Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When the Soul of the Serene Disciple

On Tuesday mornings, while I am in PA, I join a local group of people for centering prayer.  After praying, we listen to CDs (or watch DVDs) of spiritual teachers.  This morning, I heard Richard Rohr, while speaking of the further journey, describe the four stages of life as depicted in the windows of Hindu church: (1) the student, (2) the householder, (3) the forest dweller who gives up the status quo, and (4) the wise sage.  He followed with this poem by Thomas Merton:

When the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say
the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer
any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo
with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a momorandum.

There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary
is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without vision.

-Thomas Merton


  1. "Whereof one cannot speak..."

  2. Thanks for the posting, Beth. It certainly resonates with my own spiritual experience of the last few years. When one's path diverges from that which others had projected for it,"Stars, as well as friends, Are angry with the noble ruin. Saints depart in several directions."


  3. Alas

    good stuff

    When the Saints run away from you
    the Devil also flees A-men



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