Today is Thomas Merton’s 100th birthday. Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915- December 10, 1968) was a Catholic convert who became a Trappist Monk, a writer and even a peace activist. Why does Merton still matter?
I am probably the only Catholic who hasn’t finished The Seven Storey Mountain. (Don’t judge.) I got distracted, put it down and never picked it up again. It’s finally on my dinoNook (1st gen) so I will be getting back to it.
I have read Learning to Love. That book literally stopped my breathing. Merton expresses his love for “M” in the most romantic, excruciatingly beautiful and painful way I have ever read. He truly believed the love he felt for “M” and the love she felt for him was a gift from God. He rejoiced in it, despite his struggles with it. I have yet to hear or read a man express his love for a woman in this way.
Thomas Merton still matters today, because like most of us, he realized that the conversion process never ends.
This was his final lecture, recorded only an hour before his untimely death.
Here are two quotes that resonate with me from Thomas Merton:
“For me to be a saint means to be myself.”
“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 … But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you … Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.”
Happy Birthday Thomas Merton. I promise to finish reading The Seven Storey Mountain.
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