Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Faith rooted in the unknown

This week's quote from the Merton Institute:

[Christmas Letter, 1966] Most of you, even with all that you have to suffer, are much better off than you realize. Yet the heart of man can be full of so much pain, even when things are exteriorly "all right". It becomes all the more difficult because today we are used to thinking that there are explanations for everything. But there is no explanation for most of what goes on in our own hearts, and we cannot account for it all. No use resorting to mental tranquilizers that even religious explanations sometimes offer. Faith must be deeper than that, rooted in the unknown and in the abyss of darkness that is the ground of our being. No use teasing the darkness to try to make answers grow out of it. But if we learn how to have a deep inner patience, things solve themselves, or God solves them if you prefer, but do not expect to see how. Just learn to wait, and do what you can and help other people.

Thomas Merton. The Road to Joy, Robert E. Daggy, editor (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989): 94.

Thought for the Day

Often in helping someone else we find the best way to bear with our own trouble.

The Road to Joy: 94.


  1. Your blog is fantastic. I have been a "Fr. Louie" fan for a long time and I so enjoy reading your posts.

    Interesting words here "But if we learn how to have a deep inner patience, things solve themselves, or God solves them if you prefer."

    This past October I made my yearly retreat at a trappit monastery in the northeast. I arrived a bit early. When I rang the retreat house bell, Fr."A" answered the door. He was very kind, wanting to help me carry my bags to my room.
    It was early, so the retreat house was very quiet. Father wanted to talk so we sat down - probably for forty five minutes. He had been a Trappist for 51 years!

    Then he looked at me and shared some personal information. When he was in his 50's, had a mid-life crisis. I said to myself, what is he going to say - that he wanted to run away with a nun? or he had an affair?

    No - none of those things.

    He seriously thought about leaving the trappists,

    and becoming a...


    But then, he came back to his senses.... go figure....

  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Brian.

    Seems like a lot of Trappists think that the Carthusians have greener grass :-) Merton certainly struggled with that for a number of years!


The Good Shepherd’s commitments to us

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