…it is the will to pray that is the essence of prayer, and the desire to find God, to see Him and to love Him is the one thing that matters. If you have desired to know Him and love Him, you have already done what was expected of you, and it is much better to desire God without being able to think clearly of Him, than to have marvelous thoughts about Him without desiring to enter into union with His will.
— Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
I wish that with a stroke of my “pen” (keyboard), I could cut out of people’s lives all the gangrene that they have accumulated by going to church all of their lives. As a pastor I am certainly not against going to church, but the longer I do this job, the more convinced I am that the church probably stands as frequently as a barrier between people and God as it stands as a beacon, pointing the way to life.
Religion, with all its insistence that it knows the way, often does not know anything at all. Knowledge itself is not inherently good or evil. Knowledge can be used to light the paths of those who stumble, or to bludgeon those who disagree with us, and is used far more often for the second than for the first.
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