Happy birthday, Thomas Merton

Fr. Dan Horan notes that today would have been the great writer’s 99th birthday, and quotes from Merton’s journal on his last birthday, in 1968:

Clear, thin new moon appearing and disappearing between slow slate blue clouds – and the living black skeletons of the trees against the evening sky. More artillery than usual whumping at [Fort] Knox. It is my fifty-third birthday.

Merton noted his birth differently in The Seven Storey Mountain. He begins the story of his life this way:

On the last day of January 1915, under the sign of the Water Bearer, in a year of a great war , and down in the shadow of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into the world.  Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God and yet hating Him; born to love Him, living instead in fear and hopeless self-contradictory hungers.

God bless you, Fr. Louis.  And thank you.

Paying a visit to Thomas Merton’s hermitage at the Abbey of Gethsemane in 2004.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!


Homily for November 1, 2015: All Saints Day
Why don't they write hymns like this anymore?
Citing Merton and Day, Pope Francis once again turns attention to the peripheries
Thomas Merton's love life to be made into a movie