Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Last Communion

Brother Patrick Hart and Thomas Merton on Sept. 9, 1968: 'Merton remembered that he had some unused film in his camera, and so he began at once taking pictures of the three of us. We took turns with the camera so that we had photographs taken with him in front of the hermitage and in the surrounding woods.'

Brother Patrick Hart’s 40 year reflection of a last Mass with Merton was published in the Courier Journal last week.

... We all joined in the Prayers of the Faithful; Phil read the Epistle, and Merton read the beautiful Gospel narrative of the Good Samaritan, after which he surprised us with a brief but deeply moving homily. He compared himself to "the traveler" who had been attacked by robbers on the road to Jericho, and was then left half dead along the way. He went on to describe how each of us in our own way had been Good Samaritans to him, helping him "to get out of the ditch." He embarrassed us by expressing his appreciation for all we had done for him and concluded by saying he was offering this Mass for our intentions. Before Communion he embraced each of us with the "Kiss of Peace." We received under both Species, and I remember he addressed us personally, using our first names: "The Body of the Lord, Phil, etc." It was as beautiful and as meaningful a Mass as I have ever experienced. ...
The entire reflection is published in the Courier Journal.

Brother Patrick Hart, Thomas Merton and Brother Maurice Flood - photo taken by Philip Stark.

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