Bridge Crossing in Costa Rica

2011.07.28

There are a number of fun personal anecdotes I hope to share from my summer travel experience in Costa Rica (and Panama).

However, for the sake of simplicity and personal authenticity, I think it fitting to start with some of the thoughts I spent most of my early mornings on this trip reading and reflecting upon.

There were lots of long bridges to cross in Costa Rica and Panama, but I want to believe the lengthiest one I attempted was in the cool, emerging light of morning- in the calmer and quieter recesses of my mind.

The following thoughts and ideas are from a book (written by Thomas Merton) that I borrowed and read over the course of my trip.

‘It is true for me sanctity consists in being myself. Yours in being yourself. For me, to be a saint means to be myself. God leaves us free to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please.’ (31)

‘We are at liberty to be real or unreal. Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny. We should not passively exist, but actively participate in his creative freedom, in our lives and others, by choosing truth. We are called by God to share in the work of creating our identity.’ (33)

‘I will never be able to find myself if I isolate myself from mankind, as if I were a different kind of being.’ (51)

‘Love comes out of God and gathers us to God in order to pour itself back into God through all of us and bring us all back to him on the tide of his own infinite mercy.’ (67)

‘Because God’s Love is in me, it can come to you from a different/ special direction that would be closed if he did not live in me, and b/c his love is in you, it can come to me from a quarter from which it would not otherwise come. God has greater glory b/c his Love is expressed in two more ways in which it would not otherwise be expressed, two more ways that could not exist without him.’ (67)

‘We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them; we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them, but to find out the way to do them the most good.’ (80)

‘The only way to find solitude is by hunger and thirst and sorrow and poverty and desire and the man who has found solitude is empty, as if he had been emptied by death. Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.’ (81)

‘You will never find interior solitude unless you make some conscious effort to deliver yourself from the desires and the cares and the attachments of an existence in time and in the world.’ (84)

Concerning the Moral Theology of the Devil-  The chief mark of the theology of hell is a lack of mercy (indicative of a lack of the presence of Christ). In hell there is no mercy, there is everything but mercy. That is why God himself is absent from hell. Mercy is the manifestation of his presence (92).

‘If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that can be criticized, he will never write anything that can be read. If you want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn.’ (105)

‘You cannot be a man of faith unless you know how to doubt. You cannot believe in God unless you are capable of questioning the authority of prejudices, even though the prejudices may seem to be religious.’ (106)

‘The most difficult and the most necessary of renunciations: to give up resentment.’ (108)

‘The tree is known by its fruits. If you want to understand the social and political history of modern man, study hell.’ (123)

On knowing God- Faith is the first step in this transformation b/c it is a cognition that knows without images and representations, but by a loving identification with the living God in obscurity.’ (132)

‘The function if faith is not to reduce mystery to rational clarity, but to integrate the unknown and the known together in a living whole, in which we are more and more able to transcend the limitations of our external self.’ (136)

‘The ‘spiritual life’ is then the perfectly balanced life in which the body with its passion and instincts, the mind with its reasoning and its obedience to principles, and the spirit with its passive illumination by the light and love of God form one complete man who is in God and with God and from God and for God. One man in whom God carries out his own will without obstacle.’ (140)

TBC  🙂

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