Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - July 21

Letting Go of the Perfect

Very hot. The birds sing and the monks sweat and about 3:15 I stood in the doorway of the grand parlor and looked at a huge pile of Kentucky cumulus cloud out beyond Mount Olivet—with a buzzard lazily going back and forth over the sheep pasture, very high and black against the white mountain of the cloud. Blue shadows on the cloud.

On the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our Lady made me happy in many different ways. At prayer—aware of God’s purity surrounding my own imperfection with purity and peace. Yet helpless to get myself out of the way so that there could be nothing left but His purity. No other solution but to wait in love and humility and love my imperfection.

All my desires draw me more and more in a direction: to be little, to be nothing, to rejoice in your imperfections, to be glad that you are not worthy of attention, that you are of no account in the universe. This is the only liberation, the only way to solitude.

As long as I continue to take myself seriously, how can I be a saint, a contemplative? As long as I continue to bother about myself, what happiness is possible in life? For the self that I bother about doesn’t really exist and never will and never did, except in my own imagination.

July 18, 1948, II.219

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