Sunday, January 18, 2009
A Book of Hours
Some of you may have read my post references to a wonderful retreat that I attended the first week in Advent. The event was entitled - A Contemplative Art Retreat: Exploring Monastic Rhythms Through Art & Movement. It was an exhilarating event encompassing mind, body, and spirit. Through the adept leadership of Christine Valters Paintner, it was one of the most refreshing, mind and heart opening experiences that I've ever attended.
I bring the subject up again now as during the retreat there were many reading sources available to the attendants and on the first day I picked up a book entitled - Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours. During free time on the first day, I glanced through the small book, kept it as bedside reading for two nights but then feeling guilty at not sharing it with others, placed it back on the reading table. It seemed to rest there with no takers and then again, prior to the retreat conclusion, I took it to my room again. I was so moved by this book and decided that it would definitely make it on to my Christmas "wish list" as a "no brainer" idea for the adult children who swear they can never find a gift suitable for me. Well, as you would imagine, the ac weren't going for "wish lists" this year and no book was under the tree for me.
It wasn't exactly a hardship, of course, but everywhere I've turned in the last few weeks I've heard or read Merton's words speaking to me. So, surprise, you'll be happy to know that I have the book in my hands now and plan to savor it daily. Opening and slowly reading the cover intro, why was I not surprised to read these words from one of the collaborating authors, James Finley, who working with Kathleen Deignan edited Merton's writings into a Book of Hours format for daily use......
"You are holding in your hands a way to join Merton on the listening path. I sense Thomas Merton is somehow nearby, waiting in each thing he says to encourage you not to doubt all that God might achieve in you, all that God might express through you, as you surrender to God in silence."
I felt truly blessed upon reading this prayer for myself and I now offer to you readers the wish that you will take personally Merton's prayer and encouragement through your day.