December 9, 2011

Brother Louis (Thomas Merton) 12.10

Gracious God, you called your monk Thomas Merton to proclaim your justice out of silence, and moved him in his contemplative writings to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others: Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Merton was a major influence in my life, in a number of ways. Most importantly, he began to introduce some of the ideas that would merge into what is sometimes called “the new monasticism” — of which my own community is but one example of new models that emerged in the late 60s in response to a new wave of spiritual hunger, of which Merton was part of the avant garde. In my own thinking, his Contemplation in a World of Action formed a very important part of my coming to seek to follow a life of Christian service and devotion.

Merton lived in tension with the model of monasticism to which he made his commitment. His human frailty makes him, to my mind, all the more important in that witness.

Thank you, Brother Louis, for all you have meant and done for so many.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
ikon from the "quick ikons" series

15 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, the icon us very fine and plainly from your heart. Merton was a major influence in my life, too, beginning with The Seven Storey Mountain, on through many of his later books.

My faith grew deeper after reading TSSM, the book that he disliked so in his later life. His story was what I needed at the time I read it, either in late high school or early university years.

His prayer below remains amongst my favorites.

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thank you, Mimi. That is a beautiful prayer, and a comfort to me in the past...

JCF said...

HUGELY influential to me, too.

Even when I first read 7SM (c. ~age 19), it wasn't uncritically (I cracked up when he said that, in his hindsight, the French peasants out-arguing his *12 year-old self* was proof of their RC faith! ;-X).

Nevertheless, the integrity of his faith (both when he was infatuated w/ RCism, and later when the, um, marriage became troubled), have been a bedrock for me, for the language of faith.

When I'm in one of my Anglo-Catholic moods, I go back to his 7SM line, "Above all, I wanted to be a good Catholic."

And when I'm in one of my WTF moods (more often!), I think of his classic prayer (from "Waters of Siloe", I think?) "My Lord, I do not know where I am going . . . but I trust that the desire to please you DOES in fact please you."

Holy Thomas, pray for us (Pray for me!)

JCF said...

Ooops, I see Mimi quoted the prayer already! :-0 ["Wot Mimi Said": I should just repeat that, always. ;-/]

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, JCF. A man who meant much to many, clearly...

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, are your icons for sale?

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Dear Mimi, thanks for posting my icon at your blog. As to sale... I did do one icon for commission, and am working on another, but apart from that I hadn't thought much about entering the commercial realm. As I write the icons primarily for my own spiritual exercise -- apart from the ones that are commissioned, and even then I hope to reap some spiritual benefit from the work! -- I'd not really thought all that much on those terms. I do make the images available for reproduction via Winkflash, when folks request them.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, I've wanted to ask for quite a while, and so I finally did. If you'd like to put the Merton icon on Winkflash, that would be lovely.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Mimi, I've added a hi-res version of the file to the Winkflash public account. It looks like the flat-edged wall plaque would produce a nice result. Enjoy! And thanks for asking....

Grandmère Mimi said...

Thanks, Tobias. I'm much obliged.

Jim said...

I think it is a magnificent tribute to a magnificent person. He was and remains a major influence in my life.

FWIW
jimB

Brother David said...

WinkFlash?

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks Mimi, Jim. Br David, Some of my icons are available as prints at Winkflash, an online photo printing service, in my public folder. If one of my other icons you like isn't there, just let me know and I'll upload it. You can order mugs, mouse-pads, posters, whatever to promote greater awareness of the saints of God.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, I did the copy on photo quality paper, and I have a nice print. Thanks for the link, because after I registered at Winkflash, I could not figure out a way to get to your pictures.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Hi, Mimi, glad you were able to print out a good print. I'm not sure how to get from an account to someone else's public folder. My "id" at Winkflash is "jintoku" so maybe that's how. I'll have to look into that. I'm without full access at the moment. ;-(