Sunday, 5 July 2009

"The Intimate Merton"

I have been reading “The Intimate Merton,” a first time introduction to this great man. My reading of him has been long overdue. Although I’m reading from cover to cover, it’s the sort of book you can dip in and out of. The book comprises selected entries from the journals he maintained throughout his life. If you want to find out more about Thomas Merton have a look here. Meanwhile, here are a few passages that appealed to me.

Sept 12th 1956 : “The gabby objectivity of a relationship in which familiarity has destroyed all sense of the reality of Gods Tremendum Mysterium, is almost as bad as agnosticism” (pg 149)

May 31st 1961 : The great work of Sunrise again today. Many no doubt are vaguely aware that it is dawn, but they are protected from the solemnity of it by the neutralizing worship of their own society, their own world, in which the sun no longer rises and sets, sense of importance, the urgency of seeing, fully aware, experiencing what is here, not what is given by men, by society. Clear realization that I must be with these first elements. It is absurd to enquire after my function in the world, or whether I have one, as long as I am not alive or awake. If that and no more is my job, then I am grateful for it. The vanity of all false mission where no-one is sent. (pg 220)

Sometime in May 1965 Day of the Stranger : The spiritual life is something that people worry about when they are so busy with something else they think they ought to be spiritual. Spiritual life is guilt (pg 299)

October 6th 1965 : “The last thing in the world I want to be is a hermit . . . I come into solitude not to attain the heights of contemplation . . . I come into solitude to hear the word of God . . . to ‘wait for the Lord.’” (pg 318)

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