Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - June 3

Always Needing to Wake Up

Wonderfully cool. Never saw such a June. Bright blue sky. Birds singing everywhere. Not a cloud. Sunlight falls on this page through the branches of the cedars outside the wall and is not oppressive, but pleasant, like the sun of May or October.

The other day—the novices found a bat in the conference room, and brought him out into the garden in bright daylight in the middle of the morning. I took him inside again and let him hang upside down in the tool closet. The wings are a bit repellant (why?) but the bat himself is a beautiful thing. Clinging blindly to my notebook and trembling all over. His long ears, small eyes, “peaceful expression.” (There I go again. Rank subjectivity.)

The battle against inertia. In the life and in myself. This is the great thing. The constant struggle to break through illusion and falsity and come to Christ and freedom. And how often we fail. I am convinced there is something in our long offices and formal prayers which induces inertia and stupor. Am I just? Or is this more subjectivism? Be honest in seeking the answer.

The conviction that I have not even begun to write, to think, to pray, and to live, and that only now am I getting down to waking up. And that, by God’s grace, this comes from finally trying, with great difficulty, to be genuinely free and alone, as humbly as I can, in God’s sight, without passively accepting all the standards and the formulas which have been adopted by others—or, at least, that I am now exercising a wider choice in my sources of inspiration.

June 22, 1958, III.206-7June 5, 1960, IV.7

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