Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - October 1

The Mystical Body of Friends

These are the most beautiful days of the year, except for days in May.

Sun every day now, and very bright sky, clear, dark blue. The leaves of the trees change, though not all change into bright colors, as in the North. The sweet gums do well, though--there are some small ones coming up in the novitiate woods. Some good poplars in the wood of the former pig lot are clearing (thinning out) along the Bardstown road.

Then on Friday Mark Van Doren's autobiography came and I have begun it, getting with him as far now as the army in World War I and the Negroes. The world of Illinois and his childhood is very much the same as the world all around us, and yet I suddenly find it hard to believe in such peace and security.

Thursday afternoon Reverend Father gave me a letter from Boris Pasternak. The letter was brief but cordial and confirmed my intuition of the deep and fundamental understanding that exists between us. And this is the thing I have been growing to see is most important. Everything hangs on the possibility of such understanding, which forms our interior bond, which is the only basis of true peace and community. External, juridical, doctrinal, etc., bonds can never achieve this. And this bond exists between me and countless people like Pasternak everywhere in the world (genuine people like Pasternak are never "countless"), and my vocation is intimately bound up with this bond and this understanding, for the sake of which also I have to be solitary and not waste my spirit in pretenses that do not come anywhere near this reality or have anything to do with it.

October 12, 1958, III.223-24

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