It’s a tremendous benefit having a large body of work available from a writer such as Merton. We can identify with the material at so many points along the journey.
Most assuredly Merton would eventually arrive at answers to his musings in the following excerpt, yet it brings us solace and comfort in knowing that early on, he dealt with many of the same questions, frustrations and heartaches as we do:
“Just because a cross is a cross, does it follow that it is the cross God intends for you?
Just because a job is a nuisance, is it therefore good for you?
Is it an act of virtue for a contemplative to sit down and let himself be snowed under by activities?
What am I doing in that room over there: piling up fuel for Purgatory?
Does the fact that all this is obedience make it really pleasing to God? I wonder. I do not ask these questions in a spirit of rebellion. I would really like to know the answers.”
[The Sign of Jonas. The Journal of Thomas Merton]. pg. 46. Entry of May 1, 1947. Merton has been five years in the monastery at this point, and is approaching the time when he will take his solemn vows.
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Merton was perfectly serious, as am I… but it’s Monday morning, so I simply can’t resist. Just a little something to get us through the week. It’s a catchy tune, with a refrain you might find very familiar.