Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"How sweet it is to forget all that stuff..."

Noli vinci a malo sed vince in bono malum. [Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good (Romans 12:21).] The faults, imperfections, and weaknesses of people who are supposed to be holy! I have not been allowed to retain much of an illusion about the universal perfection of the house where I am going to make vows! But it is ceasing to disturb me. How sweet it is to forget all that stuff and to realize that it is none of my business to worry about the apparent faults of others outside of the simple means prescribed by the Usages. How many burdens there are that you don't really have to carry! In fact you sin by carrying them, and you give God much glory by dropping them! And so there is no need to make any decision about so many seeming imperfections in a community.
 From Entering the Silence: The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume Two 1941-1952

1 comment:

  1. I wish I had more context on this. In the light of the recent scandals around the cover up of the sexual abuse of children, I wonder whether Thomas Merton is rejoicing in a freedom that he does not actually have.

    Perhaps it actually IS a sin not to take up those burdens, rather than the contrary, as Merton might be suggesting here. It almost has a "just following orders" quality to it. However, this is more about omission than commission. It seems to suggest that he is free not to say anything when he is witness to wrong doings because all is well so long as he remains within the "Usages."

    BTW, if somebody could provide a link to a document that specified the "Usages," I would appreciate it.