Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Building the foundations for spiritual unity

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To live well myself is my first and essential contribution to the well ­being of all mankind and to the fulfillment of man's collective destiny. If I do not live happily myself how can I help anyone else to be happy, or free, or wise? Yet to seek happiness is not to live
happily. Perhaps it is more true to say that one finds happiness by not seeking it. The wisdom that teaches us deliberately to restrain our desire for happiness enables us to discover that we are already happy without realizing the fact.

To live well myself means for me to know and appreciate something of the secret the mystery in myself: that which is incommunicable, which is at once myself and not myself at once in me and above me. From this sanctuary I must seek humbly and patiently to ward off all the intrusions of violence and self-assertion. These intrusions cannot really penetrate the sanctuary, but they can draw me forth from it and slay me before the secret doorway.

If I can understand something of myself and something of others, I can begin to share with them the work of building the foundations for spiritual unity. But first we must work together at dissipating the more absurd fictions which make unity impossible.

Thomas Merton, OCSO
Conjectures of a Guilty By-stander, pp. 81-82

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