Saturday, November 19, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - November 19
Being a Teacher
Finishing William of Conche's Philosophia Mundi. Beautiful little chapter on the Teacher. I was very moved by it. I usually ignore this element in my own vocation, but obviously I am a writer, a student, and a teacher, as well as a contemplative of sorts, and my solitude, etc., is that of a writer and teacher, not a pure hermit. And the great thing is, or should be, love of truth. I know there is nothing more precious than the bond of charity created by communicating and sharing the truth. This really is my whole life.
Yesterday Aidan Nally came up to me by the woodshed and said, "Father, it seems the wars have ceased."
Later I conjectured he was referring to the cessation of atmospheric nuclear testing announced by Kennedy.
Today (a blacker day than usual and there have been many) Aidan Nally met me out by the greenhouse just before dinner and uttered some prophecies of doom according to something he had seen on TV. None of it was clear. Probably the Russians trying to make up for their loss of face over Cuba. Something on Germany? Berlin?
The problem is not to lose one's sense of perspective and seriousness. It is always "the end" and each time it gets closer. The students at the Oxford Union drank up their best wine in the Cuban crisis. They will not have any for this one, whatever it is--if it is a crisis, and not something imagined by Aidan. But Aidan's imagination is as good as any paper--only a little foggy.
November 13 and 17, 1962, IV.264-66