Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thomas Merton Memorial Day

Thomas Merton Memorial Day- 

Several years ago several of us online began a day of retreat on December 10th in reference to Thomas Merton. He entered The Abbey of Gethsemani on December 10, 1941, and died in Thailand on December 10, 1968. The significance to this date is important to many of us. So today, in memory of Thomas Merton, we have a day dedicated to his memory. Having an online retreat seems appropriate at this time.

Enclosed is a previous format of this retreat, using the seven hours of prayer used by the monks at Gethsemani, Merton's home monastery.


You can use a previous retreat if you like and add to it as appropriate. Its location is:

Or  you can use your own reflections from Merton's readings, using your own Merton library, and please journal your entries. On facebook you can journal your entries if you like or add to this blog.

I am so thankful for Thomas Merton. Without his spiritual direction I would never have had the opportunities I have been given. I am thankful for that. THANK YOU FATHER! for placing him as a mentor in my life.

As this is a day of retreat with Merton the following are listed as prayer hours, or minutes. You may vary as you like.
7  am vigils and lauds
9 am- Terce
12- Sext
5 pm - Vespers
Bedtime - Compline


Facebook: Facebook/brodanphillips


At 7:15 AM, Blogger Dan said...

FROM JIM FOREST PERSONAL FRIEND OF MERTON. POSTED 12-10-2011 On this day in 1941 Thomas Merton arrived at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani and on this day in 1968 he died in Thailand while participating in a conference of Benedictine and Trappist monks. In the 27 years between those two events he wrote a succession of books which have touched many lives. The best known is his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. Others that remain in print include Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Raids on the Unspeakable, Wisdom of the Desert, and New Seeds of Contemplation. A prayer he wrote has been widely used:

A letter he sent to a young peace activist, Jim Forest, has also frequently reprinted:

“Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.

“You are fed up with words, and I don't blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes. I am also, to tell the truth, nauseated by ideals and with causes. This sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean. It is so easy to get engrossed with ideas and slogans and myths that in the end one is left holding the bag, empty, with no trace of meaning left in it. And then the temptation is to yell louder than ever in order to make the meaning be there again by magic. Going through this kind of reaction helps you to guard against this. Your system is complaining of too much verbalizing, and it is right.

“The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen, and we can share in them; but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important.

“The next step in the process is for you to see that your own thinking about what you are doing is crucially important. You are probably striving to build yourself an identity in your work, out of your work and your witness. You are using it, so to speak, to protect yourself against nothingness, annihilation. That is not the right use of your work. All the good that you will do will come not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God's love. Think of this more, and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you can be more open to the power that will work through you without your knowing it.

“The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth: and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ's truth, you will be able to do more and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration and confusion ... .

“The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do His will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it beforehand ...

“Enough of this ... it is at least a gesture ... I will keep you in my prayers.

“All the best, in Christ, Tom”

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