Monday Morning with Merton: Elusive Union

“To love God so much that you are sad to be anywhere but in a church, or on your knees, or, at least, quiet.

All day the thought of Him, or of the Blessed Virgin, comes to you in the midst of the things you are doing, and flies like an arrow through you!

Where is it gone?  Have I lost it already by talking about it?”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

(From:  Run to the Mountain.  The Journals of Thomas Merton.  Volume One 1939-1941) (This quotation: September 4, 1941)

14 thoughts on “Monday Morning with Merton: Elusive Union

  1. Exactly! When you talk about it, the intensity of the moment seems to disappear and you wish you could capture that ray of light again.

  2. Ambushed by Love, we are. Even in a prison- or p.o.w.- or gulag detaining cell. You know how sometimes I’ve attributed that momentary thrill of heart out of seemingly nowhere, to it being someone praying for me? Well, Someone is always praying– for each of us. Someone — and His Mother, and His friends — is always in mind of us.

    A fire chief in Fla. with whom I once prayed, and who worked another job beside that one to support 7 kids (the only ceiling to how many they’ll have is Mama’s “We’ll stop, now”), used to rise at 2 am now and then to go to Adoration. When his eldest got old enough, he woke him, too. He and they prayed (sometimes) for me and for my son while there. He said to me more than once, “Jesus (and Mary) loves you, and your son, so much. Oh, you can’t imagine how very much.” I thought, too thanklessly as always, “Thank you, but why aren’t I hearing This?”
    🙂 Right– who was the one getting up at 2 am — and even waking a child into it — to go pray before Him?

    “and flies like an arrow through you..” Oh, we lose that moment forever, but the arrow opens the door for many more.

  3. So maybe there’s already a heart indelibly carved in the holiest wood of our hearts, which — above and below the arrow lodged there — reads: “Jesus U”? Hmm.. heavy. I like it.

    Ok, I’ll skip the tattoo.

    An elusive moment, or even an elusive period.. was poor little Mother Teresa’s lot, wasn’t it? She lived it, tho’, like it was in neon billboard.

    Oh, certainly, yes: even if our human memory fades. Husband’s elderly Aunt Jeanie finally reached that point of thinking in Mass, because she wasn’t hungry just now.. that she would “Save this for later,” and tried to put the sacred Host, the Fellow around Whom her whole life — her every waking moment — had revolved, into her non-existent purse; husband gently took Him from her and consumed Him. I know beyond a doubt that Jesus doesn’t mind that His little Jeannie forgot for a mortal second. I hope they had a marvelous chuckle over it when she finally went to Him. Heaven is the only place she could’ve chuckled over that, and Heaven is the only place she could’ve been consumed into.

  4. Oh, lol, well.. “Jesus U” is ok, too, but apparently this combox does not accept the plus sign, i.e., “Jesus and U”. Tho’ I do like “Jesus U” for a tattoo…

    kidding, kidding..

  5. True of course for what you are describing, JustMe, but I was thinking more along the lines of mystical experiences, and experiences of grace, be they moments, days or years – they are forever imprinted on our souls, as Teresa of Avila has taught us, though the details fade and you may not remember precisely (and cannot relive) the beauty or the sensation.

  6. Ah, I see! (It’s kinda like talking to a peanut butter sandwich sometimes, isn’t it?)

    Yes. The sensation never fades from memory. How to describe the All-Is-Well or the I-Cherish-You? For it’s way more than that. I don’t have the words. Only the conviction it leaves, and an enormous hunger for others to have it, to open to it, to invite/ask/beg for such a moment.

  7. Thank you, Jackie; good to have you stop by.

    JustMe, I think you have described what marking the soul is all about – the conviction it leaves and the hunger to help others know. And we should see a growth in virtue…all of these have a permanence that the actual experience does not.

  8. Jackie, as a matter of fact, you did leave a comment on the Keating one, saying it was a wonderful post, but perhaps you didn’t notice whom I was quoting. You have told me in the past of your concerns about him, and I understand your point of view, because you are not alone in that viewpoint.

    But Father Keating, in my opinion, has been a true gift to the Catholic Church. People associate him only with centering prayer, mainly people, I think, who have not read his works, and they may not be aware of the great work he has done in bringing generations of Catholics into the awareness of contemplative prayer, keeping them within the Catholic Church as a result, and of how he has been instrumental in bringing the practice of Lectio Divina into the lives of lay Catholics.

    Pope Benedict XVI and Father Thomas Dubay, whom I both admire immensely, have definite reservations about centering prayer, in that they do not wish uninformed people or beginners to think it is a “quick fix”, or a “quick method” of entering into contemplative prayer, which is very understandable. But I think the fact that Father Keating has never been silenced by the Vatican, who silences people on a regular basis, is a strong indication of their awareness of the fruitfulness of his life’s vocation.

  9. “Father Keating has never been silenced by the Vatican”
    Such as was so re Merton, too, even tho’ he was replaced in mention in the Catechism revision. Despite any reservations regarding Fr. Keating (and those, I hope, were because I have worked with children and RCIA folks in a faith setting for a long time, and don’t want to lead the spiritually young to anything they aren’t, as you’ve noted, deeply able to grasp, most especially if I can’t answer questions), as I said long ago: I need but see that same Habit, and my soul leaps! Seriously, it leaps. Suddenly, I am in the presence of greatness — something beautifully real.

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