What about distractions in prayer?- from "Hidden in the Same Mystery - Thomas Merton and Loretto", pp. 31-32
"I used to try to pray by shutting out everything, and that was nice, but, of course, I was a novice. There used to be a man that lived down the back road, and I remember that the best part of my novitiate thanksgiving was this man going to work at the distillery. Every morning as he went down the back road, he whistled the same sort of tune, one of his own tunes, and you'd hear him coming. He always came at the same time, and for some reason or another, that was a wonderful thing in that thanksgiving. Here was the world. Here was this lonely man on the back road, and it meant a great deal.
Merton goes on to draw another example from nature:
"Our place at Gethsemani is full of birds. You simply listen to every one of the birds individually, which is heresy according to the spiritual books, for it's a deliberate distraction. Actually, it's a wonderful thanksgiving, because who made those birds, and who put them there, and who is making them sing, and who is the source of their life? It is the one who is in my heart and is the source of my life, and I'm one with all those things.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Prayer is distraction
After Merton spoke to the novices at Loretto on May 15, 1963, he encouraged them to ask questions or offer comments:
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