Thomas Merton on salvation

from No Man Is an Island

this matter of ‘salvation’ is, when seen intuitively, a very simple thing. but when we analyze it, it turns into a complex tangle of paradoxes. we become ourselves by dying to ourselves. we gain only what we give up, and if we give up everything we gain everything. we cannot find ourselves within ourselves, but only in others, yet at the same time before we can go out to others we must first find ourselves. we must forget ourselves in order to become truly conscious of who we are. the best way to love ourselves is to love others, yet we cannot love others unless we love ourselves since it is written, ‘thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ … the only effective answer to the problem of salvation must therefore reach out to embrace both extremes of a contradiction at the same time.  hence that answer must be supernatural.