Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - October 18

What We Most Need

The anchor in the window of the Old Zion Church, before it burned in 1924 or 1925: this is the earliest symbol of which I remember being conscious. I was struck by it, aged perhaps seven or eight, but could not see why it was in a church window. Perhaps I did not know what it was. Yet I had seen the symbol somewhere in crossing the ocean (and I desired to be a sailor). Anyway, there was an anchor in the window and I was aware of it. I have forgotten almost every other detail of the church, except perhaps the eagle on whose outspread wings the Bible rested, and even of this I am not sure. Was there really such an eagle? Whether or not, it is relevant that the anchor is a symbol of hope; hope is what I most need. And the world needs most.

Letter from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. They want to reprint "The Root of War" as a pamphlet. Convinced again that I must set everything aside to work for the abolition of war. Primarily, of course, by prayer. I remain a contemplative, but as for writing, contacts, letters, that kind of effort: here it seems to me everything should yield first place to the struggle against war.

October 30, 1961, IV.175-76

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