Only One Pure Desire: The Essence of Hope

“Without a life of the spirit, our whole existence becomes unsubstantial and illusory.  The life of the spirit by integrating us in the real order established by God, puts us in the fullest contact with reality–not as we imagine it, but as it really is…

All desires but one can fail.  The only desire that is infallibly fulfilled is the desire to be loved by God.  We cannot desire this efficaciously without at the same time desiring to love Him, and the desire to love Him is a desire that cannot fail.  Merely by desiring to love Him, we are beginning to do that which we desire.  Freedom is perfect when no other love can impede our desire to love God.

But if we love God for something less than Himself, we cherish a desire that can fail us.  We run the risk of hating Him if we do not get what we hope for.

It is lawful to love all things and to seek them, once they become means to the love of God.  There is nothing we cannot ask of Him if we desire it in order that He may be more loved by ourselves or by other men.

It would be a sin to place any limit upon our hope in God.  We must love Him without measure.  All sin is rooted in the failure of love.  All sin is a withdrawal of love from God, in order to love something else.  Sin sets boundries to our hope, and locks our love in prison…”

-Thomas Merton from No Man is an Island


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