October 22, 2017

Merton Week: The Place I Wish to Begin, the Well from Which I Wish to Draw

Winter Solitude, Gethsemani Abbey

Let me keep silence in this world, except in so far as God wills and in the way He wills it.

• Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

Comments

  1. “Let me keep silence in this world, except in so far as God wills and in the way He wills it.”

    Great quote.

  2. “Put your mouthful of words away
    and come with me to watch
    the lilies open in such a field,
    growing there like yachts,
    slowly steering their petals
    without nurses or clocks.”
    ? Anne Sexton

  3. Thanks for a simple reminder.

    Step down and toe it
    Dive into the silent lake
    Breath under water

  4. Thomas Merton week. That is just about right, considering the overlapping worlds of church and state these days. What a bunch of nonsense.

    I just picked up my copy of Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation and re-read his essay called “Union and Division.” It’s about pride, and greed, and power. Just about right these days.

    I found an online copy here. Only a few pages.
    http://chippit.tripod.com/union_and_division.html

    • I will use some of that tomorrow. Thanks, Ted!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Ted. I guess since CM is planning on exploring more tomorrow I’ll wait to discuss.

      I’ve read The Seven Story Mountain but, other than snippets like you linked, have not read any other of Merton’s works. Any suggestions on where to start?

    • From today’s Savage Chickens entitled Getting Along:

      “Why can’t we all just get along, you morons?”

      • Charles I am sure you have seen chickens in the yard. I have and found varieties to be beautiful as they were after each other for position

    • Burro (Mule) says:

      Ever since reading Fr. Seraphim Rose’ Letter To Thomas Merton, written when he was still Eugene Rose and a very recent convert to Orthodoxy, I have to admit that I had something of an animus against poor Fr. Louis, especially when promoted by what is basically a center-left Christian site.

      HOWEVER, reading that iittle snippet of “Union and Division”, I admit that I am saddened that Eugene Rose the Orthodox convert never sent his letter. I’m certain Fr. Louis would have corrected him gently, and pointed out their common ground. It appears to me as though they were very much kindred spirits, especially with their common interest in Asian philosophies. What a great and productive friendship they could have had.

    • Ted that was highly reflective of the author and that’s all I have to say about that.

    • Well Ted I tried and no insult intended. All I said was the post you offered was reflective of the author. Had me thinking about my reflection. All I have to say about that. Of course the first was cut mods and all. I wonder I have seen it happen and I wonder if chastisement keeps on going. I thought I might leave but I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t.

  5. Mystics. A few weirdos scattered thruout history like rocks in a stream, disturbing the quiet with meaningless burbles, impeding the flow, best ignored as out of touch with reality. I’ve got a family to take care of, bills to pay, and you want me to do what? That Merton guy shoved his shoulder against that gate been shut for a hundred years until it finally gave enough to let him thru, and anyone else dumb enough to follow him. What did he find inside? A chair and a Sycamore tree. Come on, talk about beside the point, and you want me to believe it is the whole point? Probably got the whole idea from Jesus talking about the narrow gate and turned it into some kind of wacko philosophy. Well, you can sit and look at a tree until it falls over if you want, I’m going to go see what’s on TV.

    • The philosophy of Charles Fine. You should write a book!

      • U know Ric I have wondered on the great up beat mind I have marveled at. Considering the tone and reflective value of said reflections and what I have found here that maybe something was carefully crafted to reflect what goes on here at times. I am in permanent mods. Quite okay considering. Should be an honor even though it hurts so. Former author God grant peace and thank him for me. No wish to be apologetic and to continue with the forum of the Greek city. Much rather go in another way. Yesterday’s post describes a way. Charles was being gracious and tactful something I seem to lack at times. That which you do not. Yes I know not to be coveting but at times you make it hard for me. Sorry but the same makes me wonder could I. Well maybe you’ll see it. Mods and all.

    • I can understand your focus on the urgencies of life, they definitely get in your face, but television as an alternative? That wouldn’t relieve the pressures of life for me; I would prefer coffee with a friend.

    • I’m reading Charles as sarcastic until corrected. If not, it’s one of the most brilliant paragraphs of potential sarcasm I’ve read in a while.

      • Christiane says:

        🙂

      • In these crazed and overwrought days, it can be (without clear statement of intent) difficult to tell sarcasm from actual proposed beliefs.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          That’s the problem with an Age of Extremes.

          No matter how crazy you get as a joke, there’s some True Believer out there twice as crazy and Dead Serious.

      • Brianthegrandad says:

        Poe’s Law is in full effect. At least I took it as grinning, high-level sarcasm

      • I’ve seen s much snark here the past few weeks that it’s difficult for me to tell any more.

    • Christiane says:

      “Mystics. A few weirdos scattered thruout history like rocks in a stream, disturbing the quiet with meaningless burbles, impeding the flow, best ignored as out of touch with reality.”

      “I hear from within me the murmur of living water that whispers, ‘Come. Come to Father.’
      (Ignatius of Antioch)

      Charles, I’ll take the mystics. You can have ‘reality’, especially these days. 🙂

      • Christiane says:

        ‘these days’:
        example: Trump just fired his acting Attorney General ……. just another day in Trumpland …. never a dull …..

  6. Despite the above quote, Merton said a lot in his huge corpus, much of it in correspondence with renowned as well as ordinary persons . That’s not meant as a criticism, though I do find it ironic, and indicative of the paradoxes and contradictions that permeated his life. He sought the life of a hermit, but maintained communication with large numbers of people all over the world; pilgrims flocked to his hermitage without authorization to meet with the famous monk. Father Louis, celebrity and hermit.

    • Merton’s popularity and constant epistolary relationship with so many in the outside world displeased his abbots. It’s not too difficult to imagine why.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      He sought the life of a hermit, but maintained communication with large numbers of people all over the world; pilgrims flocked to his hermitage without authorization to meet with the famous monk. Father Louis, celebrity and hermit.

      I heard similar stories about the Desert Fathers.

  7. garden of silence —
    a single sycamore tree,
    no one to be found

    • Sycamore trees with deep roots and able to stand the strongest storms. Dirty trees as they drop lots of stuff all year. I once saw one you could crawl in the bottom and find shelter for a night. Huge. …….on an island in the Sequehana.

    • I had two grand sycamores in my front yard growing up. I would climb them and find shelter and sanctuary from the world. I miss them.

  8. Honestly I have seen little ponies and much more. Handles that mean head removal. Bait to where someone said I know what buttons I’m pushing. Saw a guy that liked Calvin’s teachings. Old prophet. One guy named Miguel and I haven’t seen him post. One of the best minds even though we aren’t exactly together yet we are in a way. Merton writes in Ted’s link about things. Nice. Wonder if reflection was looking at oneself. Wish we could be but it seems one came to be that gift. I would for real but it is finished.

  9. That’s a wonderful photograph. It looks like a Merton picture, but I can’t be sure. Is that your work, CM?