It was Parker Palmer's wonderful little article on paradox, entitled "Living in the Belly of a Paradox" that helped me years ago to understand the apparent contradictions I struggle with in the toughts and writings of Merton. It is worthwhile reading: http://www.pendlehill.org/resources/files/pdf%20files/php224b.pdf
Paradox remain central to our quest to recover authentic Christian Leadership. Palmer writes: "The way of the cross reminds us that despair and disillusionment are not dead-ends but signs of impending resurrection. Losing our illusions is painful because illusions are the stuff we live by. But God is the great iconoclast, constantly smashing these idols on which we depend. Beyond illusion lies a fuller truth which can be glimpsed only as our falsehoods die. Only as we have the faith to live fully in the midst of these painful contradictions will we experience resurrection and the transformation of our lives."