I am grateful to read about Thomas Merton’s emphasis on writing and the spiritual benefits he received from it.
Based on his legacy and the number of published works that are credited to him he must have written a lot. Merton shares with us his love of writing when he exemplifies, “For to write is to love, it is to inquire and to praise, or to confess, or to appeal” (p. 17 of Bridges to Contemplative Living). In a way I relate to Merton. Writing is enjoyable, and it is a chance to inquire of God, praise Him and others, and appeal to God by sharing my heart. Writing helps to think inwardly and examine myself and my motives.
Because writing helps to examine myself and my own spiritual life it keeps me from thinking about the faults of others and judging them. In The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis emphasizes to us the need for “Avoiding Hasty Judgments” when he writes, “Keep your eyes on yourself and avoid judging the actions of others. In judging others we accomplish nothing, are often in error, and readily fall into sin; but we always gain by self-examination and self-criticism” (p. 18). That is convicting for me because (like all people) I have a tendency to judge others when they are not living up to the standard I set for myself.
However, I think I can avoid that by following Kempis’ suggestion that self-examination is good, and I can always self examine myself through writing.
Question: Do you benefit from writing our journaling?