Wednesday, October 5, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - October 4
Needing the Angels and the Saints
(The Seven Storey Mountain is officially published on October 4, 1948)
I see more and more the fruitfulness of this life here with its struggles, its long hours of silence, the sun, the woods, the presence of invisible grace and help. It has to be a creative and humiliating life, a life of search and obedience, simple, direct, requiring strength (I don't have it, but it is "given"). There are moments of frightening disruption, then recovery. I am only just beginning to know what life really is--away from all the veils, cushions, and evasions of the common life. Yet I see my great need for the common life. Seriously, last night at supper, a deep awareness that I need the saints and angels with me in my loneliness (cf. Jacques Maritain on the Heavenly Church). Read Maritain's beautiful biographical note on Vera Oumansoff. This is the real dimension of Christian community. What could be more beautiful or more real? There is much of this in the monastery, in spite of everything.
The picture of Galla Placida in Herbert Read's Icon and Idea.
Byzantine medallion of her, her son and daughter. A most lovely and fascinating picture. The children are beautiful but dull. She is full of life and character. A fascinating face. How is it that this face is so contemporary to me, so ready to speak to me? As if she were someone I had always known. I can imagine it is Mother, perhaps, I see in her; there is some resemblance, the same kind of features. Anyway I am moved by the picture.
October 6, 1965, V.301