In No Man is an Island, Thomas Merton asserts that, “We make ourselves real by telling the truth”. Where such transcendent truth uncovers the reality of the self, there is something about the “telling” of a narrative that gives life to the psyche in both the body and soul together. When the process of ageing anchors itself in a formative journey of reminiscence and storytelling, it seeks to be grounded in the reality of spirituality, the very desire to become real. Reality then takes on a transcendent perspective in terms of awakening (to the risen Christ’s narrative of truth, love, knowledge, thinking and being cf. 1 Thess 5:6), and all that is good and beautiful. During “[t]he days of our life” (Ps 90:10), the challenge remains to make ourselves real by telling the truth – with all our strength, body, soul and heart – and to proclaim the Christ who blows embers of grace upon our memories, hopes, dreams and stories.


Thomas Merton, ageing, reality, spirituality, truth telling

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