Thomas Merton on The Will of God

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

From Thomas Merton’s No Man Is An Island, On the Will of God (cont)
• A right intention (which we should have as we follow the signs of God’s will) is a transient intention. It is proper to the active life which is always moving on to something else. We pause from one particular to another, reaching ahead into many plans – the works done and planned are all for the glory of God. They all stand ahead of us as milestones along a road with an invisible end. And God is always at the end.
• Right intention is more common than a really simple intention. It reaches out for merits, sacrifices, degrees of virture, etc. We need a simple intention – the aim of the contemplative life – no merely to enable a person to say prayers and make sacrifices with right intention: it is to teach us to live in God. A simple intention is perpetual death in Christ – keeping our life hidden in Christ. It seeks treasure nowhere but in heaven. It prefers what cannot be seen, touched, weighed, tasted, or seen.
• A right intention only aims in the right direction. But even in the midst of action, a simple intention renounces all things but God alone, seeks Him alone. The secret of simple intention is that it is content to seek God and does not insist on finding God right away, knowing that in seeking God we have already found God.
• Whatever is offered to God with a right intention is acceptable to Him. Whatever is offered to God with a simple intention is not only accepted by Him by reason of our good will, but is pleasing to God in itself.
• Our intention cannont be completely simple unless it is completely poor. It seeks and desires nothing unless it is completely poor. It seeks and desires nothing but the supreme poverty of having nothing but God. True, anyone with a grain of faith realizes that to have God and nothing else besides is to have everything in Him. But between the thought of poverty and its actualization in our lives lies the desert of emptiness through which we must travel in order to find Him.

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