Sunday, February 12, 2006

More Merton

If, in trying to do the will of God, we always seek the highest abstract standard of perfectioin, we show that there is still much we need to learn about the will of God. For God does not demand that every man attain to what is theoretically highest and best. It is better to be a good street sweeper than a bad writer, better to be a good bartender than a bad doctor, and the repentant thief who died with Jesus on Calvary was far more perfect than the holy ones who had Him nailed to the cross. And yet, abstractly speaking, what is more holy than the priesthood and less holy than the state of a criminal? The dying theif had, perhaps, disobeyed the will of God in many things: but in the most important event of his life he listened and obeyed. The Pharisees had kept the law to the letter and had spent their lives in the pursuit of a most scrupulous perfection. But they were so intent upon perfection as an abstraction that when God manifested His will and His perfection in a concrete and definite way they had no choice but to reject it.

Let me then wish to do God's will because it is His will. Let me not seek to measure His will by some abstract standard of perfection outside Himself. His will is measured by the infinite reality of His love and wisdom, with which it is identified. I do not have to ask if His will be wise, once I know it is His.


Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, pages 70-71.

1 comment:

s-p said...

Good stuff. THe will of God is to do what is holy in THIS moment. Nothing more, nothing less. That is why St. Dismas is a saint. He did the holy thing at his last breath. God wants nothing more, nothing less. Abstraction is "the law" and keeping the jots and tittles. Holiness and obedience is doing what you are called to do in the present moment with no heed for the past or the future, the ego or the consequences. That's what makes saints.