Friday, August 31, 2007

That We May Be Christ

"All these thoughts on the Eucharist make it clear to us that in this Sacrament,

in which He not only gives grace to us but also gives Himself,
we are led to a supreme peak of spiritual fulfillment.

This Sacrament is not given to us merely in order that we do something,
but that we may be someone: that we may be Christ.

That we may be perfectly identified with Him.

Comparing the Eucharist with confirmation, St Thomas says that confirmation brings us an increase of grace in order to resist temptation, but the Eucharist does even more: it
increases and perfects our spiritual life itself, in order that we may be perfected
in our own being, our own personality, by our union with God ...

In other words,
by our union with Christ in the Eucharist we find our true selves.
The false self, the "old man", is burned away by the fervor of charity
generated by His intimate presence within our soul.
And the "new man" comes into full possession of Himself
as we "live, now not we, but Christ liveth in us."

Thomas Merton, The Living Bread


Anonymous said...


To think that anyone finds Fr. Louis unCatholic or fringe-y, oh my, it's almost laughable. Thank you for this post, too.


Phil B. said...

You're welcome!

As with every writer, RC or not, I find parts of Merton with which I "resonate" .... (I hate that word because it sounds SO last millenium).

There are also parts I can take or leave, and usually leave. I only get suspicious when anyone falls head over heels in love with a particular writer or concept and just can't leave it alone.

beth said...

I have been reading Merton for more than 40 years. I read other spiritual writers, but always come back to Merton - and have determined that he is my "teacher". Recognizing this has made things a lot simpler for me, I listen more deeply to him.

What Merton learned, he taught. I wouldn't say that I'm "head over heels in love" with Merton, but by sticking with him and trusting him (rather than being all over the place), I find that my own spiritual life is deepening.

beth said...

I have been reading Merton for more than 40 years. I have probably read everything that he wrote at least once. I have read other spiritual writers as well, but I always return to Merton.

I am not "head over heals in love" with Merton, but I have finally recognized that he is my teacher - and when I read him more carefully and deeply, I am better able to hear what he is saying and my own spiritual life deepens.

So I stay with Merton, primarily. Rather than being all over the place with a lot of different writers adn teachers, staying with Merton has simplified and helped in my own journey toward God.

Phil B. said...

Interesting. What you shared about Merton is true for me, but in reference to spiritual community. While I read widely (if not deeply) among Catholic writers and theologians, my "steady spot" is my parish and my intentional community. I keep coming back there-home for me, as Merton apparently is for you. Have you read the biography "The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton?" by Michael Mott? It really helped me understand his writings better.

beth said...

Yes, I've read Michael Mott's biography (I've read just about everything by and about Merton, sigh!)

I think that my "steady spot" is also my community - my family, first, and then my faith community.

Nothing like fellow journey-ers to keep you honest and real!

But Merton is my teacher. And I've found that staying with one teacher that I trust really helps me.