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Q: Describe how you link spirituality to God–why is God so crucial to your life?

A: The most delicious piece of knowledge for me is that [pauses] I am a child of God. That is so mind-boggling, that this "it" created everything, and I am a child of "it." It means I am connected to every thing and every body.

That's all delicious and wonderful–until I'm forced to realize that the bigot, the brute, the batterer is also a child of "it" [laughs]. Now, he may not know it, but I'm obliged to know that he is. I have to. That is my contract.

What fascinates me is the varying ways we approach God. And shape God and paint God, make a statue of God. It amazes me. Once I went to Texas to a conference called "Facing Evil." At one point, some fellow from Texas got up and said, "I really have seen evil, I have felt its force. I went to Germany and I went into the concentration camps."

I stood and said, "Do you mean to tell me that we've come from all over the world and we're going to talk nonsense? You had to go to Germany, you here in Texas who refused Mexican-Americans a chance to vote, you who don't want them to even live next to you, you who have your own history of slavery–you had to go to Germany? I don't wanna hear it."

It seems to me that if we accept–if I accept, anyway–the fact of evil, I accept the fact of good. We're all doing what Anne Sexton calls "that awful rowing toward God." That excites me. It gives me incredible delight to be alive, and prepares me with as little fear as possible for death. It remains that I live a very nice life, most of the time.

from a 1995 interview with Maya Angelou, published in Mother Jones

“But to love another as a person we must begin by granting him his own autonomy and identity as a person.  We have to love him for what he is in himself, and not for what he is to us.  We have to love him for his own good, not for the good we get out of him.  And this is impossible unless we are capable of a love which ‘transforms’ us, so to speak, into the other person, making us able to see things as he sees them, love what he loves, experience the deeper realities of his own life as if they were our own.  Without sacrifice, such a transformation is utterly impossible.  But unless we are capable of this kind of transformation ‘into the other’ while remaining ourselves, we are not yet capable of a fully human existence. “


From Disputed Questions by Thomas Merton

(Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, New York, 1960) Page 104.

I’m standing wide-eyed and waiting—

hiding, dauntlessly—behind the mask, I guess:


A woman looking for action,

the only truth considered.  I seek to inspire.

So how was I to know—peeking out—

that the facts were not only the facts,

but the only conclusion present?


Fire in the belly like the truth of the ancients:

Burn, sister, burn.  For all will sometime sing.


first published in Domicile