|Loretto Motherhouse, Nerinx KY - photo by Patricia Drury|
This was the simple message that Merton brought to the Sisters of Loretto. On several occasions Merton spoke to the novices at the nearby Loretto motherhouse as a gesture of friendly sharing. The topic was prayer and his advice was simple and useful. The following is transcribed from a talk he gave on a spring morning in 1963:
"Don't let your prayer be a fight against reality. And the first reality you've got is yourself, and that's where prayer begins. It begins with you and you don't have to go from you to God, because God is in you. All you've got to do is to stay where you are. You don't have to get out of this "base, earthly being" which you are and climb Jacob's ladder and get way up in heaven where God is, because if you do that, you'll never pray. You couldn't pray.
"You have to start where you are and stay with it, because God is in you as you are, and doesn't expect you to be any other than you are, except that there is a change that God is going to make in your life. But you have to learn how to get together with God in your life so that this change can be made."
- from "Hidden in the Same Mystery - Thomas Merton and Loretto", p. 25 from the Talk of Father Louis to Novices and Postulants, May 15, 1963