Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Year With Thomas Merton - February 12

The Power of Jesus' Passion in Us

Ash Wednesday: the ashes themselves bring the mercy of the blessing of Christ, in sobriety and barefooted peace.

At St. Anne's the sun is as bright as the first day that it was created. The world is clean. There is sin in it, but Christ has overcome the world. Even on Ash Wednesday I begin to hear the silence of Easter.

Many birds, going north, were flying in the wind. They moved slowly against the blue sky and looked like a school of fish in clear West Indian waters. The sun shone through their wings and made them seem like red and orange fins.

I think the unity of our Church in this her Lent (the lesson from the book of Joel brings this out: "Blow the trumpet and call the people together for the great fast!" Joel 1:14). The whole Church is called together and we realize that our Lent is united with the suffering of the martyrs and the fasts of the desert fathers and the good works and penances of all the saints. Whatever I can give to God and to other men is only the effect and manifestation in me of the power of the Passion of Jesus. I would reply to His action, and let Him show Himself in my life. This He will do in a way I have expected and not expected; planned and not planned; desired and not desired.

My decisions do not anticipate His coming: they manifest that He has come, if they be His decisions.

February 18, 1953, III.34


  1. Not quite Merton's image of a full flock of birds against a brilliant sky, but a pretty one nonetheless.

    1. From Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism: "At the touch of passion doors fly open which logic has battered on in vain: for passion rouses to activity not merely the mind, but the whole vitality of man."