Newly added

POETRY: The Beautiful, Striped Sparrow, by Mary Oliver

In the afternoons, in the almost empty fields, I hum the hymns I used to sing in church. They could not tame me, so they would not keep me, alas, and how that feels, the weight of it, I will not tell any of you, not ever. Still, as they promised, God, once he is in your heart, is everywhere— so even here among the weeds and the brisk trees. How long does it take to hum a hymn? Strolling one or two acres of the sweetness or the world, not counting a lapse, now and again, of sheer emptiness. [...]
  • novena to our guardian angel
    Author unknown O Holy Angels, whom God, by the effect of his goodness and his tender regard for my welfare, has charged with the care of my conduct, and who assists me in all my wants, comforts me in all my afflictions, supports me when I am discouraged, and continually obtains for me new favors, I [...]
  • drug addiction
    (I collect prayers, and I’m especially fond of novenas.  I find them to be a very practical means of organizing thoughts and hopes.  A year or so ago, I was putting together a litany for parents with wayward children. It was dedicated to a woman who was going through a very bad time with her daughter, a young woman whose life was being slowly ruined because of her addiction to drugs.  I was shocked, and somewhat horrified, when I could not find a prayer concerning addiction, any kind [...]

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Thomas Merton

  • trappist cemetery

    POETRY: The Trappist Cemetery — Gethsemani, by Thomas Merton

    Brothers, the curving grasses and their daughters Will never print your praises: The trees our sisters, in their summer dresses, Guard your fame in these green cradles: The simple crosses are content to hide your characters. Oh do not fear The birds that bicker in the lonely belfry Will ever give away your legends. Yet when the sun, exulting like a dying martyr, Canonizes, with his splendid fire, the somber hills, Your graves all smile like little children, And your wise crosses trust the [...]
  • trappists working thomas merton

    POETRY: Trappists, Working, by Thomas Merton

    Now all our saws sing holy sonnets in this world of timber Where oaks go off like guns, and fall like cataracts, Pouring their roar into the wood’s green well. Walk to us, Jesus, through the wall of trees, And find us still adorers in these airy churches, Singing our other Office with our saws and axes. Still teach Your children in the busy forest, And let some little sunlight reach us, in our mental shades, and leafy studies. When time has turned the country white with grain And filled [...]
  • monk reading thomas merton

    POETRY: The Reader, by Thomas Merton

    Lord, when the clock strikes Telling the time with cold tin And I sit hooded in this lectern Waiting for the monks to come, I see the red cheeses, and bowls All smile with milk in ranks upon their tables. Light fills my proper globe (I have won light to read by With a little, tinkling chain) And the monks come down the cloister With robes as voluble as water. I do not see them but I hear their waves. It is winter, and my hands prepare To turn the pages of the saints: And to the trees Thy moon [...]
  • gethsemane thomas merton

    POETRY: Gethsemani, KY (selections), by Thomas Merton

    1 Spring has come with its smell of Nicaragua: Smell of earth recently rained on, and smell of heat, Of flowers, of disinterred roots, wet leaves, (And I have heard the lowing of distant cattle. . .) Or is it the smell of love? But this love Is not yours. Love of country, is the Dictator’s love The fat Dictator with his sports clothes and panama hat: He was the one who loved the country, stole it, And possessed it. In the earth he lies embalmed: While love has taken you away to a strange [...]
  • meditation thomas merton

    PRAYER: On Meditation, by Thomas Merton

    From Contemplative Prayer In meditation we do not seek to know about God as though he were an object like other objects which submit to our scrutiny and can be expressed in clear scientific ideas.  We seek to know God himself, beyond the level of all the objects which  he has made and which confront us as “things” isolated from one another, “defined,” “delimited,” with clear boundaries.  The infinite God has no boundaries and our minds cannot set limits [...]
  • contemplation thomas merton

    PRAYER: On Contemplation, by Thomas Merton

    From New Seeds of Contemplation Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive.  It is spiritual wonder.  It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being.  It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being.  It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent, and infinitely abundant Source.  Contemplation is, above all, awareness of the reality of that Source.  It knows the Source, [...]
  • heaven thomas merton

    HEAVEN: Perfect Joy, by Thomas Merton

    Here is how I sum it up: Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed, All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: “Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do.” Where is the man who can [...]
  • holy child

    POETRY: The Holy Child’s Song, by Thomas Merton

    When midnight occupied the porches of the Poet’s reason Sweeter than any bird He heard the Holy Child. Song “When My kind Father, kinder than the sun, With looks and smiles bends down And utters My bodily life, My flesh, obeying, praises Heaven like a smiling cloud. Then I become the laughter of the watercourses. I am the gay wheat fields, the serious hills: I fill the sky with words of light, and My incarnate songs Fly in and out the branches of My childish voice Like thrushes in a [...]
  • no room thomas merton

    CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: The Time Of No Room, by Thomas Merton

    He who has come to men dwells where we cannot tell nor sight reveal him, until the hour has struck when the small heart does break with hunger for him; those who do merit least, those whom no tongue does praise the first to know him, and on the face of the earth the poorest village street blossoming for him. So there was no room at the inn?  True!  But that is simply mentioned in passing, in a matter-of-fact sort of way, as the Evangelist points to what he really means us to see — the [...]
  • christmas carol thomas merton

    POETRY: Carol, by Thomas Merton

    Flocks feed by darkness with a noise of whispers, In the dry grass of pastures, And lull the solemn night with their weak bells. The little towns upon the rocky hills Look down as meek as children: Because they have seen come this holy time. God’s glory, now, is kindled gentler than low candlelight Under the rafters of a barn: Eternal Peace is sleeping in the hay, And Wisdom’s born in secret in a straw-roofed stable. And O! Make holy music in the stars, you happy angels. You [...]
  • christmas card thomas merton

    POETRY: A Christmas Card, by Thomas Merton

    When the white stars talk together like sisters And when the winter hills Raise their grand semblance in the freezing night, Somewhere one window Bleeds like the brown eye of an open force. Hills, stars, White stars that stand above the eastern stable. Look down and offer Him. The dim adoring light of your belief. Whose small Heart bleeds with infinite fire. Shall not this Child (When we shall hear the bells of His amazing voice) Conquer the winter of our hateful century? And when His Lady [...]
  • virgin mary thomas merton

    POETRY: The Blessed Virgin Mary Compared To A Window, by Thomas Merton

    Because my will is simple as a window And knows no pride of original birth, It is my life to die, like glass, by light: Slain in the strong rays of the bridegroom sun. Because my love is simple as a window And knows no shame of original dust, I longed all night, (when I was visible) for dawn my death: When I would marry day, my Holy Spirit: And die by transubstantiation into light. For light, my lover, steals my life in secret. I vanish into day, and leave no shadow But the geometry of my [...]
  • thomas merton

    POETRY: Death, by Thomas Merton

    In honor of the death of Thomas Merton. Where are the merchants and the money-lenders Whose love sang in the wires between the seaports and the inland granaries? Is the old trader any safer than the sailor sent to drown Crossing the world’s end in a wooden schooner? Where are the generals who sacked the sunny cities And burned the cattle and the grain? Or is the politician any safer in his offices Than a soldier shot in the eye? Take time to tremble lest you come without reflection To [...]
  • advent thomas merton

    POETRY: Advent, by Thomas Merton

    Charm with your stainlessness these winter nights, Skies, and be perfect! Fly vivider in the fiery dark, you quiet meteors, And disappear. You moon, be low to go down, This is your full! The four white roads make off in silence Towards the four parts of the starry universe. Time falls like manna at the corners of the wintry earth. We have become more humble than the rocks, More wakeful than the patient hills. Charm with your stainlessness these nights in Advent, holy spheres, While minds, as [...]
  • angry mist

    POETRY: The Victory, by Thomas Merton

    Sing your new song in the winepress where these bloody pence Weep from the skin of our Gethsemani, Knowing that we must die to break the seed our prison And spring like wheat from the wet earth Of who knows what arena: Sing when the grinding locks Break up our little cages, Casting our exultation in those mills of teeth To praise God with the great Ignatius Martyr. Smile in the white eyes of the angry mist For we have heard the thunder of the thousand harpers Outside a blinded window, There on [...]

A quote from Thomas Merton

In the deepest ground of our being we remain in metaphysical contact with the whole of that creation in which we are only small parts.

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Psalm 85

Lord, thou hast been favorable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.

4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

5 Wilt thou be angry with us forever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?

6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

7 Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring out of the Earth; and righteousness shall look down from Heaven.

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.