The Christ of our Imaginations…
I found these words by Thomas Merton to challenge my understanding, and to create in me a hope that Christians worldwide would seek unity in the Whole Body of Christ (the Church). We are not a Body divided by national borders. Unity transcends geography. Let our faith in Christ be not shaped by our individual selves, denominations, or our particular national ideologies. Rather, let our faith in Christ be shaped by the Word within the global Body of Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Here is the excerpt from Merton’s “New Seeds of Contemplation” that prompted this statement:
“Every one of us forms an idea of Christ that is limited and incomplete. It is cut according to our own measure. We tend to create for ourselves a Christ in our own image, a projection of our own aspirations, desires and ideals. We find in Him what we want to find. We make Him not only the incarnation of God but also the incarnation of the things we and our society and our part of society happen to live for.
Therefore, although it is true that perfection consists in imitating Christ and reproducing Him in our own lives, it is not enough to merely imitate the Christ we have in our imaginations….
…For if we depend on our own ideas, our own judgment and our own efforts to reproduce the life of Christ, we will only act out some kind of pious charade which will ultimately scare everybody we meet because it will be so stiff and artificial and so dead…
…It is the Spirit of God that must teach us Who Christ is and form Christ in us and transform us into other Christs. After all, transformation into Christ is not just an individual affair: there is only one Christ, not many. He is not divided. And for me to become Christ is to enter the Life of the Whole Christ, the Mystical Body made up of the Head and the members, Christ and all who are incorporated in Him by His Spirit.”