humanity in community

Thanks to Bryan for pointing out this quote from Thomas Merton:

We are also weak and selfish, and there is in us this struggle between trust and mistrust, where we all believe and don’t believe. We trust other people and we distrust other people. We are, in other words, full of ambivalence, and we must take this into account. Things are in reality so much more complicated. We assume that we are perfectly open and trusting and then suddenly we discover that we aren’t. When we live together with people we have strong feelings of rebellion against them, we really rise up against them. This has to be understood. What we tend to do is to deny this, repress it; we don’t like to face it. But we just have to face the fact that sometimes we get darned mad at people, we get worked up about it and we do our best not to show it, but there it is. You cannot possibly live religious life realistically unless you realize that this is going on all the time.

Perfect follow up to my last post. We are human people. If we waited until we were perfect to go on this journey with God, we'd be waiting an awful long time ... Part of what kept me ignoring this pull to religious life was thinking, "I'm way to [fill in the blank] for that to work." But God knows that ... and as I was reminded during the homily on Sunday ... our God is the God of impossible things.

[Note - it's not that I'm mad at any of my groovy sisters. It's more the recognition of human beings being human together that appeals to me in this post. Trust and mistrust. I'm sure there will be times when I'll be mad. We're human after all.]


Lisa said...

I understand what you are saying. This passage really strikes at a fundamental reality of life in common, especially religious life: If occasions do not arise where people in community have to work through the "junk" or "mess" of human life, then they are probably not living community at a deep level. That's not too say that there has to be confrontation or dissention among a group, but there needs to be an ability to share one's humanity with one another in order to really live out the fullness of community.

Bryan said...

I'm glad you found the Merton quote helpful Susan. I needed to hear it, that's for sure.

Peace to you.