Friday, December 25, 2009

With those for whom there is no room

Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because He cannot be at home in it, because He is out of place in it, and yet must be in it, His place is with those others for whom there is no room. His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world. He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst.
Thomas Merton
"The Time of the End Is the Time of No Room"
from Raids on the Unspeakable

The paragraph continues: For them, there is no escape even in imagination. They cannot identify with the power structure of a crowded humanity which seeks to project itself outward, anywhere, in a centrifugal flight into the void, to get out there where there is no God, no man, no name, no identity, no weight, no self, nothing but the bright, self-directed, perfectly obedient and infinitely expensive machine. This is part of a much longer Christmas essay of Merton's on eschatology, fear, and joy.

Thanks to Charlie Hawes, who began a Christmas sermon with this passage a few years ago and fixed it in my mind.

Photographs by Mev Puleo (1963-1996). These and other photographs by Mev visible here are available for purchase. Please contact Mark Chmiel at for further information.