanctify the ordinary lives of men of all time. If we want to be spiritual, then, let us first of all live our lives. Let us not fear the responsibilities and the inevitable distractions of the work appointed for us by the will of God. Let us embrace reality and thus find ourselves immersed in the life-giving will and wisdom of God which surround us everywhere.

Thomas Merton – Thoughts in Solitude

(Merton’s Thoughts on Solitude is available as our free book of the month through the end of the April.)

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