Day 18 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 18

Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you may never find it.

— Thomas Merton in Turning Toward the World: The Pivotal Years edited by Victor A. Kramer

Today: Benedictines believe that we come into the fullness of our humanity by living in community with others. That may manifest itself in a relationship, a monastic setting or even in a college dorm. And for the most part, none of us escape all forms of community living. Merton speaks of solitude as a means to deepen the present. If we come into the fullness of our humanity in community, what fullness do we experience in our solitude?

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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2 Responses to Day 18 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

  1. sue day says:

    Thank you God for listening………………..

  2. Deacon Greg says:

    I think back to the Gospel reading for last Sunday, Mark 6:7-13, about Jesus sending the Apostles out in pairs. We have Benedict teaching us the importance of community life. We speak almost on a daily basis at the Emmaus Center and St. Michael Old Catholic Mission about the importance of relationships.
    Here though we see the wisdom of Merton talking about solitude as a deepening of the present.
    I’m not Merton scholar, but for me I can take the following from his thought for today. The idea of solitude – a state of being or living alone, doesn’t mean my isolation from family, community or friends. I think Merton is asking me to have a singular (a solitude) concentration on the Lord. I become weakest when I let my life drift away from God being the one and only thing in my life. I become distracted by the kingdom of the world, by family demands and my own wants and desires. It is when I enter back into a solitude mindset where God is the Past, Present and Future in my life that I’m able to focus on doing His will and not mine.
    Only when I have a solitude mind focused on God can I have a deepening understanding and acceptance of the presence of God.

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