Tuesday, May 8, 2007

point vierge

This week's Merton Institute Reflection is one of my favorite Merton readings, and I want to add it to this collection as well:

"The first chirps of the waking day birds mark the "point vierge" [the virgin point] of the dawn under a sky as yet without real light, a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence, when the Father in perfect silence opens their eyes. They begin to speak to Him, not with fluent song, but with an awakening question that is their dawn state, their state at the "point vierge." Their condition asks if it is time for them to "be." He answers "Yes." Then, they one by one wake up, and become birds. They manifest themselves as birds, beginning to sing. Presently they will be fully themselves, and will even fly.

"Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand. It is wide open. The sword is taken away, but we do not know it: we are off "one to his farm and another to his merchandise." Lights on. Clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves cooking. Electric shavers filling radios with static. "Wisdom," cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend."

Thomas Merton. Conjectures of A Guilty Bystander. New York: Doubleday, 1966: 131-132 Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968: 18-19

"The most wonderful moment of the day is when creation in its innocence asks permission to "be" once again, as it did on the first morning that ever was."

Conjectures of A Guilty Bystander: 131


  1. Whew! I love it!


  2. I can not believe this. I just read this quote today for the first time and am sharing it with a friend. When I googled "point vierge" your blog appeared! I will be following you closely!

  3. Actually, I can't figure out how to follow your blog. Hmmmmm.


  4. I've always loved this writing...and as with many other "Mertons" it wonderfully challenges me as he also refers to pointe vierge in another way....

    “Again, that expression, le point vierge (I cannot translate it), comes in here. At the center of our being is a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lies, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own of mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory God in us."

    Maybe they are the same...
    Tom B.


Lax photography

Robert Lax (1915-2000), Untitled, 1970s; black and white photograph, 11 x 17 inches; Robert Lax Archives. St. Bonaventure University ...