“To say I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.” Thomas Merton
Merton, a modern-day Trappist Monk, entered the world in 1915 and passed into eternity in 1968. The Trappist’s take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. A common misconception about the Trappist’s is they take a vow of silence, as well, which is not the case. Trappist’s limit their use of words to those that are necessary. We would do well to learn from limiting the use of words.
The healthcare organization I work for sent out the above quote as part of our daily meditation. It struck me as more a spiritual observation than tied to a specific religious belief system. It could even be described as New Age by some, I suspect.
Merton wasn’t wrong. God created out of love, created extensions of love in various forms; animals, creatures of the air and sea, and humankind. All life is love-based, created to love and be loved, to be selfless, putting the needs of others above their own. And God blessed the created beings with free will, the freedom to choose as God can choose. Humans think free will is theirs alone, an arrogant assumption. Instinct and choice drive all created beings.
If love is our true identity and character, when we choose not to express ourselves through love, we are choosing to deny our true identity and character. How often do we deny our true identity and character? We deny our true identity and character every time we choose hate over love, unforgiveness over mercy, every time we judge others.
If love is our true identity and character, we can choose to express ourselves through love rather than deny who we are. A choice is an act of the will. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of who we are…..