More from Merton:
“A tree gives glory to God first of all by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be, it is imitating an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.” (p18)
But a tree cannot be other than its Self — what God made it to be. It has nothing to get in the way of simply being as God made it. I don’t have it that easy.
By Original Sin I have been born with a false self apart from the God-given Selfhood he has bestowed on me. The false self constantly commandeers my ship and brings it off course, hijacking it to destinations it mistakenly believes will fulfill its illusionary desires.
So I cannot be satisfied to simply “be myself”, a phrase which seems to be the Self-Help Mantra of our Pop Psychology Age. I need to “Be my Self.” My true Self, which I can only really know by knowing God. I do not need “self-esteem”. I need to have Esteem for my true Self.
And I can only find it by seeking to know God because:
“Within myself is a metaphorical apex of existence at which I am held in being by my Creator. God utters me like a word containing a partial thought of Himself.” (p. 25)
I am not God, but I am an expression of a part of him. To know him, to be with him, is to know my Self. And thus find my Home.
And until I have more discipline in prayer, I will tend to wander. Always needing to be steered back.
Seems simpler sometimes to be a tree.