Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Merton from me......

"The most important, the most real, and lasting work of the Christian is accomplished in the depths of his own soul. It cannot be seen by anyone, even by himself. It is known only to God."

This text was taken from Thomas Merton - A Book of Hours - a Collect on page 54. It is very comforting for me to read these words and to ponder not only what they mean to me, as a Christian, but what they might mean to persons of other faiths and to even those who profess they have no faith or God.

My thought - even if one has no faith - no faith, perhaps - no soul, no way! Oh yeah, I believe we are all created with a soul, like it or not. So with the liberty of the computer and your reading eyes, I might rewrite the beautiful Collect above with only a slight revision -

"The most important, the most real, and lasting work of the human being is accomplished in the depths of his own soul. It cannot be seen by anyone, even by himself - therefore it cannot or may not be denied. It is known only to God and God watches over the soul of even those who would deny him, or profess another god."

I am grateful for writers such as Kathleen Deignan whose vision of compiling Merton's wondrous writings into user-friendly hours of prayer and contemplation have brought such depth to my daily worship. For all that is found to be written in our time in totally dark and negative terms, someone like Ms. Deignan has brought together Merton's words from the past and placed them freshly in our reach for the taking. Words for us to ponder, to pray, to turn over in our minds, to question, to pose - obviously, I highly recommend Mr. Merton and this lovely book Book of Hours.

Do you have favored books you're reading now that seem to have enriched, awakened, or just given you comfort recently? I'd love to hear the titles.

Photo - SS from personal handmade Book of Hours Journal


  1. well, i'm hanging out with merton myself these days. my other tried and true book is mark nepo's "book of awakening" which has thoughts, words and poetry that often touch my heart.

  2. Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore caught my attention when he started talking about embracing the shadow side of the soul. Here is a taste of it:
    "A soulful life is never without shadow, and some of the soul's power comes from its shadow qualities."

  3. Lucy - I might have to investigate Mr. Nepo one of these days. I always enjoy your quotes from him.

    Lisa - Thanks for the TM quote about the soulful life and its shadow qualities. Intriguing concept - no doubt it will pop up somewhere else for me now that you've mentioned it here.

    Thank you both for stoppin' by.


  4. check out your buddy, thomas, pg 25...

    "Yet, as Merton faithfully reminded us, everyone is shadowed by a false or illusory self who wants to exist outside the reach of God's will and love, outside of reality and life." read on...

    embracing this shadow side is kind of like us sunshine people embracing winter :-)

  5. Lucy, I guess Mr. Moore then and Mr. Merton were both extolling the "dark side" - along with a long list of other theologians:)

  6. Anonymous5:56 AM

    mmm. I love Merton. I have to second Lisa--I like Thomas Moore; I really enjoyed his book, "The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life."

    I'm enjoying your blog. I'll be back when I have a bit more time to immerse myself in it...