A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk's True LifeThe by Thomas Merton

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 star prestige in the strictures of traditional monastic life.

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Additional resources 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)

Example text

All the countries of the world are one under this sky: I no longer need to travel. Half a mile away is the monastery with the landscape of hills which haunted me for 11 years with uncertainty. I knew I had come to stay but never really believed it, and the hills seemed to speak, at all times, of some other country. The quiet landscape of St. Anne’s speaks of no other country. If they will let me, I am here to stay–unless there be some invasion of tractors and construction. (There is a jeep now in the fields before me.

Finally, if they are sufficiently stubborn, they carry the story to the end and imagine they have achieved what they wanted. These are the saints who come in their own name and not in God’s name–the prophets who prophesy without being sent. They are the clouds without water St. Jude speaks of: “They are fierce waves of the sea with shame for their crests, wandering stars, with eternal darkness and storms awaiting them…like the brute beasts they derive knowledge only from their senses and it serves to corrupt them…” (Jude 1:13 and 10).

For a long time they did not know what to do with him. 16 I wonder if there is something truculent about my choice. Is this the Jesus of my prayer or the Jesus of my showing off? There is one thing I must do here (and may I one day live here and do it all day long) and that is to prepare for my death. But that means a preparation in gentleness. A gentleness, a silence, a humility I have never had before–which seems impossible in the tension of the community where even my compassion is tinged with force and strain.

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