Today is the 40th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s tragic death by accidental electrocution while at a conference in Bangkok. I managed to forget the date (Dennis reminded me), despite the fact that I read at least a line or two of Merton almost every day. So much of what he wrote resonates with me. Sometimes I don’t even quite understand it on an intellectual level but on a spiritual level it makes complete sense to me.
I couldn’t possibly do justice to Merton by picking one quote that sums up the power of his gift, but I will quote the one passage that I have hanging next to my desk:
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually do so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.” — Thoughts in Solitude