from Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude p. 13-14

No amount of technological progress will cure the hatred that eats away the vitals of materialistic society like a spiritual cancer. The only cure is, and must always be, spiritual. There is not much use talking to men about God and love if they are not able to listen. The ears with which we hear the message of the Gospel are hidden in our hearts, and these ears do not hear anything unless they are favoured with a certain interior solitude and silence.

In other words, since faith is a matter of freedom and self-determination – the free receiving of a freely given gift of grace -we cannot assent to a spiritual message as long as our minds and hearts are enslaved by automatism We will always remain so enslaved as long as we we are submerged in a mass of other automatons, without individuality and without our rightful integrity as persons.

What is said here about solitude is not just a recipe for hermits. It has a bearing on the whole future of us and our world: and especially, of course, on the future of our religion.

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