This quote comes from the Merton Institute’s weekly mail that I receive on Mondays. As you can see I’m a Merton fan and the Merton Institute keeps me thinking.
Though there is no use in placing our hopes on a totally utopian new world in which everyone is sublimely merciful, we are obliged as Christians to seek some way of giving the mercy and compassion of Christ a social, even a political, dimension. The eschatological function of mercy, we repeat, is to prepare the Christian transformation of the world, and to usher in the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom is manifestly “not of this world” (all forms of millennial and messianic Christianity to the contrary), but it demands to be typified and prepared by such forms of heroic social witness that makes Christian mercy plain and evident in the world….
Christian mercy must discover, in faith, in the Spirit, a power strong enough to initiate the transformation of the world into a realm of understanding, unity and relative peace, where [humankind], nations and societies are willing to make the enormous sacrifices required if they are to communicate intelligibly with one another, understand one another, cooperate with one another in feeding the hungry millions and in building a world of peace.
Thomas Merton. Love and Living. Naomi Burton Stone and Brother Patrick Hart, editors. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1979): 219.