Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin

My experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits


Are Souls Like Athletes, That Must Be Pushed to Their Full Capacity to Develop?

April 19th, 2015

Episode 40 of 376 episodes

“Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.” –Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain What do you think — do you agree or disagree with Merton? I’ve read a lot of Merton’s work, I have such a complex reaction to it — and his character. Let’s just say that Merton was a…complicated person. (I plan to write a “portrait of a Rebel” analysis of him, stay tuned for that). I just re-read Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, and was reminded that it was his book that prompted me to read Story of a Soul, the memoir of my spiritual master, SaintThérèse of Lisieux. I’ve always wondered about the meaning of the title, “The Seven Storey Mountain” and just looked it up. I figured it was something from Dante — and yes! In The Divine Comedy, the seven storey mountain is the mountain of Purgatory that must be climbed to reach Paradise.

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