A Little Point of Nothingness

Following on the heels of yesterday’s post regarding Thomas Merton’s  Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander I wanted to share this gem…

 “At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely … I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is every- where.” 

That is beautiful. At the very center of our being is God’s name written in us. It is pure, it is unhindered by our insecurities and unstained by our own actions. It is, I believe, the center of what Henri Nouwen calls our belovedness. That very center of who we are is where God’s name is written as our poverty, our indigence, our dependence, our sonship. I love that! I really love that.

I find these words to be reassuring. Reassuring, because I think it is often true that we cannot access that most pure and dazzling part of ourselves. What we access is often governed by our insecurities. When we mine into our sense of self what we often dig up is less that a precious gem. Merton’s words serve as a reassurance and a promise that despite the fact that we can be guilty of succumbing to the words that tear us down or play on our weaknesses – the very essence of who we are is a beloved and pure point of truth. When the world declares that we are not good enough, it would do well to have the above words on a card that we might read and remind ourselves that within us is a spark which belongs entirely to God. We need to be reminded often that within us is the pure glory of God.

This sort of incarnational thinking is also hopeful for this world. Hopeful, because it is true that collectively the light supplanted in all of us can become a Light which dispels the darkness of the world. When we bring together people in an environment where people are honour and dignity is restored – new life and hope and healing is made manifest. When we are at our best together we give life to the pure glory of God. The gate of heaven becomes present everywhere.

Merton is wonderful reading – especially in Lent! I highly recommend this book!


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