I pre-ordered a book because I was excited about it. I’m a fan of the Benedictine monk, Thomas Merton, and have read lots of what he wrote, but I’ve read all his journals.
The book I just received is by Mary Gordon, On Thomas Merton. She’s a writer and she’s approaching Merton as a writer.
She admits spirituality and religion are not her specialities and that we should take this into account when we read her book.
It’s fascinating to read a book about Merton that is not written from a spirituality angle.
She expresses her alarm at Merton’s rejection of the world: “It is hard not to find Merton’s rejection of the world extreme to the point of neurosis” (p. 50).
I said to myself when I read this, “This is normal for religious people. In fact, it’s required! We are instructed to and rewarded when we reject the world.”
It always surprises me when my religious and spiritual obsession (because I relate to Merton and I think that’s what it is) is called neurotic.
I don’t disagree.
I don’t reject it either. I mean, I don’t reject my former self. Even though he’s long gone, he’s still a part of me, deep in my roots.
I respect that.
I even own it.
But at the same time I need to accept and hope that my former self was a less mature version of my present one.
Perhaps I’m less neurotic now in my spiritual journey than I was some years ago.
How about you?