Merton’s Prayers: December 19, 1939

“Now we faithful glorify 

the Holy Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit 

and we give this triune Lord 

all the taste of the salt 

all the love of the heart

 all the fervor of the soul for ever and ever.” [1]

Merton ends a short story he has been writing with a long hymn that a hermit composed and sang while playing a violin. It is a long poem that resonates as a prayer in many places.

Taken as-a-whole, it is Merton’s way of commending prayer as an expression of total devotion to God, devotion given not just by human beings but (as the hymn reveals) expressed by everyone and everything. It is what we mean when we say, “All nature sings.”  

We need prayers of rejoicing. Prayers of the faithful should exude celebration, and as Merton’s prayer shows, our praise can be directed to all three persons of the Holy Trinity. When we find ourselves in “praise mode,” we can include the prayer practice of adoring the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And maybe like Merton’s hermit in his short story, we can pray by singing and with a violin!

[1] Thomas Merton, ‘Run to the Mountain: The Story of Vocation’ (HarperCollins, 1995). By referencing the date, you can find the prayer in any version of the journal you have.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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