Merton on Falling Through the Roof

Thomas Merton was an Trappist monk, mystic, and writer who shaped modern American Catholicism. He lived in Kentucky for most of his life.

In the afternoon I went out to the old horse barn with the Book of Proverbs and indeed the whole Bible, and I was wandering around in the hayloft, where there is a big gap in the roof. One of the rotting floorboards gave way under me and I nearly feel through.
gingrich-farm-crop2 Afterwards I sat and looked out at the hills and the gray clouds and couldn’t read anything. When the flies got too bad, I wandered across the bare pasture and sat over by the enclosure wall, perched on the edge of a ruined bathtub that has been placed there for the horses to drink out of. A pipe comes through the wall and plenty of water flows into the bathtub from a spring somewhere in the woods, and I couldn’t read there either. I just listened to the clean water flowing and looked at the wreckage of the horsebarn on top of the bare knoll in front of me and remained drugged with happiness and with prayer.–Thomas Merton

Entering the Silence, Journals Volume 1. Jonathan Montaldo, editor (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997, p 363)

An ‘Occupied Heart’

“Justify my soul, O God, but also from Your fountains fill my will with fire. Shine thom4in my mind, although perhaps this means ‘be darkness to my experience,’ but occupy my heart with Your tremendous Life. Let my eyes see nothing in the world but Your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for Your service. Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise Your great mercy. I will hear Your voice, and I will hear all the harmonies you have created singing your hymns. Sheep’s wool and cotton from the field shall warm me enough that I may live in Your service; I will give the rest to the poor. Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory.” –Thomas Merton

From New Seeds of Contemplation (New Directions Press, 1961, p. 44)