The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedRafael Squirru
Title QuotedChallenge of the New Man: A Cultural Approach to the Latin American Scene
Date (Year/Month/Day)1964/07/12
ImprintWashington DC : Pan American Union. 1964
QuotationIt is a long time since I have written and I do not remember whether I answered yours of May 16th. Perhaps not. I have been reading wonderful things of yours "¦ I liked Rafael Squirru's little book on the New Man [The Challenge of the New Man]. Have you seen it? It is very right. The usual thing we have all been thinking, but which is not yet known or understood enough. The need for admitting to hearing the voice of the new man who is rooted in the American earth (not just in the American machinery), especially the earth of South America. It is first of all important to listen to the silence of the Indian and to admit to hearing all that has not been said for five hundred years. The salvation of our lives depends on it. The things you wrote about the San Blas Indians were marvelous. There is no doubt that you have a providential task in this work of understanding and love, a profound work of spiritual reconciliation, of atonement. It is wonderful to realize the full dimension of our priestly calling in the hemisphere. Not the ridiculous and confused activities based on meaningless presuppositions, but the activity of true atonement, a redemptive and healing work, that begins with hearing. We begin already to heal those to whom we listen. The confusion, hatred, violence, misinformation, blindness of whole populations come from having no one to hear them. Hence they speak with knives, as the Negroes are now doing, for all that has been heard about them is still not them.
Quotation SourceThe Courage for Truth: Letters of Thomas Merton to Writers.; Selected and edited by Christine M. Bochen. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1993, p. 146
Letter toErnesto Cardenal
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