Monday, October 01, 2007

A mark of great prose... when it can be read without knowledge of when it was written without losing its impact. I've been reading Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain and in my insufficiently humble opinion, it's full of such great prose.

It is only the infinite mercy and love of God that has prevented us from tearing ourselves to pieces and destroying His entire creation long ago. People seem to think that it is in some way a proof that no merciful God exists, if we have so many wars. On the contrary, consider how in spite of centuries of sin and greed and lust and cruelty and hatred and avarice and oppression and injustice, spawned and bred by the free wills of men, the human race can still recover, each time, and can still produce men and women who overcome evil with good, hatred with love, greed with charity, lust and cruelty with sanctity. How could all this be possible without the merciful love of God, pouring out His grace upon us? Can there be any doubt where wars come from and where peace comes from, when the children of this world, excluding God from their peace conferences, only manage to bring about greater and greater wars the more they talk about peace?
This could very well have been written by someone today concerned about the bifurcation in the larger community in terms of how we define, pursue and promote peace. By itself one would never have known this was written by someone now roughly sixty years ago - the language and facts are simply timeless. Our former Vicar had recommended this book many months ago prior to his reassignment and only now have I had the chance to sit down to read this excellent book. Thus far, it has certainly been worth the wait.