On Becoming a Human Being

merton-jean-jacketCatholic monk, writer, mystic, and activist Thomas Merton plays with the concept that we become a “member of the human race” over the course of a life time. A concept that has great resonance for me.

It reminds me of John’s gospel (1:12-13): We are given authority to become children of God. (See Wes Howard-Brook’s great treatise on John titled Becoming Children of God: John’s Gospel and Radical Discipleship).

Merton writes:

Coming to the monastery has been, for me, exactly the right kind of withdrawal. It has given me perspective. It has taught me how to live. And now I owe everyone else in the world a share of that life. My first duty is to start, for the first time, to live as a member of the human race which is no more (and no less) ridiculous that I am myself. And my first human act is the recognition of how much I owe everybody else.–Thomas Merton

From Entering the Silence ( Journals, Volume 2) edited by Jonathan Montaldo (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997, p. 451).