The source of life

Daily Reading for May 14

The union of the Christian with Christ is not just a similarity of inclination and feeling, a mutual consent of minds and wills. It has a more radical, more mysterious and supernatural quality: it is a mystical union in which Christ Himself becomes the source and principle of divine life in me. Christ Himself, to use a metaphor based on Scripture, “breathes” in me divinely in giving me His Spirit. The ever renewed mission of the Spirit to the soul that is in the grace of Christ is to be understood by the analogy of the natural breath that keeps renewing, from moment to moment, our bodily life. The mystery of the Spirit is the mystery of selfless love. We receive Him in the “inspiration” of secret love, and we give Him to others in the outgoing of our own charity. Our life in Christ is then a life both of receiving and of giving. We receive from God, in the Spirit, and in the same Spirit we return our love to God through our brothers [and sisters].

From New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton (New York: New Directions Books, 1961).