I know I have sung the praises of the book ‘Celebrating the Seasons’ before and make no apologies for doing so again as it continues to throw up delights even when reading it for a third year. For those of you who might have missed previous posts on it, ‘Celebrating the Seasons’ is a compilation of Christian writings from a variety of sources, most days there is one reading, occasionally more are offered. There is also a companion book ‘Celebrating the Saints’ which personally I tend to dip into rather than read every day.
Reading Thomas Merton’s words this morning was powerful. The words are gentle, like a feather caught in the lightest of breezes I was softly blown away. How did I miss this gem the last two years? Maybe I didn’t, maybe this year I was more like soft wax when reading it and it left its impression. Regardless here it is taken from his book ‘New Seeds of Contemplation’.
Souls are like wax waiting for a seal. By themselves they have no special identity. Their destiny is to be softened and prepared in this life, by God’s will, to receive, at their death, the seal of their own degree of likeness to God in Christ. And this is what it means, among other things, to be judged by Christ. The wax that has melted in God’s will can easily receive the stamp of its identity, the truth of what it was meant to be. But the wax that is hard and dry and brittle and without love will not take the seal: for the hard seal, descending upon it, grinds it to powder. Therefore if you spend your life trying to escape from the heat of the fire that is meant to soften and prepare you to become your true self, and if you try to keep your substance from melting in the fire – as if your true identity were to be hard wax – the seal will fall upon you at last and crush you. You will not be able to take your own true name and countenance, and you will be destroyed by the event that was meant to be your fulfilment.