“The authority and ease with which he often wrote came from his wholeness, but wholeness was a work in progress. “The voice of God is not clearly heard at every moment,” he wrote…,”and part of the ‘work of the cell’ is attention, so that one may not miss any sound of that voice. What this means, therefore, is not only attention to inner grace but to external reality and to one’s self as a completely integrated part of that reality. Hence, this implies also a forgetfulness of oneself as totally apart from outer objects, standing back from outer objects; it demands an integration of one’s own life in the stream of natural and human and cultural life of the moment. When we understand how little we listen, how stubborn and gross our hearts are, we realize how important this inner work is. And we see how badly we are prepared to do it.”
Passages of this quality from his writings deserve a place on seekers’ bulletin boards or in their journals. How can one keep these thoughts in mind and live by their light? One’s own search, however structured and inspired, must be similarly alive–and complex enough to address the human condition as a whole. We are our own workshops. Merton knew this.”
–Roger Lipsey, a longtime contributor to Parabola Magazine on the inner search of Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton from his forthcoming book We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope: Reflections to Honor his Centenary (1915-2015).
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Photography Credit: Jonathan Williams, Portrait of Thomas Merton