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Love Your Neighbor, Even Your Enemies – Thomas Merton

July 20, 2018

Again, just as relevant today, if not more so in today’s atmosphere of hatred and demonization of those who are “different”… while Merton’s language is not inclusive, his intent and meaning most certainly is. And this Prophetic voice is incredibly relevant today!

From Jim Forest’s book, The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers

Merton never felt at home in arguments that sought to establish the ethical limits of violence… He preferred the gospel, in which everything is centered on love of God and Neighbor, with “neighbor” meaning whoever is standing in front of you, friend or foe… To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as an other self, we resort to the impersonal “law” and “nature.” That is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunications of our nature and his nature, and we consider only our own nature with its rights, its claims, its demands. And we justify the evil we do to our brother because he is no longer a brother; he is merely an adversary, an accused.

As I learned in my military studies while in uniform, we were trained to see the enemy as someone other than human… a thing… an enemy… that way, we were told, it would be easier to kill… I also learned long ago from my experience as a Chaplain that this concept was Bull!

From → Peacemaking

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