Wednesday, June 21, 2006

St. Anne's

The grace of St. Anne's has haunted me for days, since I first saw it 2-3 weeks ago. I spent time in the Intimate Merton reading sketches of St. Anne's
this evening.

He first goes there in February of 1953 and continues returning to at least March 19, 1958, the day after the 4th and Walnut experience.

Merton says, "How rich for me has been the silence of this little house, which is nothing more than a tool shed." Boy that is the truth. What gets me is its meagerness and how excited Merton was to be there. "It seems to me that St. Anne's is what I have been waiting for all my life," he says.

To me, it is a rat infested one room building falling apart and then I
realize it was a sacred place for one of the greatest spiritual leaders
of all time.What does it take for me to have that much joy in such a simple place? I think that is the problem, everytime I review that picture of it I am caught in stunned awareness of the holiness there. It over comes me. I am awed. It drives me closer to a God of silence and love.

What about you? Have you ever been in a place like that?

13 Comments:

At 1:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A SPECIAL PLACE..........At Graymoor Garrison NY there is an old paint shed preserved by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. The first winter that the founder, Rev. Paul Watson, an Anglican priest at that time, spent on the hill, the new and present home of this community. It has a sacredness about it...as though a little of the holy man has been left behind. He prayed and fasted and delighted in his 'palace of lady poverty.' I feel that StAnne's must be very much like that...a little of Merton's ardor has been left behind.

 
At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHEN YOU KNEEL IN A SACRED PLACE....Years back, when I was only seventeen I had an very unusal experience. Iwas walking home, two miles away, as I passed a certain spot, I had a very strong desire to visit a church in that area, St Thomas the Apostle. My first thought was 'It is after nine PM and the doors will be locked.' "Go anyway' I was told. The door was locked as I expected. I decided to pray in the deep and darkened entrance way. No one walking by would see me but He would know I was there. A simple prayer to the Lord Christ Who left us such a Treasure in His Holy Sacrament, 'the Bread come down from Heaven.'. As I got up to leave, I was a little surprised and frightened...a great flood of joy came over me and I wondered what that was about. I was blessed with a sacred encounter. I walked home, so full of happiness and thoughts about the gentle Christ of Calvary...my feet seemed not to touch the ground. That memory is fresh as yesterday even now.(61 years have passed) A blessing, a gift, an out pouring that washed over me. I thank God for it...it seemed like a peek into Heavn where such great joy awaits us all gathered around the throne of the Lamb.

 
At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO FIND THE GOD OF SILENCE AND LOVE.......Surely, He is not too hard to be found. What is needed is a whole hearted willingness to be still, to walk away from the stuff of life, and to wait for Him. He will not delay His coming. What a grace...when we leave all behind to simply relish His Sacred Presence. A gift...certainly not earned by us. "Lord, it is GOOD for us to be here..."

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERTON IN PRAYER...........We think of the quote: "As having nothing yet possessing all things...as poor yet enriching many..."

 
At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Ted said...

To me, a sacred place is a place where the silence is so loud that it deafens you, and the solitude bares down on you as a heavy weight.

 
At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERTON SACRED SPACE.........To take hold of Him only to find that He has grasped us first...In silence that is not empty...In solitude that is not lonely...In emptyness that is somehow full...to lose oneself but yet to find self in Him...to be so poor but yet so rich...to give so little and to receive so much...to let Him be Lord, the most desired One....

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERTON AND SACRED SPACE......I am reminded of an incident, years back. It was summer and evening. I was walking along the shores of a beautiful lake. Great time for prayer, I thought. At that time, I thought prayer was 'reading your lists for God' ( like maybe He needs someone to read for Him or maybe He needs an explanation of the prayer hopes). Very clearly, the words 'Be still' came to me. I thought about that....prayer is good and I am supposed be quiet??? I started my very wordy prayers once more. Again, an inner voice "Be still...I am writing upon your heart.' I asked what are You writing? ' 'Not for you to know at this time. Be still...let silence be your prayer.' Never forgot this experience. It was the start of learning that God wants us to draw near in deep faith...lists are not needed...fancy words are not required... "It is YOU I love, not your WORDS!"

 
At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERTON AND SACRED SPACE.......Psalm 60:5,6 "Lord, let me dwell forever in Thy tabernacle and let me be sheltered under the shadow of Thy wings. Forever, I will sing Thy praise..." Imagine the moments spent in that holy place in deepst meditation...think of the insights given in prayer that were later written in his books and shared with all who would read them...consider the calling of God and his response.

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERTON AND GOD'S PRESENCE......Imagine what special moments were spent in that little place. There is a saying about 'thin places.' What it means is this: God is everywhere in His creation BUT there are places where He is more easily found...a 'thin place'where you might press your hand against a thin veil and feel a hand pressing back. I like to think that he relished the treasure of this little 'thin place.' And it was a delight for him and for his Lord as well.

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Bryan said...

For me, Gethsemani as a whole is like that for me. A special place.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERTON AND HIS HOUSE OF PRAYER....As he prayed in his special little hermitage he MIGHT have said somethings like this: 'Lord I come with emptyness for You to fill...with dryness for Your morning dew...with love for You to multiply...with ingorance for Your instruction...with poverty for Your wealth...with impatience to be calmed...with hope to be fufilled. Thanks be to Thee, my Divine Guest.'

 
At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TREASURE..."The silence of this little house...like all my life I have been waiting for"....Merton's words about the StAnne experience. His love of prayer and simplicity is evident. He rejoices in the 'desert' where He can be alone with God.

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merton once said: "Funny, but along time ago, when I first came here to Gethsemani, I said that this place is the center of America. I had wondered then just was keeping the whole universe from cracking into pieces and falling apart. It is places like this Monastery... I believe it then , and I believe it now... even moreso."

(A Song for Nobody p.75, Ron Seitz)

St. Ann , a perfect Garden of Eden, separated from the pangs of life, guarded by an Angel from this crazy fast paced secular world.

Thanks Dan. Your inspiring words of wisdom brings my fast paced smart mouth back to reality.

Anthony Palevo

 

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