Friday, January 6, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - January 5
Her Presence Demands My Love
A cold night. Woke up to find the night filled with the depth and silence of snow. Stayed up here in the hermitage for supper last night, but having cooked soup and cut up a pear and a banana for dessert, and made toast, finally came to the conclusion that is all too elaborate. If there were no better reason for fasting, the mere fact of saving time would be a good enough reason. For the bowl and the saucepan have to be washed, and I have only a bucket of rainwater for washing, etc., etc. Taking only coffee for breakfast makes a lot of sense, because I can read quietly and sip my two mugs of coffee at leisure, and it really suffices for the morning.
There is a great need for discipline in meditation. Reading helps. The early morning hours are good, though in the morning meditation (one hour) I am easily distracted by the fire. An hour is not much, but I can be more meditative in the hour of reading that follows (and which goes much too fast). The presence of Our Lady is important to me. Elusive but I think a reality in this hermitage. Her influence is a demand of love, and no amount of talking will explain it. I need her and she is there. I should perhaps think of it explicitly more often.
In the afternoon, work takes up so much time, and there can be so much. Just keeping the place clean is already a big task. Then there is wood to be chopped, etc. The fire is voracious--but pleasant company.
January 30, 1965, V.196-97