Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reflection: The Praying Life -- For the Salvation of the World

From The Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton:

By this time [1939], I should have acquired enough sense to realize that the cause of wars is sin. If I had accepted the gift of sanctity that had been put in my hands when I stood by the font in November 1938, what might have happened in the world? People have no idea what one saint
can do: for sanctity is stronger than the whole of hell. The saints are full of Christ in the plentitude of His Kindly and Divine power and they are conscious of it, and they give themselves to Him, that He may exercise His power through their smallest and seemingly most insignificant
acts, for the salvation of the world.

As bold as Merton's meditation, I think it is understated. It is not only war that is caused by sin, but every evil on the face of the earth: personal, corporate, structural, natural. And, just as each of us is responsible for all the sin in the world, each of us has the capacity -- through purification and prayer -- to participate in the restoration (dare I say "salvation") of all the world. "Pray without ceasing," St Paul tells us. Amen.

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