Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Year With Thomas Merton - May 9

My Hands Were Always Empty

Since Easter was early we are already on the threshold of Pentecost. Yesterday, in bright, blazing sun, we planted cabbage seedlings in the garden and, over the way, I could hear them mowing hay in St. Joseph's field, where probably tomorrow we will all be loading wagons.

Every time I have been in the woods to pray I have loved them more.

At once I remember all the afternoons I had been out in the woods, the dark afternoons in the gullies along the creeks and the rainy afternoons on top of the knobs and the day I sang the Pater Noster on one knob and then on another; the day I found the daffodils in an unexpected place, and the other day when I picked them in a place where I knew they would be; and the immense silence of last Good Friday, when I sat on a rotten log in a sheltered corner by a stream with a relic of the Holy Cross. It set the seal on all the silences in which I had found Him without seeming to find anything, and I knew (as I always guessed) that I had every time come home with something tremendous, although my hands were always empty.

May 7, 1951, 457-58


  1. “wood hath hope. when it’s cut, it grows green again, and it’s boughs sprout clean again. wood hath hope.”

    --St. Louis Jesuits

  2. its

    That's what I get for cutting and pasting without looking.