This weekend I began cataloging my books with My Book Collection Software on my laptop. My first entries were 30 plus Thomas Merton books, mostly journals and letters. In his author’s note to No Man Is an Island (Harcourt, Brace and company New York, 1955) I found a passage that I think has special relevance to life in the 21st Century. Merton writes:
“I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man’s real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern. The spiritual life is oriented toward God, rather than toward the immediate satisfaction of the material needs of life, but it is not, for all that, a life of unreality or a life of dreams. On the contrary, without a life of the spirit, our whole existence becomes unsubstantial and illusory. The life of the spirit, by integrating us in the real order established by God, puts us in the fullest possible contact with reality—not as we imagine it, but as it really is. It does so by making us aware of our own real selves, and placing them in the presence of God” (pages ix-x).
Discovering passages like this in the works and writings and lives of others provides real soul food. Read this passage carefully and prayerfully and thank God today for His direction and guidance on how to have a real, integrated, spiritual life.