For me to be a saint means to be myself

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.
For in being what God means it to be it is obeying God.
It "consents," so to speak, to God's creative love.
It is expressing an idea which is in God
and which is not distinct from the essence of God,
and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.

The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like God.
If it tried to be like something else which it was never intended to be,
it would be less like God and therefore it would give God less glory.

For me to be a saint means to be myself.
Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact
the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.

Trees and animals have no problem.
God makes them what they are without consulting them,
and they are perfectly satisfied.

With us it is different.
God leaves us free to be whatever we like.
We can be ourselves or not, as we please.

- Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation

Yes, "with us it is different..."
You'd think it would be fairly easy for us to come to know our selves
and to be the persons God made us to be:
all of us alike, made in God's image;
and each of us unique, a never-to-be repeated "original,"
handmade by God.

The problem is that we often want to be someone else.
We're not satisfied with God's handiwork.
We want to be like him, or her, or them...
We want their gifts and talents - not our own.
Or we're convinced that we weren't in line
when gifts and talents were being handed out!
We'd like to go to God's "Returns" window
and trade ourselves in for another model.
But God is quite pleased with how each of us is made
and sees in our diversity a multiplicity of gifts
as brilliant as each fine ray of light filtered through a crystal.
And with every color and every shade of every color,
with brighter hues and muted, God is very pleased with us
and asks only that we be
and become the persons were were created to be...
Discovering the person I am is a work always in progress.
There is always something more, something new about myself
to learn and appreciate.
There is always work to be done:
smoothing my rough edges,
polishing my blemishes,
healing my wounds,
mending my broken parts.
And God is ever with me:
giving me the vision to see in my self
what God never fails to see;
teaching me to love and accept in myself
the person God made me to be;
discovering in my self the beauty
that bears the finger prints of God's creative touch.

Yes, "with us it is different..."
but God knows that and walks with us in perfect patience,
waiting for each of us to find unfolding within
the person we were made to be...

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  1. I really wanted to comment because these words hit me so directly...
    I guess maybe "too directly" because it moved something in me so much that I don't know what to say- my tears show me how much something affects me, or moves me...

  2. A simply beautiful post, CP!


  3. This is beautifully consistent with my whole world view, which also incorporates many elements of Buddhist philosophy. Thank you for posting!

  4. Thank you very much for this.

  5. Your words show me the hope in realizing my earthly imperfection can be made perfect if I walk with God.

  6. I came across this Mary Oliver poem today - and realized how much this post has stayed with me...




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