#4722 - Friday, October 5, 2012 - Editor: Jerry
Hidden in the Same Mystery:
Thomas Merton and
Sister Mary Luke Tobin
The following is excerpted from the book review posted at
Merton urged his listeners to "watch out for impractical ideals."
These he defined as a priori principles: "You work it out in your head
first . . . You work it out before, and then you apply it to reality, and you
try to force reality to fit the ideal. . . And then when reality doesn't fit the
ideal, you start fighting reality."
On the other hand, he warned about avoiding the other extreme, which he
called "passive realism." This "wrong kind of realism" says, "'Well, this
is the way it is. What can you do?' and then just does nothing."
He then proposed another way, which he called "the Christian view." He
described it as:
[I]n the reality which I have and am now, there is a possibility for
growth which God has put there. There's a seed that He's planted there,
and He's going to make grow in His own way, and what I have to provide is the
love and the assent and the submission that's going to permit this to
grow. I have to let this grow. I have to let the changes take place
in my life that God wants to have take place in my life.
Merton added that this third approach takes faith, hope and love. It
requires a hard thing--accepting that each of us is the person he or she is, and
none other. "In being myself," he said, "I can be Christ."
Mary Luke continued to repeat this same message after Merton
died. She incorporated it into an article she wrote for Praying (published
by National Catholic Reporter) in 1984, and later in a presentation she gave at
Rochester College in 1990. Both her works are reprinted in Hidden in the
While it is only natural to wonder what Merton or Luke might do in the
particular circumstances we face today, we cannot know for certain. Thanks
to Hidden in the Same Mystery, however, we now have a compilation of wisdom from
two recent spiritual giants to help shape the questions we ask. Drawing on
that same message from Merton's talk, some of those questions might be:
In what ways are we attempting to impose an ideal
that doesn't fit with reality?
In what ways are we giving
up and doing nothing?
importantly, What seeds of new life has God placed within us--and how can we
nurture their growth?
~ ~ ~
Read the fully review and more details about the book:
~ ~ ~
Fons Vitae, which publishes this book, "translated
from Latin as 'the fountain of life', is devoted to making works available
from the world's great spiritual traditions. Fons Vitae refers to
the knowledge which flows out to humanity from the Divine Source."
Fons Vitae, a non-profit, academic press, publishes interfaith scholarly
works focused primarily on world spirituality.
publishing house, Fons Vitae is distinguished for its significant English
translations of key Arabic and Persian works, especially in the field of
Its award-winning books and DVDs are used throughout the world in
university classrooms and by the general public, including in its prison
Fons Vitae seeks to broaden understanding and admiration
of all the worlds sacred traditions by sponsoring lecture series and
educational programs, as well as by participating in interfaith congresses
~ ~ ~
I think the world of nonduality could use a "non-profit, academic press" as
well. Many of Fons Vitae's books would fit well. The publisher, Gray Henry, was
amazingly helpful in granting me permission to reprint a rare text from Ib'n
Arabi in my book of readings, One: Essential Writings on Nonduality, and even
excited about the particular passage I wanted to quote.