Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Respecting Solitude

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If a man does not know the value of his own loneliness, how can he respect another's solitude? It is at once our loneliness and our dignity to have an incommunicable personality that is ours, ours alone and no one else's, and will be so forever.

When human society fulfills its true function the persons who form it grow more and more in their individual freedom and personal integrity. And the more each individual develops and discovers the secret resources of his own incommunicable personality, tble more he can contribute to the life and the weal of the whole. Solitude is as necessary for society as silence is for language and air for the lungs and food for the body. A community that seeks to invade or destroy the spiritual solitude of the individuals who compose it is condemning itself to death by spiritual asphyxiation.

Thomas Merton, OCSO
No Man is an Island, pp. 246-247

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