Thomas Merton provides some food for thought as Lent 2010 comes to a close:
We prescribe for one another remedies that will bring us peace of mind, and we are still devoured by anxiety.
We evolve plans for disarmament and for the peace of nations, and our plans only change the manner and method of aggression.
The rich have everything they want except happiness, and the poor are sacrificed to the unhappiness of the rich.
Dictatorships use their secret police to crush millions of men under an intolerable burden of lies, injustice and tyranny, and those who live in democracies have forgotten how to make good use of their liberty.
For liberty is a thing of the spirit, and we are not longer able to live for anything but our bodies.
How can we find peace, true peace, if we forget that we are not machines for making money and spending money, but spiritual beings, sons and daughters of the Most High God?
Yet there is peace in the world. Where is it to be found? In the hearts and minds of men and women who are wise because they are humble – humble enough to be at peace in the midst of anguish, to accept conflict and insecurity and overcome it with love, because they realize who they are, and therefore possess the freedom that is their true heritage.
These are the children of God. We all know them. We do not have to go to monasteries to find them. They are everywhere.
They may not spend their time talking about peace, or about God, or about Christ our Lord, but they know peace and they know God, and they have found Christ in the midst of battle. They have surrendered their minds and their wills to the call of Christ, and in Him they have found reality ...
– from "The Monastic Journey" as quoted on pages 41 and 42 of "Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton" (Ave Maria Press)
(Note: I added most of the paragraph breaks in the text.)