Readings for Thomas Merton: MONK, POET, SPIRITUAL WRITER, 1968
“I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2 – 3)
This writing to the Church in Colossae encourages the Christians there, and us, to live fully into the mystery of God’s love, Such writing was not lost on Thomas Merton.
“Thomas Merton was among the most influential Catholic writers of the twentieth century. His writings cover a broad range of subject matter: spirituality and the contemplative life, prayer, and religious biography. He was also deeply interested in issues of social justice and Christian responsibility. He did not shy away from controversy and addressed race relations, economic injustice, war, violence, and the nuclear arms race.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for December 10)
The wonder of God and God’s creating love for all creation should be the number one concern of all creation but more especially people. We are those of creation that the Creator walked with. So I can see why Thomas Merton devoted his life to the Wonder of God. One of my favorite quotes is not from Merton but brings the same thought, “It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.” (Kallistos Ware) We walk in mystery.
“Merton was known in the community as Brother Louis; his gifts as a writer were encouraged by the abbot. In addition to his translations of Cistercian sources and his original works, Merton carried on a prolific correspondence with people around the world on a wide range of subjects. Some of his correspondence takes the form of spiritual direction, some shows his deep affections for friends outside the community, and much of it demonstrates Merton’s ability to be fully engaged in the world even though he lived a cloistered life. Merton died in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968, by accidental electrocution, while attending a meeting of religious leaders during a pilgrimage to the Far East.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for December 10)
Merton engaged with the world in a time before computers. How much more can you and I do good global works through this very source from which you are reading this blog? Not just for the Colossians, but for us too, there are still treasures of wisdom and knowledge to be understood.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+