I have decided to read Thomas Merton’s journals. They are available in a multi-volume edition. I have no timeline for completing this. It is more a meandering pace. So, it will take quite a while to finish. But that’s okay.
The first volume, entitled ‘Run to the Mountain,’ covers the years before Merton entered Gethsemani. It is the record of a young man full of life and interested in many things.
Besides revealing Merton’s ecclectic personality and his ability to reflect extensively on all sorts of ideas and events, his journals are reminders that the “present moment” is the doorway to discovery. Often, what seems to be insignificant turns out to yield “a treasure hidden in the field.” But if Merton had passed over the moment, he would not have found the treasure.
Similarly, our attentiveness to the simplest things is the precursor to wonder. In that sense we learn the sacredness of all of life. Every moment focuses us, and when blurriness becomes sight, insight is often just around the corner.
Merton’s journals are reminding me that there is nothing that I think, say, or do where God is not present, and sometimes I am attentive enough to see God jumping out from behind a tree of hiddenness to say, “Look over here!”
Steve. I have done this as a spiritual practice every couple of years and found it deeply meaningful.. Merton’s sense of place, his commitment to grace and wonder and ‘seeing’ him struggle with life’s vagaries has made a huge difference in my life and ministry. Enjoy! Kelli