I am currently working on a project for school about Thomas Merton. This man was a Cistercian monk who lived at the Trappist monastery, Gethsemani, in Kentucky. The reason I chose this person out of many who are considered ‘contemplatives’ throughout the history of the Christian church was because of his apparent change of heart, or awakening, to the issues of his day. Today I learned something about this man of God that began to form my thesis. One cannot disassociate oneself from the fact of one’s own participation in humanity in a quest to become closer to the One who created humanity. In order to understand and engage the world, with its violence, greed, and sin, it is necessary to engage these very things that reside in our own heart! How difficult that is for those of us who find our security in lofty platitudes of spirituality. We talk about our journey to self-realization as if it’s the only journey being taken by anyone in the world. We defend our practices and understanding as if that was the only correct and true way to practice and understand. How blind we are! God is interested in God’s creation. We are a part of that. God is therefore concerned about us as we are…in the midst of that creation. We cannot become hermits who hide from the reality of the world. I think that we must live compassionately in concert with God’s purpose to redeem creation. Compassionately with other humans who are on the same journey as we.