Seeing All in the Light of God
by Thomas Merton
IS THE CHRISTIAN LIFE of prayer simply an evasion of the problems and anxieties of contemporary existence? If we pray "in the Spirit" we are certainly not running away from life, negating visible reality in order to "see God." For "the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole earth." Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transforms our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all people, and all the history of mankind, in the light of God. To pray "in spirit and in truth" enables us to enter into contact with that infinite love, that inscrutable freedom which is at work behind the complexities and the intricacies of human existence. This does not mean fabricating for ourselves pious rationalizations to explain everything that happens. It involves no surreptitious manipulation of the hard truths of life.
Meditation does not necessarily give us a privileged insight into the meaning of isolated historical events. These can remain for the Christian as much of an agonizing mystery as they do for anyone else. But for us the mystery contains, within its own darkness and its own silences, a presence and a meaning which we apprehend without fully understanding them. And by this spiritual contact, this act of faith, we are ourselves properly situated in the events around us, even though we may not quite see where they are going.
Taken from Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton (New York: Image Books, an imprint of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. 1990) p. 112.