Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - July 7

A Splendor of Light

In Louisville some weeks ago I found the new D. T. Suzuki anthology—really a thorough “Reader,” and since reading it, I am almost irresistibly tempted to write him another letter. Poor good old man. I know he must be flooded with mail, as I am, and that he does what I do: puts the letters in a big box and forgets them.

Asked to speak in a “scientific” symposium on “New Knowledge in Human Values,” he handled it with consummate wisdom and latent humor, the serious, humble, matter-of-fact humor of emptiness: “If anything new can come out of human values it is from the cup of tea taken by two monks.”

Antigone and stoical tropes of St. Eucherius on contemptus mundi—the rejection of the world: the beauty of his prose. How the heavens observe the laws of God when they have been once commanded and we, with volumes of laws, do not obey Him.

This morning, the indescribable magnificence of the dawn. Cirrus clouds on the horizon, first glowing with angry and subtle purple fire, then growing into a great mottled curtain of iridescent flame, of what color I don’t know. But off to the south, a pile of mottled grey with all kinds of delicate pink highlights in it, like some Oriental porcelain.

St. Eucherius on that sunrise! “Think how much more the splendor of the light will be for us in the future, if it shines upon us so brilliantly now. In what magnificent form will the light shine on eternal things, when it shines so beautifully now on what is passing away!”

July 24 and 28, 1962, IV.388-34

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