We have become more divided than ever. This isn’t just true about politics or community or family and friends, but also within ourselves. We often find ourselves torn between what we want to do and what we ought to do.
We are given freedom and choice. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that we are able to participate in our own wellbeing and growth. But a curse in that it stops us from participating in others. We have to make a conscious choice and effort to help one another. Too often this seems too difficult for us to “want” to do. It’s easier to stand on one side and allow others to stand on their side.
Jesus, in essence, also calls us to choose a side. God’s side or not God’s side. Do what is right and righteous, or do what we want to do.
As a man who was a great proponent of the contemplative life, Merton understood the difficulty of looking within ourselves to find the truth. Yet he also knew that in doing so, in making the effort to do the hard work, truth would be revealed. And where there is truth there is no division. No gulf of guilt or bitterness or hatred that separates us from ourselves or one another.
Jesus’ ministry was one of reconciliation, one that began in the heart and moved outward in community. Through forgiveness and kindness, He brought heaven and earth together again. The moon and the sea, the sun and the plants, the people and their God...all one again. No longer does sin or death, or our own stubbornness or opinions need to separate us.
As Paul writes, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. ... nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)