Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Soul of Merton 2-18-09

Inspired by my readings of "Contemplative Prayer" and "Contemplation In A World Of Action" by Thomas Merton

Here's a quick follow-up to yesterday's post, as Thomas Merton again, in his own Mertonian logic, spells out the exact mood we are living by here at the Bhaktivedanta Ashram: a mood of dynamic creativity, spiritual strength, and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel of self-realization to all with a kind heart, that is helping to restore Prabhupada's vision of brahmacari life in North America

This is from p.23 of the opening chapter to Contemplation In A World Of Action:

"The monastic movement needs leaders who must come from the new generation. These must have the patience to undergo the testing and formation without which their ability cannot be proved. No one will entrust himself to the guidance of men who have never had to suffer anything and have never really faced the problems of life in all their bitter seriousness. The young must not be too ready to give up in despair. They have work to do!

Fotunately there are creative forces at work. There are communities and superiors who are fully aware of the real nature of the monastic vocation, not simply as a summons to become a cog in the instutional machine, but as a charismatic breakthrough to liberation and love. It is more and more clearly realized that fidelity to monastic tradition no longer means simply dictating preformulated answers to all the questions of the young monk and forcing him to look at his life through somebody's else glasses. Tradition is not passive submission to the obsessions of former generations but a living assent to a current of uninterrupted vitality.

What was once real in other times and places becomes real in is today. And its reality is not an official parade of externals. It is a living spirit marked by freedom and a certain originality. Fidelity to tradition does not mean the renunciation of all initiative, but a new initiative that is faithful to a certain spirit of freedom and of vision which demands to be incarnated in a new and unique situation. True monasticism is nothing if not creative"

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