A Sacrament of Love




by Rev. Glenn Birkett

Thomas Merton, or “Father Louis,” as he was known in his Trappist faith-community, the Abbey of Gethsemane, just outside of Bardstown, Kentucky, was known to the world as a prolific author, social activist, theologian, mystic, and scholar. He wrote over 60 books and hundreds of poems.  

Over the years I have read a good many of them but my favorite is No Man Is An Island.  I have copied numerous paragraphs from it and keep them where I can reread them often.  The following is one of my favorites.

“I must become convinced and penetrated by the realization that without my love for others, they may perhaps not achieve the things God has willed for them. My will must be the instrument of God’s will helping them create their destiny. My love must be to them the sacrament of the mysterious and infinitely selfless love God has for them. My love for them must be the minister not of my own spirit but of the Holy Spirit. The words I speak to them must be no other than the words of Christ who deigns to reveal Himself to them in me.”

How often do we think about our love being the sacrament by which others become what God has willed for them and that our words “must be no other than the words of Christ?”

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