Thomas Merton: On Suffering — And Our Vocation — “Our work is the superhuman work of overcoming death”

“Our work is the superhuman work of overcoming death.”

“The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.”
Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

Our Lord came to overcome death by love, and this work of love was a work of obedience to the Father unto death – a total gift of himself in order to overcome death. That is our job. We are fighting death; we are involved in a struggle between love and death, and this struggle takes place in each of us. Our Lord’s victory over death, the victory of love over death on the cross, seeks to be manifested in a very concrete form on earth in the creation of community. The work of creating community in and by the grace of Christ is the place where this struggle goes on and where he manifests his victory over death.

Let’s take a quick look at Saint Paul. There may be better quotations on this point, but this is about us — we are chosen for this life, yet we are just ordinary people, people with our own limitations, as St. Paul stresses in the famous passage 1 Cor 1: 26-31  “Take yourselves for instance brothers, at the time that you were called: how many of you were wise in the ordinary sense of the world, how many were influential in the world or came from noble families? (The old translation was “Consider your vocation,” — consider this fact: who are we who are called to share the work of Christ, the superhuman work of overcoming death?) No it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen — those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. The human race has nothing to boast about to God . But you, God, has made members of Christ Jesus and by God’s doing he has become our wisdom and our virtue and our holiness and our freedom. As scripture says, “If anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.”

From Thomas Merton in Alaska: Prelude to the Asian Journal — By Thomas Merton




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One Response to “Thomas Merton: On Suffering — And Our Vocation — “Our work is the superhuman work of overcoming death””

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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