Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - August 13

The Beauty of the Church

I was in Louisville today and had dinner at the Little Sisters of the Poor. The moral beauty of the place, the authentic beauty of Christianity, which has no equal. The beauty of the Church is the charity of her daughters.

The good Mother Superior, whom I shall never forget. Her transparency, unearthliness, simplicity, of no age, a child, a mother, like the Blessed Virgin—as if no name could apply to her, that is, no name known to anyone but God. And yet more real than all the unreal people in the rest of the world.

The old people. The old man playing the piano and the old man dancing. The sweet, dignified Negro lady who had worked for Fr. Greenwell. The old, beat, heavy Negro lady with wisps of white beard, sunk in her dream, her blank expression, slowly coming out of it when spoken to. The lady who had both legs cut off. The little-girl lady who made the speech in the dining room. The old lady with the visor cap on. And the golden wedding couple.

Sweet, good people. Now I have the prayers of the poor, the strong, merciful, invincible prayer of the poor behind me, and in me, changing my whole life and my whole outlook on life.

August 16, 1960, IV.31-32

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