Tuesday, February 7, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - February 7
My Place in the Scheme of Things
Everything about this hermitage fills me with joy. There are lots of things that could have been far more perfect one way or the other--ascetically and "domestically." But it is the place God has given me after so much prayer and longing--but without my deserving it--and it is a delight. I can imagine no other joy on earth than to have a hermitage and to be at peace in it, to live in silence, to think and write, to listen to the wind and to all the voices of the wood, to live in the shadow of the big cedar cross, to love my brothers and all people, and to pray for the whole world and for peace and good sense among men. So it is "my place" in the scheme of things, and that is sufficient!
Reading some studies on St. Leonard of Port Maurice and his retirement house (Ritiro) and hermitage of the Incontro. How clearly Vatican II has brought into question all the attitudes that he and his companions took completely for granted: the dramatic barefoot procession from Florence to the Incontro in the snow--the daily half-hour self-flagellation in common--etc. This used to be admired, if prudently avoided by all in the Church. Depth psychology, etc., have made these things forever questionable--they belong to another age. And yet there has to be hardness and rigor in the solitary life. The hardness is there by itself. The cold, the solitude, the labor, the need for poverty to keep everything simple and manageable, the need for discipline of long meditation in silence.
February 24, 1965, V.209-10