Discerning God’s Will

thom4I find this quote from Catholic religious thinker Thomas Merton very challenging. It requires that I reframe my interactions with others through the lens of what the other needs to be “effective” as a human being. It forces me to ask, in each interaction, how can we become “more human” together?

If you want to know what is meant by “God’s will”, this is one way to get a good idea of it. “God’s will” is certainly found in anything that is required of us in order that we may be united with one another in love. … Everything that is demanded of me, in order that I may treat every other person effectively as a human being, “is willed for me by God under the natural law.” … I must learn to share with others their joys, their sufferings, their ideas, their needs, their desires. I must learn to do this not only in the cases of those who are of the same class, the same profession, the same race, the same nation as myself, but when those who suffer belong to other groups, even to groups that are regarded as hostile. If I do this, I obey God. If I refuse to do it, I disobey God. It is not therefore a matter left open to subjective caprice.–Thomas Merton

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton (New Directions Press, 1961, p. 76-77)

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