A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Meditation Moments: On Thomas Merton's 100th Birthday

          Born in France on January 31, 1915 to a New Zealand Anglican Church father and an American Quaker mother, this worldly, other-worldly, best-selling hermit-author, mystic, priest, monk has left us a legacy of thought, a library of spiritual reflection, questions with answers that lead to more questions and a down-to-earth everyday approach to life with contemplation and prayer. Flesh, blood, all human, Merton, in his writings, shows he is one of us even as we are enveloped by and in awe of his ability to express and invite us into the realm of the Divine.
        I have no enlightened words but only 
"Thank you" to the soul of Thomas who is always available to us. His words speak the language our hearts and our own souls long for, as if he knew us each and individually more than 46 years after his death in 1968. One of my new personal favorites from his writing comes from his Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander written in 1966. In speaking of the early morning he says, 

"The first chirps of the waking birds mark the point vierge [the virgin point] of the dawn
under a sky as yet without real light, a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence, 
when the Father in perfect silence opens their eyes." 

He goes on to describe further the waking of the birds and then says, 

"Meanwhile, the most wonderful moment of the day is that when creation in its innocence
asks permission to 'be' once again, as it did on the first morning that ever was." 

In the typical language of that time he then speaks to each of us, 

"Man's wisdom does not succeed, for we are fallen into self-mastery and cannot ask permission of anyone. We face our mornings as men of undaunted purpose. We know the time and we dictate terms. We are in a position to dictate terms, we suppose: we have a clock...We will say in advance what kind of day it has to be...we will take steps to make it meet our requirements...we are off 'one to his farm and another to his merchandise'. Lights on. Clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves cooking...'Wisdom,' cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend."      

Let us attend, Dear Lord, to the words and actions of Your Servant, Thomas Merton. His profound and yet simple, complex and yet attainable thoughts, conjectures, musings, teachings, and prayers give each of us a direction, a way of practice, a calm knowing that we, too, can touch the hand of God in each and every moment of our day and walk toward eternity with Thomas by our side.  amen. 

To learn more about Thomas Merton go here to: A Thomas Merton Tour

Thomas Merton, or Father Louis, his name as a Cistercian Monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, is celebrated on the U.S. Episcopal Liturgical Calendar on December 10.

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