Monday, December 11, 2006

Everything that is, is Holy

Thus opens the first chapter of Thomas Merton's Seeds of Contemplation. The created cosmos contains nothing mundane. All is sacred. All is holy. Time, canyons, protozoans, dogs, fire, architecture, language. Artists and poets know this. Noticers know this. Those who are too caught up in being somewhere else, too anxious that their surroundings and company are not spiritual enough, too insistent on mentally classifying things as "high" or "low," don't know this.

Do you think that a saint has to excuse his interest in created things by tripping himself up in his language and introducing a lot of uselessly explicit references to God whenever he talks or thinks about the world and what is in it? A saint is capable of talking about the world without any explicit reference to God, in such a way that his statement gives greater glory to God and arouses a greater love of God than the observations of someone less holy, who has to strain himself to make an arbitrary connection between creatures and God through the medium of hackneyed analogies and metaphors that are so stupid they make you think there is something the matter with religion.

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