Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - October 13

Truth and Silence

Dan Berrigan arrived by surprise Tuesday--I was not expecting him until the end of the week. We concelebrated twice--once in the regular present rite, and today, with a new Mass he found somewhere which is very fine and simple. I don't know how "legal" we were. It was a very moving, simple English text (Canon and all). I think it was composed by Anglicans and has been used by them. Contrast to the Mass, old style, that I said for Jacques Maritain when he visited last week. That was very sober, austere, solemn, intense. This Mass very open, simple, even casual, but very moving and real. Somehow I think the new is really better--and is very far from anything we will be permitted here for a long time. I have nothing against the old.

A dark October morning with clouds. Extraordinary purple in the north over the pines. Ruins of gnats on the table under the lamp. Albert Camus's preface to L’√Čtranger--The Stranger--has things to say on truth and silence which have deep monastic implications. I must refuse all declarations and affirmations of what I do not fully and actually know, experience, believe myself. Not making statements that are expected of me, simply because they are expected, whether by the monastery (or monastic life) or by the peace movement, or by various literary orthodoxies and anti-orthodoxies or routine rebellions. If I renounce all this, there will be precious little left to say. But above all (as Jacques Maritain and I agreed) to steer clear of the futilities of "Post-Conciliar" theological wrangling and image making.

October 13 and 14, 1966, VI.149-50

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