Everything hangs on the possibility of … understanding, which forms our interior bond, and is the only basis of true peace and true community …

Thomas Merton

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Monk Thomas Merton tells in a journal entry in October 1958 of receiving a letter from writer Boris Pasternak and detecting that he and Pasternak shared a deep and fundamental understanding as to life, faith and the world.

Hence the above observation.

Yes, shared understanding does form the essential and longed-for interior bond we need as human beings.  Yes, I am talking about intimacy, real human contact – the kind that allows a reader to know a writer without ever having met him, for reader and writer to become friends.  Yes, intimacy – the thing that makes a friend, a brother – that makes a wife and husband one whole being.  Yes, intimacy that makes a neighbor part of you.  Yes, intimacy that makes a community a community, a nation a nation.

Having said that, we are not an intimate nation.  We have strayed from what we once were.  No Pledge of Allegiance recited anymore.  The elevation of the individual over all else.  Constant agitation that is called “advocacy” – what I call “special pleading” – an unsavory self-proclamation that divides and creates discord.  Must a homosexual couple really demand their local Mom-and-Pop bakery deliver a cake to their “wedding?”  Is it really necessary to offend or destroy another to “get your way?”  Where is the intimacy in that?

When have you seen or heard anyone stand up for another person who held a view that was not their own as well? This is a rare event now.  It used not to be. It is what I did all my life and as a lawyer everyday.

We have become in the last Leftist filled sixty years a divided nation – much like the Greeks who run up debt and refuse to honor the implicit promise that entails. Yes, selfish and self-centered.

There is no intimacy in doing what you want and shifting the cost to others.  No decency in that, no understanding – nothing in common, no union.  And we see that daily at-large and in our own lives.

In that October journal entry Merton also says this as to understanding:

External, juridical, doctrinal, etc. bonds can never achieve this … my vocation is intimately bound up in this bond and this understanding …

Mine, too.

We have a parade of people seeking to become our next President.  Their focus is on policy.  However, our fundamental problem is about understanding, intimacy, community and peace.

Only a mature and developed person of spiritual depth and independence can speak to that essential need without which there is no nation, nor human wholeness.  Become neighbors and friends and anything is possible.  Be adversaries and nothing is possible.


Please Note – I am having computer problems and will be relocating in the next week.  It may come to pass that I will, for the first since I began writing Spirlaw, miss some time in my daily publishing.  I will let you know if that becomes a necessity.