“We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.”
Purity is something many of us have rallied against because it has been subjected upon us by individuals and groups which claim to have the ultimate authority on what purity is. For many of us, especially those of us in the gender and sexually diverse community, purity is not something we consider working towards but rather rallying against. Purity is something used as a heavy force behind the glove of fundamentalism and conservative thought to justify repressing, removing rights, enforcing the ideals that protect a perspective of privilege.
Purity is an adjective, not a noun. When we understand this, we can move from it being a threat to asking ourselves what is it that we distill by our actions. Is there a feeling in our hearts, a knowledge that rests inside our minds, of what we know to be right and wrong?
When purity is applied to ways of living that cause us consistent distress, or sleeplessness, or questioning who we are, what it is that we do, why it is we do what we do, we are not at peace with ourselves–we are not, as Father Merton says, not at peace with God.