words for Lent

“Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep, inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding… This torment is a kind of trial by fire in which we are compelled, by the very light of invisible truth which has reached us in the dark ray of contemplation, to examine, to doubt, and finally to reject all the prejudices and conventions that we have hitherto accepted as if they were dogmas. Hence it is clear that genuine contemplation is incompatible with complacency and with smug acceptance of prejudiced opinions. It is not merely passive acceptance of the status quo, as some would like to believe– for this would reduce it to the level of spiritual anesthesia…. what a holocaust takes place in this steady burning to ashes of old worn-out words, cliches, slogans, rationalizations! The worst  of it is that even apparently holy conceptions are consumed along with all the rest. it is a terrible breaking and burning of idols, a purification of the sanctuary, so that no graven thing may occupy the place that God has commanded to be left empty…” (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, 13).

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