Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A homeless God, lost in the night (The Advent Project)

Thank you to all readers who encouraged and accompanied me on the louie Advent project, pairing Merton's words (mostly from his poetry collection) with NASA photos from outer space.

As one reader noted, Merton was a "writing machine", and the photos evoked sentiments that Merton seemed to capture repeatedly.  One of my biggest problems was choosing just one poem from many that seemed appropriate.  I didn't go about this in any organized way, and many times I couldn't find again a writing that I found while perusing the huge collection of poetry.  That was frustrating

I may re-visit these photos and Merton writings, so I'm thinking of this project as a kind of "first draft".

I usually looked at the photo first, then explored Merton's poetry to find words that somehow "fit" the photo.  However, there was poem that I came upon repeatedly, but no photo ever appeared that captured the essence of the words:

The shadows fall.  The stars appear.  The birds begin,
     to sleep.
Night embraces the silent half of the earth.
A vagrant, a destitute wanderer with dusty feet, finds his
     way down a new road.
A homeless God, lost in the night, without papers,
     without identification,
without even a number, a frail expendable exile
lies down in desolation under the sweet stars of the world
and entrusts Himself to sleep.

-Thomas Merton,  "Hagia Sophia" IV Sunset, The Hour of Compline, Salve Regina, Collected Poems, p. 369
I may have to peruse the NASA photos and see if there is one that finds this homeless and lost God.

Merry Christmas to everyone.  Thank you.


  1. greetings beth *

    lots of work on your part
    good stuff good job

    blessings *

  2. Filled with Gratitude to have come along on this journey you created! Will be re-reading too! Happy Happiness!

  3. It's been quite a while since I've visited your blog. Beth. Love the NASA photos you've posted for your Advent project. I haven't read the accompanying poems of Merton yet, though. (Will definitely take the time to read all the posts of your Advent project.)

    The only thought that comes to me as I look at these beautiful photos are these verses from Psalm 8:

    "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
    what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?"

    Thank you, Beth, for sharing...

    ~ Matt

    1. thanks, Matt. Hope all is well with you.


God speaks

God speaks, and God is to be heard, not only on Sinai, not only in my own heart, but in the voice of the stranger. — Thomas Merton, Emble...