More Thomas Merton

There is no true spiritual life outside the love of Christ. We have a spiritual life only because we are loved by him. The spiritual life consists in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and his charity, because the Sacred Heart of Jesus has willed in his love that we should live by his Spirit – the same spirit who proceeds from the Word and from the Father, and who is Jesus’ love for the Father.
If we know how great is the love of Jesus for us we will never be afraid to go to him in all our poverty, all our weakness, all are spiritual wretchedness and infirmity. Indeed, when we understand the true nature of his love for us, we will prefer to come to him poor and helpless. We will never be ashamed of our distress. Distress is to our advantage when we have nothing to seek but mercy. We can be glad of our helplessness when we really believe that his power is made perfect in our infirmity.
The surest sign that we have received a spiritual understanding of God’s love for us is the appreciation of our poverty in the light of his infinite mercy.
We must love our own poverty is Jesus loves it. It is so valuable to him that he died on the cross to present our poverty to his Father, and endow us with the riches of his own infinite mercy. We must love the poverty of others as Jesus loves it. We must see them with the eyes of his own compassion. We, it cannot have true compassion on others unless we are willing to accept a pity and receive forgiveness for our own sins. We do not really know how to forgive until we know what it is to be forgiven. Therefore we should be glad that we can be forgiven by our brothers. It is after forgivingness of one another that makes the love of Jesus for us manifest in our lives, for in forgiving one another we act towards one another as he has acted towards us.
from Thoughts in Solitude pp. 37–8

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