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Words of Wisdom

Connecting with God: From “Thoughts in Solitude” by the Reverend Thomas Merton (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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Today, we will present selections from Thomas Merton’s book, “Thoughts in Solitude,” where the wise Reverend explains his love for God and the importance of prayer.

The Love of Solitude Chapter 10 “Let this be my only consolation, that wherever I am, You, my Lord, are loved and praised. The trees indeed love You without knowing You. The tiger lilies and corn flowers are there, proclaiming that they love You, without being aware of Your presence. The beautiful dark clouds ride slowly across the sky musing on You like children who do not know what they are dreaming of, as they play. But in the midst of them all, I know You, and I know of Your presence. In them and in me I know of the love which they do not know, and, what is greater, I am abashed by the presence of Your love in me. The love, that You have given me, and which could never be in my heart if You did not love me! Remembering that I have been a sinner, I will love You in spite of what I have been, knowing that my love is precious because it is Yours, rather than my own. Precious to You because it comes from Your own Son, but precious even more because it makes me Your son.”

Chapter 11 “Vocation to Solitude – To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over that land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labor and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars. This is a true and special vocation.”

Chapter 12 “The solitary life is above all a life of prayer. We do not pray for the sake of praying, but for the sake of being heard. We do not pray in order to listen to ourselves praying but in order that God may hear us and answer us. Also, we do not pray in order to receive just any answer: it must be God’s answer. Therefore, a solitary will be a man who is always praying, and who there is always intent upon God, solicitous for the purity of his own prayer to God, careful not to substitute his own answers for God’s answers, careful not to make prayer an end in itself, careful to keep his prayer hidden and simple and clean.”
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