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a monk’s praise

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Following yesterday’s ‘post from the farm’ (see below), I looked to see what the late Thomas Merton thought about silence and nature. Here is the opening of a prayer he wrote on the eve of Pentecost Sunday. He did so at a different time of year (fifty days after Easter) and place (his monastery in Kentucky), but still …

“Today, Father, the blue sky lauds You. The delicate green and yellow flowers of the tulip poplar tree praise you. The distant blue hills praise you, together with the sweet-smelling air that is full of brilliant light. The bickering flycatchers praise with the lowing* cattle and the quails that whistle over there. I, too, Father praise you with all these my brothers, and they give voice to my own heart and to my own silence. We are all one silence and a diversity of voices.” 

source: Merton, T. (1966). Conjectures of a guilty bystander. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday. *I didn’t know that “lowing” meant “to moo.”


One response »

  1. i know at least one reader who trips over the religious words, such as Father, and God. The moment those words appear, she tunes out (put mildly).

    There’s another way to read this prayer: as one man’s expression of awe and humility. Words are mere words … it is the reader who attaches meaning.

    Much love, p.


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