Coincidentally, two things arose today pointing me in the same direction. When things like this converge I’ve learned to pay attention. I don’t have it figured out — at least cognitively. What I have is an intuitive sense that simply suggests wisdom resides somewhere in it all. Both came from Trappist monks — can this be mere coincidence? Does this not suggest more than happenstance.
From In the School of Contemplation by Andre Louf:
The monk has received a certain experience of God and a taste of God that go far beyond the formulas that try to circumvent them. He also possesses, through prayer, a sense of the universal communion in Christ that exceeds the visible borders of the Churches such as they have become fixed after the wounds of the great schisms. He feels in a confused way that he must live within a certain ill-defined ecclesiological space, at a point where the partitions erected by the separation have not prevailed and where already those walls are yielding which, as Metropolitan Platon of Kiev said one day, certainly do not rise all the way to heaven.
Again, I do not have any of this figured out. Something tells me I don’t need to, nor should I try.
The second thing to arise was a poem by Thomas Merton. Again, I am not prepared to offer commentary. Simply the poem:
When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.
Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.
Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.
What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.
There is nothing more I care to say. I simply offer these words to you, trusting Wisdom will speak whatever needs to be said to your heart.
The quote by Andre Louf is from p. 128 of In the School of Contemplation, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 2015.
The poem by Thomas Merton was brought to my attention by Richard Rohr’s Meditation: First and Second Halves of Life, Part I for August 20, 2015 offered by The Center for Action and Contemplation.