fleeting judgements

Last night, Thomas Merton told me:

"One must not be too quickly preoccupied with professing definitively what is true and what is false. Not that true and false do not matter. But if at every instant one wants to grasp the whole and perfect truth of a situation, particularly a concrete and limited situation in history or in politics, one only deceives and blinds himself. Such judgements are only rarely and fleetingly possible, and sometimes, when we think we see what is most significant, it has very little meaning at all." (A Year With Thomas Merton, Aug 29).

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all guilty of this one at some point. I see it in the Church in the struggle between the conservatives/traditionalists and the liberals/progressives … and many other places on this little planet of ours. None of us has a grasp on the whole and perfect truth, that’s for God. Our job I think is to be open and to share the window on the truth we do get, knowing that our truth is only a part of the whole truth. We need each other if we’re ever to really build God’s kingdom, or even just a tiny part of it.

If we think we’ve got all the information we need to do it ourselves right now, well, what is they say about building castles in the sand? Or glass houses for that matter? I remember when I lived in Switzerland the year after college they were building a house next door the entire time I was there. My sister-in-law said they finished it two years later. It took forever! And lots of team work. But it was sturdy and will probably stand for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Some thoughts anyway this Tuesday morning.
Houseguest #1 leaves today (my old roommate and college friend Kathy has been in town). It’s been great, resting and rejuvenating. Houseguest #2 comes Thursday (Hellen, the now candidate with the groovy sisters).
Take care everyone.


great sandwich! said...

That Merton quote reminds me of my favorite passage from Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly":

"Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that little precious fragment as well. A portion of him turns against him and acts like another person, defeating him from inside. A man inside a man. Which is no man at all."

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Very interesting ... merton ... pkd ...

Thanks as always oh great sandwich!

Now you are just left to ponder, was my exclamation point used as punctuation or merely as part of your name :)

... I've literally mopped myself into a corner in my home office, so I'm a bit silly. Luckily the floor will dry soon enough.