A hermit lived in a simple dwelling outside city limits. He was revered as a holy ascetic; many people were seeking his advice. Even the head of government became aware of him. She wanted to get to know this man. One day, she appeared in front of the cabin and asked him, whether he wanted to move up to her stately house.
“If you think so”, replied the hermit, “I will follow you anywhere.”
The head of government was surprised, but did not loose her composure. She did not anticipate that the hermit would accept her offer. Would a true ascetic not have to refuse such an offer? The head of government had some doubt. But, because she made the offer, she took the man to her stately house where she arranged for a beautiful and comfortable room and a delicious meal.
“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 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 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 everywhere.”
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, 1968
.For more of my own writing related to the above quote, please follow the links below:
For the third time in my life, I have become co-owner of a bank. This seems like a contradiction for a person who embraces voluntary poverty, strives for a simple life, aspires to the ideal of non-possession. Well, I call it a necessity on the way.
The meaning this step has for me is the reason why I feel led to share this unspectacular event in a person’s life with you. I am very critical of the consumerist-capitalist paradigm and dominant economic system. I am deeply suspicious about the integrity of the banking system. These banking institutions embody much of what I see is missing the mark in the global discourse of affluence.