Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Photograph by Thomas Merton


  1. Beth, I am really enjoying these pictures. I never thought of this possibility - photography as a manifestation of contemplative prayer. When I take pictures, I am always thinking before hand, where to go to take the picture, what is the object, will others like it - black & white or color.

    Merton never did any of this - it was just what he looking at while he prayed. And the image became prayer. So - Merton's pictures are actually "icons."

    This is so cool - it changes everything (for me).

    Thomas Merton was such a talented man - what is it in some people that they have this gift.

  2. You're right, Brian, Merton's photos are prayers - icons, as you say. In some way, I sense that when Merton was looking at the buds (or branches, or roots), they became alive for him, very much Other, leading him into deeper places of himself while all the while being out there (if that makes any sense.)

    You have the gift too, Brian :-) ... everybody does.

    Some people (John Eudes Bamberger) say that Merton had the gift of "contemplative prayer". He was especially attuned to just being here, and the silence he listened to, he called God.

    Anybody can do this, I think. Perhaps the difference with Merton is he made it his first priority. His passion.

    I bet your photos take on a whole new dimension now! Even though I don't think that I take such great photos, I like wandering around with a camera, like Merton, and looking at things. It becomes a prayer.


The Stuff of Contemplation (Joan Chittister)

Thomas Merton, Trappist, died December 10, 1968 Thomas Merton entered the Abbey of Gethsemane in Bardstown, Kentucky, at the age of twenty-s...