Monday Morning with Merton: Anniversary


For the anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death, I would like to share some extracts from a letter written on the following day, December 11, 1968, to the Abbot of Gethsemane, Abbot Flavian Burns. This letter was signed by the six Trappist delegates at the Bangkok Conference:

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

“With one accord every delegate here and the hundreds represented by these delegates appreciate your own kindness and generosity in allowing Father Louis to attend this conference. It was his presence here that drew us, and from the very moment of his arrival he was the center of all proceedings. Some had already met him, most of us were meeting him for the first time person to person. He was known to us through his writings and by his reputation, but now that we have had the privilege to meet and live with him we know just how truly great a monk he was. He endeared himself to everyone by his simplicity, his openness to all, his eagerness to give of all that he had, and above all by the fact that here indeed was a true monk.”

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

“This morning at 10 a.m. we celebrated Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul.  The Abbot Primate Dom Weakland was the principal celebrant and was assisted by the Apostolic Delegate of Thailand and Dom Joachim of Kopua.  The Archbishop of Bangkok and his secretary were also present.  All the priests concelebrated, assisted by other delegates.  The vestments were white to testify to our belief that this was indeed an occasion of great happiness as we rejoiced in the knowledge that our brother had truly gone to God.”

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

“…we wish to extend to you and your community our deep heartfelt sympathy in your great loss of a son and brother, a loss which is also an intimate one for each of us.  We know that you too will also feel that it is an occasion of great happiness with the realization that Father Louis has attained that goal that we all seek, eternal union with the Godhead.”

[From:  The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, Appendix VIII]

It seems as though the death of Thomas Merton is “a loss which is also an intimate one” even for those of us who never had the privilege of meeting him.  We miss you, Father Louis.  Please pray for us.

6 thoughts on “Monday Morning with Merton: Anniversary

  1. It’s lovely that so many people worldwide remember him on this day. Those who never knew him personally were blessed in being able to celebrate his life and his love of life and his great love of God through his writing, like you do here, Gabrielle, each Monday.
    Universalis – the Prayer of the Church site also remembers him today in a very nicely worded reflection.
    May he rest in peace, among God’s angels and God’s saints.

  2. Oh gosh, it seems to me he is not resting at all, but is as dynamic as always! How is it that we have happened upon him so widely? He goes instantly to the heart. I can only marvel, at him, but moreso at God Who is so good to us even decades after a life passed. This is but one proof that Love has a life all its own. Or as Paul more soberly put it, nothing can separate us from the love of God. And personally, here is another brother that we only-children thought we never had.

  3. An initiative of the Thomas Merton Foundation: light a candle in his memory.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/enter.cfm?l=eng&gi=MERTN&p=Light a Candle

    in memory of Thomas Merton

    December 10, 2007

    sorry, I’m computer illiterate as you all know…don’t know how to set up a link here…

    Gab, If you find an empty message on your phone, it was me…
    I haven’t left yet, but I thought I’d give you a ring. I’ll try again some other time, and who knows, I may get lucky!

  4. Hi, all. Just finishing a “wicked” week (submerged, totally, at work and home). I think of Merton as still being dynamic too, doing good for us still here on earth, like St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whom he loved so much.

    Thanks for the link, Pia. Sorry I missed you, it’s been so hectic, at work every day and hubby’s brother here from France. I wish you all an enjoyable flight over to the States, and hope to hear from you if you can call from Toronto. How I would have loved it if you could have come to Ottawa! But I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family, and maybe even relax a little!

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