Category: art & literature

Love and Sin

“In a sense, this terrible situation is the pattern and prototype of all sin: the deliberate and formal will to reject disinterested love for us for the purely arbitrary reason that we simply do not want it.  We will to seperate ourselves from that love.  We reject it entirely and absolutely, and will not acknowledge it, simply because it does not please us to be loved.  Perhaps the inner motive is that the fact of being loved disinterestly reminds us that we all need love from others, and depend upon the charity of others to carry on our own lives.  And we refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation.”

–Thomas Merton “The Seven Story Mountain

It is an interesting idea that sin is really just a rejection of love.  To be honest, I had to go to the dictionary to make sense of the term “disinterested love.”  My first thought when reading this paragraph was “how can you love something disinterestly?”  What the dictionary reminded me was disinterest is not the lack of interest, but the lack of self-interest.

I think that this is one of the most powerful aspects of the character of Jesus.  His complete disinterested love for the whole world.  It is an ideal that is simply amazing in scope.  Just a fraction of this type of love would make such a difference in this world.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/love-and-sin/

a rhino walks

a rhino walks

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/a-rhino-walks/

the road less traveled

I’ve lately been looking through some of my old poems in order to help find some of the ways that I began to understand my call to the priesthood.  The poem below was written when I was in very early stages of understanding my call.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/the-road-less-traveled/

Practicing Resurrection

So one of the suggestions of my discernment committee was to read the book Practicing Resurrection by Nora Gallagher. I finished the book this morning and there were three passages I bookmarked for further contemplation.

On discernment:

I had thought at the beginning that it would be a matter of looking for signs or listening for voices, not too many steps away from divining tea leaves. But it had become a different matter. It had been as if I were invited into a slow stripping away to expose what lay underneath. Some aspect of myself or a part of the past would rise up, something left unattended and unresolved, to which I’d grown so accustomed I did not see it, like the low-lying tree branch in the backyard I instinctively duck. Often a person would bump into this long-held secret I kept from myself, sometimes by accident or as if by accident, and insist that I take a look.

On monks:

I think they are men who do not expect their faith to end their own suffering.

On exile:

It is typical of exile that it changes you, and when you return, you don’t fit in the way you did before.

As I prepare for the Prov 8 Higher Ed & Young Adult Gathering this weekend, I have really been listening to the silence. I haven’t heard much…but I haven’t been as afraid of the silence either. As I “turn off the noise” this weekend…I will be keeping these three quotes in my head.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/practicing-resurrection/