Jonathan Montaldo collected the notes and passages – the “marginalia” - that Merton made in his 1966 British edition of the book. Montaldo’s research shows that Merton was mainly interested in the sayings of Theophan the Recluse, a 19th century Russian saint who is especially known for his instructive writing on prayer.
I got an email today alerting me to a missive from the Vatican urging tourists to forego energy intensive vacations in the interest of a greener planet.
I immediately thought of the following saying of Theophan the Recluse, as noted in Merton’s marginalia:
“For someone who has not yet found the way to enter within himself, pilgrimages to holy places are a help. But for him who has found it they are a dissipation of energy, for they force him to come out from the innermost part of himself. IT IS TIME FOR YOU NOW TO LEARN MORE PERFECTLY HOW TO REMAIN WITHIN. YOU SHOULD ABANDON YOUR EXTERNAL PLANS.”
[Underline and capitalization are Merton's.]