Monday, June 06, 2005

Merton and M the nurse

In his later life Thomas Merton fell in love with a nurse. He was 51 and she in her 20s.It was a tremendous crisis for him. Marriage or monkhood? What a choice.

His life was in turmoil. He could not stop thinking about her. "Just walking around trying to collect my thoughts is not much help. They all tend to be about her and I become desperately lonely."

So how does he deal with it? "All I can think of is to pray for her as earnestly and honestly as possible and leave the rest to God."

Do you ever have difficulty praying?


At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, I remember this incident so clearly in his biography and some subsequent reading I've done--and I know that even monastics have mid-life crises. I had a parish priest, probably 70 at the time, who fell madly in love with a married friend of mine. It was so out of character for this man, who went to seminary in Ireland as the eldest son when he was about 13. Are there journals that have more details about his love affair?

At 3:27 AM, Anonymous Sherri said...

I noticed a tv program the other day that mentioned that (for whatever reason) women in their 20's - who have affairs with men twice their age - always choose a man noted for his wealth, power and/or success. ALWAYS! Perhaps this M. was "truly" in love with Merton's "person" (and not his fame - or worse yet, was not paid or provoked to seduce him) but notice that later she married a doctor (the aspiration of many "successful" nurses?)...and let's not forget that this young "virtuous" woman begged a man - a man who was twice her age, that she had met only a few months earlier - to have sex with her.
What would the "average" man in a mid-life crisis have done? There was no question of adultery here, as she was not married....

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Roberto said...

Actually the whole deal is kind of unrealistic and goofy to me.

Like you can take a monk (or any other biologically fit person) out of a strict cloister.
Then get an attractive young person (of course of the other gender!) to administer him daily massages, nonetheless pretending that there would be absolutely no "agitation" at all.

Of course my opinion is that we should resist temptations, but we should also pay attention to avoid unnecessary and obvious ones.
Using more prudence, could avoid problems.


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