No two trees are alike. And their individuality is no imperfection. On the contrary: the perfection of each created thing is not merely in its conformity to an abstract type but in its own individual identity with itself. This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading out its roots in the earth and raising its branches into the air and the light in a way that no other tree before or after it ever did or will do.
Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation, 1949
The sanctity of individual life is among the most beautiful creations of the world. Whether it is a tree or a child, each has a destiny, each is recognized by its unique strands of DNA. This suggests that every one of us should make the most of our talents and abilities, cultivating them as deeply and thoroughly as we cultivated the kitchen garden. We must add good compost in the form of spiritual attention and exercise to fertilize our potential and bring forth a good crop. And whether that crop is a quiet, contemplative life or one one steering a revolution for the good of humankind, it is of equal value, for it is the result of vigorously living out our greatest potential.