The hill pasture, an open place among the trees,
tilts into the valley. The clovers and tall grasses
are in bloom. Along the foot of the hill
dark floodwater moves down the river.
The sun sets. Ahead of nightfall the birds sing.
I have climbed up to water the horses
and now sit and rest, high on the hillside,
letting the day gather and pass. Below me
cattle graze out across the wide fields of the bottomlands,
slow and preoccupied as stars. In this world
men are making plans, wearing themselves out,
spending their lives, in order to kill each other.
“Do we really renounce ourselves and the world in order to find Christ, or do we renounce our alienated and false selves in order to choose our own deepest truth in choosing both the world and Christ at the same time? If the deepest ground of my being is love, then in that very love itself and nowhere else will I find myself, and the world, and my brother and Christ.”
~ Thomas Merton in James Finley’s Merton’s Palace of Nowhere
God’s love is free and unconditional yet most often we deny this truth by turning it into a competition or using our sins as a test. “Just how much do you love me? Love me still?” When we simply acknowledge we are like everyone else, full of love, joy, fear, and suffering, we finally surrender to God’s free love.