Monday, August 17, 2009

...not like the land of Egypt from which I had come out...

In the light of wisdom, we are able to honestly, with courage and clarity, at the previous foibles of our lives in such a manner as to express and instruct others so that they may not make the same mistake.

In this excerpt from "Seven-Story Mountain", Thomas Merton reveals to us that in our spiritual lives, we must dive deep within, with the desire for a wholesale change to turn our face to God, as we cannot live in the same way, in the same land, as we have done before....

I had come, like the Jews, through the Red Sea of Baptism. I was entering into a desert...where I would have a chance to give God great glory by simply trusting and obeying Him, and walking in the way that was not according to my own nature and my own judgement. And it would lead me to a land that I could not imagine or understand

It would be a land that was not like the land of Egypt from which I had come out: the land of human nature blinded and fettered by perversity and sin. It would be a land in which the work of man's hands and man's ingenuity counted for little or nothing: but where God would direct all things, and where I would be expected to act so much and so closely under His guidance that it would be as if He thought with my mind, as if He willed with my will.

Baptism had brought with it the obligation to reduce all my natural appetites to subordination to God's will: 'For the wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be. And they who are in the flesh, cannot please God...and if you live according to the flesh, you shall die, but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God.'

It took me time to find it out: but I write down what I have found out at last, so that anyone who is now in the position that I was in then may read it and know what to do to save himself from great peril and unhappiness.

And to such a one I would say: Whoever you are, the land to which God has brought you is not like the land of Egypt from which you came out. You can no longer live here as you lived there.

Above all, eat your daily Bread without which you cannot live, and come to know Christ Whose Life feeds you in the Host, and He will give you a taste of joys and delights that transcend anything you have ever experienced before, and which will make the transition easy."

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