We will now continue with Chapter II from the Reverend Thomas Merton’s book, “Thoughts in Solitude,” learning more about the free choice to do good or evil, the importance of keeping and expanding one’s human sensitivity, as well as the nature of wholeness of the spiritual life.
“The good man comes from God and returns to Him. He starts with the gift of being and with the capacities God has given him. He reaches the age of reason and begins to make choices. The character of his choices is already to a great extent influenced by what has happened to him in the first years of his life, and by the temperament with which he is born. It will continue to be influenced by the actions of others around him, by the events of the world in which he lives, by the character of his society. Nevertheless, it remains fundamentally free.”
“A saint is a perfect man. He is a temple of the Holy Ghost. He reproduces, in his own individual way, something of the balance and perfection and order that we find in the Human character of Jesus, the soul of Jesus, hypostatically united to the Word of God, enjoyed at the same time and without conflict the Clear Vision of God and the most common and simple and intimate of our human emotions — affection, pity and sorrow, happiness, pleasure, or grief; indignation and wonder; weariness, anxiety and fear; consolation and peace.” “If we are without human feelings, we cannot love God in the way in which we are meant to love Him — as men. If we do not respond to human affection, we cannot be loved by God in the way in which He has willed to love us — with the Heart of the Man, Jesus Who is God, the Son of God, and the anointed Christ.”
“Nor does the spiritual life exclude thought and feeling. It needs both. It is not just a life concentrated at the ‘high point’ of the soul, a life from which the mind and the imagination and the body are excluded. If it were so, few people could lead it. And again, if that were the spiritual life, it would not be a life at all. If man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit. Everything must be elevated and transformed by the action of God, in love and faith.”