For Thomas Merton love was the path of Christ and the way to discover the unity of all humankind.

(nb: writing in the fifties, Merton had no awareness of inclusive language, and consequently used exclusively male language to refer to all people. Had Merton been writing today, he would have been more gender sensitive in his use of language.)

Disputed Questions. NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic, Publishers, 1953.

As we grow in love and in unity with those who are loved by Christ (that is to say, all men), we become more and more capable of apprehending and obscurely grasping something of the tremendous reality of Christ in the world, Christ in ourselves, and Christ in our fellow man. 123

I must learn that my fellow man, just as he is, whether he is my friend or my enemy, my brother or a stranger from the other side of the world, whether he be wise or foolish, no matter what may be his limitations, ‘is Christ.’ No qualification is needed about whether or not he may be in the state of grace… any man whatever, is to be regarded as Christ. 124

Since Christ Himself loved us when we were by no means worthy of love and still loves us with all our unworthiness, our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love; and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbor worthy if anything can.

Indeed, that is one of the most significant things about the power of love. There is no way under the sun to make a man worthy of love except by loving him. As soon as he realizes himself loved – if he is not so weak that he can no longer bear to be loved – he will feel himself instantly becoming worthy of love. He will respond by drawing a mysterious spiritual value out of his own depths, a new identity called into being by the love that is addressed to him. 125