>Society & solitude

>”Octavio Paz’s route was his own, not mine, but behind that route a path is traceable, and in that path I recognize an invaluable lesson: society and solitude—how to make these two compatible? His answer was to live life in full, alone and with others. To make oneself present by tracing one’s past and betting on the future.” (Ilan Stavans)

This quote got me thinking in multiple levels. The first level is simply how fitting it is to describe OP’s work – or the trajectory behind the work. Since Paz’s poetry is foundational to my own it makes sense that his emphases be reflected in mine. This quote captures a certain something which matches Paz’s impulse with my own.

More deeply though, I see in this dichotomy a motto for myself: society and solitude, “societas & solitas“. This is my path, the path of the chalicer. Much solitude, of course, in prayer and meditation; also much social interaction – being a “tentmaker”, being married, having an apostleship.

These two terms are the wings of the flying heart of love no doubt. And most importantly they complement each other. Rather like “ora et labore”. The critical thing here is the emphasis on th eunion through the “and”.

I absolutely reject the either-or worldview. Not from lack of discernment or capacity for judgment, but by lookig at the Passion and really allowing Jesus’ gaze of mercy and love upon the very people who were killing him. Allowing that kind of radicalism to drench me.


About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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