by Anna von Reitz
The Great Principles
I was visited — unexpectedly and unannounced — last night, by one of the brothers who attended Thomas Merton. I didn’t recognize him at first and he played me along, until he finally introduced himself. Then, of course, we had an interesting conversation.
He told me that Merton is haunting the little garden where his body is buried, and that many people who visit the gravesite have seen him and had interactions with him in the years since he died. Those who tend the plot also regularly either sense his presence or have interactions with him. This surprised me, and made me wonder — why would Merton, of all people, hang around his own grave after he was set free of his body?
The answer came like a thunderbolt — to be the “second voice” lifted to Heaven to invoke the presence of Jesus, when some poor and lonely soul comes to his grave to mourn and to pray over their own miseries and the miseries of the world.
Of course, Thomas would do that. He’d be there to be that Second Voice, so that nobody who came to his grave to pray, would pray alone.
Did the brothers need to be concerned, my visitor asked?
What were the fruits of these encounters? I returned.
A sense of peace and miraculous answers to prayer, he answered.
Well, then, what is there to be concerned about? Our brother is not resting when so many are in need and the membership of the Church is in such torment and turmoil.
But, but, but…. we are not to communicate with the dead.
Are the dead prohibited from communicating with us?
Lazarus communicated with plenty of people. Jesus communicated with his Disciples for weeks prior to his departure. Innumerable interactions with long-dead saints and the Virgin Mary have been recorded and many, many miracles have been attributed to these encounters.
Why, then, brother, do you concern yourself about Thomas?
He looked at me strangely. I think it hadn’t occurred to him until that moment that Thomas, like Jesus, was still walking about after his physical death, still tending to the heart-sore and the way-worn, still offering prayers.
One of the Great Principles is the Principle of Love. Love is the glue that binds everything together. Everything. Including your body. Love is far more than an emotion with many shades of color. Love is the binding and creative force of the Universe.
Those who truly love us are never far from us. Those who truly love Mankind often continue to minister to us from beyond the grave. It’s not so strange, once you realize that love is literally what binds us together.
My visitor trundled off into the night, leaving as he came, quietly and on foot, padding down my driveway in the fading light, a gentle, slightly-built man, clean-shaven, approaching old age. He was a young Trappist in 1962.
I continued to muse.
Yes, love is the great binding force, but there is a corollary law, and that is just as important to remember: what we don’t love, we lose.
Throughout our lives, we are constantly being prodded to choose. There is always a question posed and hovering over our heads, what do you choose or which do you choose? Red or green? Skinny or fat? Right or wrong? Blond or brunette? Stocks or bonds? Hearts or clubs?
Even when we are old and our choices are solid, we are constantly pressed and prodded by the urgency of choice. Will you choose the True God or Mammon? Will you choose love or hate?
And everything we do not love enough, falls away.
It is assumed that we don’t want it anymore, like leftover birthday cake.
So all the friends we lose track of, fall away. The spouses we neglect, fall away. The great passions of our lives that we don’t answer, fall away. In the end, even life itself, falls away. But love remains.
There is a great and looming question posed by the theft of our amnion estate and the false claims to own our DNA: do we love and respect ourselves enough? Do we love the Source of our lives enough to treasure life, to treasure our earthly estate and our divine origin?
Will we defend that? Claim it? Or will we leave our DNA and the divine mystery of our own incarnation discarded like garbage on the hospital floor?
Have we loved our neighbors enough?
Most of us don’t even know our neighbors anymore.
Have we loved life? Probably not nearly enough.
Have we loved our country?
If not, no questions about why it is in danger of becoming a global criminal empire ruled by men all cut from the pattern of the Robber Barons.
It all comes down to what and who you love, and what we as the whole of Mankind care about.
If we don’t give the Earth enough love, it falls away from us, and becomes sickly and barren. Our pets. Our families. Our friends. Our faith. All will fall away from us, without love.
So those who would deprive us of everything to satiate their greed, those who would literally steal the breath from our nostrils, seek to keep us embroiled in fear and in hate, to keep our attention centered away from every loving thought, word, and deed.
They seek to keep us centered on their abuses and nonsense, when — if we would merely love more and fear less — all their apparatus would vanish.
Because what we love is bound to us, and what we do not love, falls away.
As you confront the Great Evil that has been built up like a towering prison edifice around us, as you quail before the might of the misdirected military, as you despair in the face of injustice– turn away.
Turn your attention to those you love, to all the people and all the things you love.
There are those in this country who don’t love America. They do not think of it as their country, their soil, their rocks and trees. To them, it is a hateful idea, a label, a political brand name, something they are ashamed of, and which they despise.
They don’t have sense enough to know what their country is, much less sense enough to love it.
And what we don’t love, falls away. That’s why the rest of us have to love it more than ever.
Here’s my favorite quote from Thomas Merton:
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”
I hope that on the balance, when you stop long enough to consider what I have actually written and what I have done, you will all realize that every word and every action, even my outrage and occasional name-calling, comes from love — love for this country and its people, love for this planet and the glory of creation, love for the True God, our Creator, love for the teachings of the Jesus and the Prophets, love for all Mankind.
Being a Fiduciary is not a labor that anyone would choose, and even my Lord did not command me to do it. It simply needed to be done, and I was prepared. So here I am, as strange as the whole circumstance may be— in my view, or in anyone else’s. Love binds me to the work and binds me to the Earth and to the service of Mankind, and no doubt someday my pleasant ghost will kneel and add a Second Voice to other’s lonely prayers.