By Thomas Merton
The 3rd quantity of Thomas Merton's journals chronicles Merton's makes an attempt to reconcile his wish for solitude and contemplation with the calls for of his new-found big name prestige in the strictures of traditional monastic life.
Read or Download A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk's True LifeThe Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3: 1952-1960 (Merton, Thomas Journal of Thomas Merton) PDF
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Additional info for A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk's True LifeThe Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3: 1952-1960 (Merton, Thomas Journal of Thomas Merton)
Terrifically purged of ideas about prayer, and of all desire to preach them, as if I had something! October 30, 1952 Yesterday we were raking leaves in the front avenue and burning them–nice quiet work under the sunlit trees. Cars came slowly through the smoke. I thought of the first Lent in the novitiate, when we worked in the avenue a lot. I even think that we raked leaves there my first afternoon in the community as a postulant. I realize more and more that the only thing in life that matters is our awareness of God and our desire to do His will–and yet sometimes I seem to be completely incapable of both, and incapable of everything.
16 (Fr. John †’s sister) was in Cleveland to see about entering Carmel there. Yesterday a letter arrived from her that the Cleveland Carmel was “just right”–spoke of the big trees looking over the wall and speaking to her of God who was there! September 15, 1952 Out here in the woods I can think of nothing except God and it is not so much that I think of Him either. I am as aware of Him as of the sun and the clouds and the blue sky and the thin cedar trees. When I first came out here, I was sleepy (because we are in the Winter season and no longer have meridienne) but I read a few lines from the Desert Fathers and then, after that, my whole being was full of serenity and vigilance.
Yet I did not know them and they did not know me. It was a wearying exercise. At St. Anne’s I have found them and they have found me. Cassian, I think, was the go-between. Through Cassian I am getting back to everything, or rather, getting for the first time to monastic and Christian values I had dared to write about without knowing them. Turbatus est a furore oculus meus. [My eye wastes away with grief (Psalm 6:7)]. I did not know how much I ruined myself in eleven years, until, trying to recite a psalm out here, I discovered that the mere thought of a psalm makes me tense and hard, and I recite the words automatically like a nervous and well oiled machine.