Making the Invisible Visible
by James Finley
THOUGH LOVE FOR GOD in contemplation calls for an essential interiority and inner silence, this inner silence and communion with God are not opposed to our love for others but become its very source.
The stirring of leaves in the wind makes the wind visible. Their stirring is the wind's stirring, their whisper is the wind's whisper. And so with love. Our actions of love make the invisible visible. Our actions of love make love present to ourselves and others. And as we go out of ourselves in love, and become, as it were, lost in those we love, we discover a self greater than our isolated ego. We discover the birth of that self born of the death of self-centeredness.
This love proceeds from and is grounded in the love of Christ, who, in prayer, reveals to us that his love forms our deepest identity. It is this love proceeding from Christ who is, according to Thomas Merton, "our deepest and most intimate 'self'," that forms the foundation both of interior prayer and of our love for others.
Both true prayer and love for others are selfless, in that they lead us toward and emerge from a simultaneous death to self and discovery of a new self born of God. Both prayer and service to others reveal to us the tremendous truth that to be a person is to be a gift, and to give that gift is to receive the gift of being a person.
Taken from Merton's Palace of Nowhere by James Finley (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1978).