Antidote to Violence

UnknownA friend of mine recently shared a quote from Thomas Merton that has been with her for a while. I printed it out and placed it on my altar space so I could read it again and again. And though I have read it a number of times, and stopped to ponder the power and impact of what Merton says, I regret to say that I haven’t – yet – been too successful in authoring changes to my life’s rhythm to help create a more peaceful internal space and pace.

So I am heading off for a retreat with the SSJE brothers. I have planned for time in spiritual direction, time to walk the beautiful trails near the guest quarters, time in worship, time with a friend who will also be on retreat, and time for silence. It is the silence I crave most. While I am alone much of the time in my daily life, I often struggle to set aside time for deep, quiet, open, silence.

So I welcome your prayers and your blessings as I take this time away. And I invite you to ponder Merton’s words with me. How might each of us develop the space and the ability to become vessels of peace amidst the violence of the world we have created?

The rush and pressure of modern life

are a form of its innate violence.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a

multitude of conflicting concerns,

to surrender to too many demands,

to commit oneself to too many projects,

to want to help everyone in everything

is to succumb to violence.

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her

work for peace.—Thomas Merton

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