Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Self-Emptied Person Is a Revolutionary

Facing danger
Thomas Merton wrote:

"I know I am in danger, but how can I be afraid of danger? If I remember that I am nothing, I will know the danger can take nothing from me... Yes, I am afraid, because I forget that I am nothing. If I remembered that I have nothing called my own that will not be lost anyway, that only what is not mine but God's will ever live, I would not fear so many false fears." (Merton, quoted in Henri Nouwen, Encounters With Merton, p. 60)

Followers of Jesus, consider this:

1. I brought nothing into this world.
2. I will take nothing from this world with me into eternity.
3. So, why fear things being taken from me since things are not mine, anyway. Not really, correct?

OK. But am I "nothing?" In terms of ownership, yes. I am not my own, but Christ's. Since I am Christ's I will go where Christ goes. What can anyone take away from me, since I belong to Christ?

The person who understands this is dangerous. They will give their life for the sake of redeeming others. Henri Nouwen writes:

"The self-emptied person is a revolutionary in the real sense because he claims nothing - not even his life - as his possession, and therefore he can take away the false basis of war and violence by refusing every compromise with possessions." (Ib.)

I'm thinking of a friend who was facing a dangerous surgery. When I met with him he told me, "I might die during the procedure." Then he said, "But what can that do to me? For my life is in Christ, and then I shall be with him forever." At that point I thought, my friend is not only a revolutionary, he is also a free man. What can death take away from him? Nothing.