Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - August 21

When Words Fail Us

Morning after morning I try to study the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel and it is too great. I cannot study it. I simply sit still and try to breathe.

There is a small black lizard with a blue, metallic tail scampering up the yellow wall of the Church next to the niche where the Little Flower, with a confidential and rather pathetic look in her eyes, offers me a rose. I am glad of the distraction because now I can breathe again and think a little.

It does no good to use big words to talk about Christ. Since I seem to be incapable of talking about Him in the language of a child, I have reached the point where I can scarcely talk about him at all. All my words fill me with shame.

That is why I am more and more thankful for the Office and for the psalms. Their praise of God is perfect, and God gives it to me to utter as more my own than any language I could think up for myself.

“Lord our God! How admirable is your name through the whole world” (Psalm 8).

When I have the whole Church crying out with me, there is some chance of finding peace in the feeling that God is somehow, after all, receiving praise from my lips.

August 31, 1949, II.364

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