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  • David Carlson

292: “Everything that is, is holy,” - Thomas Merton

Day 292: January 2nd 2021

“Everything that is, is holy,” - Thomas Merton

Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton on a “New Normal”

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us? - Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day once said that her life’s work was to make it more easy for people to be good. Because from goodness comes love. And joy that accompanies love. She is putting values and the virtues that implement out front. This would be a New Normal, wouldn’t it? Putting values forward as our common goal in efforts to bring about a common good?

“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community”

Dorothy speaks about her vocation on another occasion:

We are not expecting utopia here on this earth. But God meant things to be much easier than we have made them. A man has a natural right to food, clothing and shelter. A certain amount of goods is necessary to lead a good life.

A family needs work as well as bread. Property is proper to man. We must keep repeating these things.

Eternal life begins now, “all the way to heaven is heaven, because He said, ‘I am the Way.’”

The Cross is there of course, but “in the Cross is joy of spirit.” And love makes all things easy.

And hard. For love is indeed a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, of each of us, but it is the only answer. . . . To the saints everyone is child and lover. Everyone is Christ.

“The older I get, the more I meet people, the more convinced I am that we must only work on ourselves, to grow in grace. The only thing we can do about people is to love them.”

Dorothy is speaking in paradox. She says “love makes all things easy,” and then she warns us love is “a harsh and dreadful thing.”

Is it both? Have you experienced both aspects of love?

Dorothy adds that we are all lovers and all other Christs.

Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton were good friends. Both—one as a founder of alternative communities in the urban darkness and the other as a monk in the woods—were seeking common goals and values and “new normals” including the normal that we are all other Christs.

In his New Seeds of Contemplation Merton writes:

If we believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, there is no one on earth in whom we are not prepared to see, in mystery, the presence of Christ.

Merton spoke frequently to our being “other Christs.” He writes:

"We ourselves are ‘the Second Adam’ because we ourselves are Christ. In us, the image of God, which is complete and entire in each individual soul, is also, in all of us ‘the image of God.’…

We ourselves are Christ and that we are all dwelling in one another, by virtue of the unity of the divine image reformed by grace."

“everything that is, is holy,”

(photo by Thomas Merton)

- an excerpt from Matthew Fox


Mysteries, Yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous

to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of the lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds will

never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say

“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,

and bow their heads.

- Mary Oliver


Be Thou My Vision - Audrey Assad

Martin Hurkens - You Raise me Up

The Lord's Prayer in Aramaic (Abun d'beschmayo

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