… the artist serves God most faithfully by being a good artist …

Paul Elie, in The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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These are Elie’s words describing the thoughts of Jacques Maritain.  They bring to mind Thomas Merton’s lecture on St. Bernard of Clairveaux.

What Maritain notes is no less true of a good person.  That is to say, the task of living a good life, a life dictated by God, is much like being a good artist.

You see an artist does his best with the talent and material with which he is presented.  So, too, does a good person do the same.  Striving for good is, by the way, the vocation of all who are called into existence.

Alas, in America today such a notion is under attack.  The godless “special pleaders” seek an exception to this obligation in favor of their selfish disorders and their chaotic and the crippling effects they have on others.

In commenting on the nature of monastic life as seen by St.Bernard, Thomas Merton notes that those entering monastic life need not scheme or aim or bargain their way to holiness – that in entering a monastery they are already there.  

Well what does he mean?

He means this: we all exist in the arms of God, there is no particular trying that makes this so – there is only the recognition that this is so.  And, as Merton says, we remain in the arms of God by simply living as God wills.  And that, God wills that we are good and live in that goodness by simply conforming to the good that He houses within us and wills for us.

Yes, conforming to God’s gift of life and the good in each life is the key.  We are, in this, Maritain’s artist who conforms to the talent and material he or she is given.

Alas, though we are thus made by God – few are artists in the living.  It is this neglect and rebellion that generates the chaos and suffering that is so unnecessary, but so much a part of life today.

Our remedy? More Believers – they produce more artists; and, the more artists: the more humble and contented people of God, and the fewer disordered “special pleaders” and their inexcusable chaos and evil.


Footnote – For my part, I live a more monastic life now while being situated in the world. I live with discretion.  My monastery wall is the choice I make to distance myself from all who are disordered.

650,000 Emails – Serious matter.  But we must always seek truth.  Failing to do so destroys us.  If there is corruption, it must be addressed.