Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Thoughts on Thomas Merton
"The purpose of a book of meditations is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. Consequently if you pick up such a book and simply read it through, you are wasting your time. As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart you canput the book down because your meditiation has begun. To think that you are somehow obliged to follow the author of the book to his own particular conclusion would be a great mistake. It may happen that his conclusion does not apply to you. God may want you to end up somewhere else. He may have planned to give you quite a different grace than the one the author suggest you might be needing." (New Seeds of Contemplation 215)
Thomas Merton is considered one of the greatest spiritual writers of our time. His views on the spiritual life, peace, war and religion in general have stood the test of time. His writings are considered in the league of Dr. Martin Luther King, Henri Nouwen. The Merton Prayer has also helped people in their time of need including myself it goes like this:
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
Well a couple of weeks ago I picked up a new book that is by Thomas Merton big suprise there...heheh. Anyway it is called "Peace in the Post-Christian Era." It was original written in the 1960's but he was not allowed under orders from his Abbot to published it but he secretly sent it to friends, including the sister-in law of JFK and it also suggest that through the underground movement a copy was given to the Pope at that time because around the same time the Pope released his writings(encyclical) on the Church position of the war, and it had ring of Merton. He also published some of the chapters as seprate articles to different magazines of the day mostly the Catholic Quarterly, leave it to him buck the system. While it was written in response to the Cold War I believe it would serve the Church greatly to read it about what the Christians response to war should be.