Lenten Reflection: Ch. 3, Thoughts in Solitude

9 February 2008

In a very short chapter, Merton discusses integrity, and how it’s important.  We cannot think of the spiritual life as purely mental, or purely emotional.  The spiritual life is the experience of the whole man.

Thoughts are only real if they lead to actions.  Life is not thinking he tells us.

So true.  When we think of “spirituality” we don’t think of something that could happen while we cook, or tend a garden (maybe tending a garden), or change a diaper.  And yet it is.  It’s harder to foster spiritual thoughts/activity/growth when beset with challenges than it might be, say, in a monastery or in a quiet house with soft music playing, candles burning, and incense wafting through the air.

And yet that purely mental, or ideally emotional, or perfectly spiritual state is not what a spiritual life is all about.  If we are fully integrated —mental, spiritual, emotional, physical beings— then we experience things spiritually, fully, old things in the new and new things in the old.

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