Friday, November 13, 2009


My Lord, I have no hope but in Your Cross. You, by Your humility, sufferings and death, have delivered me from all vain hope. You have killed the vanity of the present life in Yourself and have given me all that is eternal in rising from the dead.

My hope is in what the eye has never seen. Therefore let me not trust in visible rewards. My hope is in what the human heart cannot feel. Therefore let me not trust in the feelings of my heart. My hope is in what the hand has never touched. Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers, because Death will loosen my grasp and my vain hope will be gone.

Let my trust be in Your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in Your love, not in health or strength or ability or human resources.

If I trust You, everything else will become for me strength, health and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust You, everything will be my destruction.

-Thomas Merton

Merton has the rare ability to verbally capture the essence of the Christian's struggle through a life of faith. Some thoughts and feelings are difficult to describe. But time after time I find that the written portrayal of his heart's longings echoes how I think and feel, but have not been able to express. Reading his entries is like becoming acquainted with myself. If you've never read any of his works, I would highly encourage you to do so (thanks, Laura for the recommendation!).

This particular passage is not the most deep or provocative of his works, but the last line caught my attention because of some thoughts that have nagged me for a few weeks now. My life is full of things: things to do, things not to do, things to take care of, things to have, things to be, things to think about, things to eat, etc. Are those things my life, or are they supports and strength for my life? In other words, do the things that fill my time and use my energy do so to such an extent that they become the definition of life for me? If so, then they are destruction for me, even if they are good things. What is my life, really? I hope that it is to trust in Jesus, and to walk by the Spirit. Then all of these "things" can enhance that life that I have in Christ. I don't want to get it backwards. I don't want Jesus to be another "thing" in my life. I want my life to be Him.