I watched a film biography of Thomas Merton last night while I was folding laundry. I like to watch slow, thoughtful things while I do menial tasks, and I will sometimes save up all my laundry to fold when there’s a short movie or something on TV I want to catch- something that I can listen to and fold at the same time.
I’ve always been attracted to Merton because of his earthy, practical and deep sense of life. His spirituality transcended his Trappist Monastic situation and embraced all forms of life and prayer: Hindu, Buddhist, Islam/Sufi, Native American to mention a few. Plus, he was a poet, a really excellent poet- and much of my inspiration poetically comes from him, Auden and William Stafford.
His Prayer of Abandonment has always been a favorite of mine, and after hearing a monk read it again last night, I was moved to post it here because it works on so many levels. It still speaks to me, maybe it will speak to you.
Wishing you a peace-filled weekend,
Thomas Merton’s Prayer of Abandonment
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 you
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