Thomas Merton describes his birth in his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain.
"On the last day of January 1915... I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, on the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of hell, full of men like myself, loving God and yet hating Him; born to love Him, living instead in fear and hopeless self-contradictory hungers." (A Thomas Merton Reader, 27)
We're all born into a world of violence and selfishness. Every child born as I now type enters a world where there is Isis, Gaza, ebola, Ferguson, and the many headlines reporting the same. Our world is a mixture of evil and good, with evil at times seeming to have the upper hand.
This is the world that will shape today's newborns into its mold. The antidote to this is the promise of a spiritual metamorphosis, enabled by the Spirit of God. This is the transformation Romans 12:1-2 sets before me.
Pray for violence to be morphed into love, and for selfishness to be morphed into sacrifice.