I am reading Ilia Delio's (O.S.F.) new book on Clare of Assisi, entitled " A Heart Full of Love" (2007). I am deeeply taken by Delio's deep insights and critical engagment with Clare's theology of finding our deepest identity in Christ. My morning reading of Merton reflected a similar thought. We serve God best when we accept who He has created us to be:
"Brilliant and gorgeous day, bright sun, breeze making all the leaves and high brown grasses shine. Singing of the wind in the cedars. Exultant day in which even a puddle in the pig lot shines like precious silver.
Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself and, if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted. When it has been accepted--it is my own stepping stone to what is above me. Because this is the way man has been made by God. Original sin was the effort to surpass oneself by being "like God"--i.e. unlike oneself. But our God-likeness begins at home. We must first become like ourselves and stop living "beside ourselves."
May we be brave enought to accept our truest identity in Him.
Thomas Merton. A Search for Solitude. Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996): 220-221