In the sixties we were concerned with social change; we learned change comes slowly at best, and it doesn't come at all without a spiritual grounding. The real protesters, the ones who are still protesting, receive their strength and inspiration not from social theorists but from the mystics. Jim Forrest, head of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, came to see me last night. What did he talk about? He talked about Thomas Merton; he talked about prayer. We prayed more than we talked. Prayer gives him strength to continue to fight for a better world.
There is a Jewish story about a little boy who went to a prophet and said, "Prophet, don't you see? You have been prophesying now for fifteen years, and things are still the same. Why do you keep on?"
And the Prophet said, "Don't you know, little boy, I'm not prophesying to change the world, but to prevent the world from changing me?"
We must say no to war, killing, and poverty, not because people are going to listen, but because it belongs to an authentic witness of the living God. And you can do that only when your heart is rooted in the love of God. . . .