Mighty Oaks and Tiny Acorns
Thomas Merton: I must – in my writing, my prayer, my life – take this further step and go beyond my limitations and the limitations of thought, art and religion of our time. And this requires effort and suffering. I simply cannot sit down and accept my limitations – that is impossible. But I must take care most of all not to be content with merely fanciful transcendence – going beyond my limitations in thought and imagination only. It must be a real transcendence. October 31, 1958, Journal III.227-28
II Corinthians 12:7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Kelli: Our human weakness is that we become enchanted and enthralled with our own creative fruit, as if we could produce it all by ourselves. Our creativity, our thoughts and imagination, blossom within a larger framework. Just as “might oaks from tiny acorns grow”, the beauty is not in the acorn expressing itself in a tree but in the Creator that first imagined and created both the seed, the full-grown plant and the process of growth and fruitfulness. The acorn can’t take credit for the tree any more than we can take credit for the cosmos and the way it expressed the Holy Love and creativity of its Creator.