THE HUMBLE WAY OF LIFE AND INSIGHT
Thomas Merton writes, “The specific value that draws a Christian into the "desert" and "solitude" (whether or not he remains physically "in the world" ) is a deep sense that God alone suffices. The need to win the approval of society, to find a recognized place in the world, to achieve a temporal ambition, to "be somebody" even in the Church seems to them irrelevant. They realize themselves to be called to a totally different mode of existence, outside of secular categories and outside of the religious establishment.” (1)
If we are in God in a new covenant sense (one spirit with Him)* we already are somebody.
THE WHO OF YOU
The self that is actually us, our real self is not the self that we busily construct by adherence to externalities. It is the self that Christ saw before the foundation of the world and the self that we become when Christ is our life.
The perichoresis of oneness with God does not eliminate the real self. It grows it so that we merge out of the false self, sought in the tyranny of earning self-worth, the rest finding our real self in the Sabbath of uni0n and co-labouring with Jesus.
Humility* paves the way to the experience of some facility in contemplation. The ability to be still enough to listen and absorb wisdom without hiding behind mental laziness and erecting fictions grow us in the knowledge of God and the ability to perceive the world as it is. One does not have to be the bore with the short attention span that is the dread of Christmas family get-togethers.
Separation from Christ aids leather-mindedness and bigotry.
Socialised in the law and its performance orientation we will have insulated our hearts from our real selves. We will not know our real selves and will have effectively insulated ourselves from depth with Jesus and His disciples. The legalist, even the sophisticated and intellectualised legalist cannot know himself or the real self of others. ‘Community’ in this case is an abstraction. Life in the Spirit is a formula rather than oneness with God. The dis-jointed gospel of legalism leaves us separated from God and lacking in spiritual discernment.
We do not need to enter a monastery to contemplate. We can lead a contemplative life of agency and fruitfulness in our vocation without being a workaholic. When Christ is our life we have peace, comfort and agency. We have a Sabbath life in communion with God.
But we do well to know that who we are is not indicated by what we do. The who of us is who we are in union with Christ. There is an I AM of you that grows and flourished in oneness with Father.
* We are not one spirit with God in the law even if we operate in the gifts.
* Foot washing will not make you humble. Jesus makes us humble.
(1) Merton Thomas, p.24 Contemplation In A World Of Action.