Thomas Merton on working with God to create our destiny

I have been reading some Thomas Merton over the weekend and was really challenged and inspired by his insight into developing our identity in Christ. Nothing more to say really- just need to live the journey.

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our life, our own identity, our own destiny. We are free beings and sons of God. This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in His creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth. To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity. We can evade this responsibility by playing with masks, and this pleases us because it can appear at times to be a free and creative way of living. It is quite easy, it seems to please everyone.

But in the long run the cost and the sorrow come very high. To work out our own identity in God which the Bible calls ‘working out our salvation,’ is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears. It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as He reveals Himself, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation. We do not know clearly beforehand what the results of this work will be. The secret of my full identity is hidden in Him. He alone can make me who I am, or rather who I will be when at last I fully begin to be.

But unless I desire this identity and work to find it with Him and in Him, the work will never be done. The way of doing it is a secret I can learn from no one else but Him. There is no way of attaining to the secret without faith. But contemplation is the greater and more precious gift, for it enables me to see and understand the work that He wants done.

– Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation