Monday, September 26, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - September 26

Writing to Think and Live and Pray

It is a bright afternoon: what am I going to do? I am going to work with my mind and with my pen, while the sky is clear, and while the soft white clouds are small and sharply defined in it. I am not going to bury myself in books and note-taking. I am not going to lose myself in this jungle and come out drunk and bewildered, feeling that bewilderment is a sign that I have done something. I am not going to write as one driven by compulsions but freely, because I am a writer, and because for me to write is to think and live and also, in some degree, even to pray.

This time is given to me by God that I may live in it. It is not given to make something out of it, but given me to be stored away in eternity as my own.

But for this afternoon to be my own in eternity, it must be my own this afternoon, and I must possess myself in it, not be possessed by books and by ideas not my own, and by a compulsion to produce what nobody needs. But simply to glorify God by accepting His gift and His work. To work for Him is to work that I myself may live.

How else shall I study Boris Pasternak, whose central idea is the sacredness of life?

September 27, 1958, III.219

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