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October 24, 2012


tom arnall

In am curious about these words: "God approaches our minds by receding from them. We can never fully know Him if we think of Him as an object of capture, to be fenced in by the enclosure of our own ideas."

It seems to me that they imply that we _can_ get to fully know God once we quit thinking "of Him as an object of capture." I do not believe that any human being can fully know God in this life. Further, I am not at all sure that it is possible in the next. I would very much like to know your thoughts on this.

Merton BTW is one of my heroes, and I often read his books and listen to the lectures he gave at Gethsemani. Despite my respect for him, I am sometimes critical of his statements. I think he would have appreciated this.

Jim Gordon

Thanks Tom, for your comment and your thoughts. I confess I don't read Merton's words as implying God 'can' be captured. And I suspect he would quickly correct such an interpretation. Throughout his writings he is careful to avoid language which seems to control, capture, comprehend or reduce God to human cognitive capacity. Hence his long insistence on contemplative prayer, deep personal encounter with God, and a humble acceptance that we kneel before mystery.

I fully understand your caution about all such efforts or claims to "fully know God." We stand under Niagara holding a bucket - or even a thimble!

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