Friday, July 8, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - July 8

My Community as My Place of Salvation

A cool evening—or cooler than last evening and the one before. I am on the night watch. It is still light, though everyone is in bed. A robin still sings in the garden and tall gold lilies shine in the dusk. While I was anticipating the night office of St. Mary Magdalen, a female tanager captured a grasshopper on the path a few feet away, and, after dinner, as I sat under the broad woodshed roof, a woodchuck came out of the weeds and chewed at leaves five or six feet away from me, not out of tameness but rather out of sheer stupidity. Woodchucks must be shortsighted and depend mostly on hearing, or so I think.

The mystery of my monastic community as my place of salvation and encounter with God. I was talking of this in the conference this afternoon, and it is getting now, at last, into my bones. Though I am solitary, I no longer have to make an issue out of it. Though I can be solitary, it can be for love of God and a part of community life, not an expression of a stronger psychological or spiritual need. It can be a contribution to the community’s life and worship.

July 21, 1963, IV.342

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