Thursday, December 09, 2004

Thomas Merton

Today (Dec. 10) is also the anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton.

So this seems appropriate:

The sermon I gave [at the conference on monasticism on the morning after Merton's death) was a moment of talking about Merton's search for God. When a monk enters a monastery, what is asked of him is "Are you truly seeking God?" The question isn't "Have you found God?" The question is "Is he seeking God? Is his motivation highly involved in that search of who and what God is in relation-ship to us?" It's not philosophical-it's existential. And Merton, to me, was a great searcher. He was constantly unhappy, as all great searchers are. He was constantly ill at ease, he was constantly restless, as all searchers are-because that's part of the search. And in that sense he was the perfect monk. Contemplation isn't satisfaction-it's search.

Rembert Weakland, from Merton: By Those Who Knew Him Best, Paul Wilkes, ed. Harper & Row, 1984.

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