“If the YOU of five years ago doesn’t consider the YOU of today a heretic, YOU are not growing spiritually.” — Thomas Merton
Of late I have been doing a good bit of musing regarding my spiritual journey, how it has taken twists and turns throughout life, and how currently I am in a place spiritually that is quite far removed from where I started. I grew up with, nurtured, and adhered to my Southern Baptist beliefs through adolescence and young adulthood. However, when I hit my mid-forties, a shift began in my journey, and the road became much broader than the dogma and doctrine of Southern Baptist beliefs. Oh,my! This was not your “Midlife Crisis” for that had occurred several years earlier with divorce, new career direction, a physical move — the whole ball of wax!
A few weeks ago as I lay awake — I sometimes call these my Midnight Musings — I could not let go of the words pilgrim, seeker, heretic. My musings for some time have been flirting with the idea that some, if not many, of my current spiritual beliefs might possibly be considered heretical if viewed from Southern Baptist standards. Am I a HERETIC? God only knows! I know that I am, and will always be a PILGRIM following Christ on this spiritual path. I am a SEEKER — seeking God, seeking truth, seeking grace, seeking compassion and love for all, seeking unity, seeking peace. I would want to say seeking to know God, yet, how can we know “The Cloud of Unknowing” as written by the fourteenth century mystic. Then I muse “Are we all not at times heretics in our claims to know God, to understand the heart of God, to proclaim the Word of God? I wonder about that. Thus, I am and remain a pilgrim, seeker, heretic.”
Along with these musings came the “inner urgings” to write. Now I have done a good bit of writing and journaling in my time. I suppose that would be inevitable given my background as an English and literature teacher — first career. However, the urgings were/are to write about the spiritual journey. Almost, at the same time as I was having these musings and urgings I ran across this quote by Thomas Merton:
“If the YOU of five years ago doesn’t consider the YOU of today a heretic, YOU are not growing spiritually.” (Paraphrased — if anyone out there can help me with the source text for this I would be most appreciative. I am thinking Seven Story Mountain, but not quite ready to reread the whole book.)
Wow! Must be a God thing! I like to view the quote as an affirmation of my pilgrim, seeker, heretic musing! Plus, Thomas Merton is one of my favorite spiritual writers.
So, here I go! This blog will be a collection of writings both current and historical, both prose and poetry. Some entries will be biographical. Some will be just a thought. Some will certainly be the midnight musings. Some may be old journal entries. Heck! Who knows what it will BE until it IS. Let’s enjoy the journey!
Have you had any luck with the attribution? I have looked for this for a while.
Not really, Guy. And, honestly, I have not spent much more time researching it. Hopefully, it will “turn up” at some point in time. Let me know if you have any luck!
I will admit I am starting to wonder if it is something someone else put his name on a couple of years ago. I have found a fair number of references, all from the last few years. Admittedly, I have read very little of Merton myself and my searching has been far from methodical. I started the Seven Story Mountain last fall, but some things came up, and I haven’t picked it up again.