[Image from Heidi’s Bridge]
By: Gabriela Yareliz
People often talk about unity. We talk about power in numbers. We discuss causes for which we should “band together.” Yet, when you see how people live and lead their individual lives, they don’t strive for unity, even on the individual relational level. I don’t mean this in the sense that we outright reject people bluntly, but I think part of a side effect stemming from our society’s narcissism is division. The more obsessed people become with themselves and striving to outdo one another, the farther we become from each other.
What does it mean to strive for unity as individuals, so we as a body of children of God can come together with true unity. According to Thomas Merton, it’s worth exploring what unity is not. He explains:
“People who know nothing of God and whose lives are centered on themselves, imagine that they can only find themselves by asserting their own desires and ambitions and appetites in a struggle with the rest of the world.
They try to become real by imposing themselves on other people, by appropriating for themselves some share of the limited supply of created goods and thus emphasizing the difference between themselves and the other men who have less than they, or nothing at all.
They can only conceive one way of becoming real: cutting themselves off from other people and building a barrier of contrast and distinction between themselves and other men. They do not know that reality is to be sought not in division, but in unity, for we are ‘members one of another.'” (47-48) New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton
[Image from The Every Girl]
“The man who lives in division is living in death. He cannot find himself because he is lost; he has ceased to be a reality. The person he believes himself to be is a bad dream. And when he dies he will discover that he long ago ceased to exist because God, Who is infinite reality and in whose sight is the being of everything that is, will say to him: ‘I know you not.'” (48) New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton
I found this thought so fascinating. To live in division is to invite death into your life. This isn’t about having or not having (as far as material goods are concerned) but about where your heart and identity are rooted. The key is to live a life where God does not say “I know you not,” but to live a life where God knows our hearts. And even in our imperfection, when we seek Him, He calls us friend. He calls us son and daughter.
Let us seek unity in our individual existence (with colleagues, family, friends and spouses), and I truly believe that from there we will see it on a larger scale. Let us make sure that we are known by God. Let’s be extra, not in the way we distinguish ourselves, but in the way we love.