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 your will 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 (31 January 1915 – 10 December 1968) was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in the American state of Kentucky, Merton was an acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer, poet, author and social activist. Merton wrote over 60 books, scores of essays and reviews, and is the ongoing subject of many biographies. Merton was also a proponent of inter-religious dialogue, engaging in spiritual dialogues with the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and D. T. Suzuki. His life and career were suddenly cut short at age 53, when he was electrocuted stepping out of his bath.
As Eileen says: “he was da bomb!” I like that he was a regular guy with human faults and failings but he still had this incredible love for his Redeemer. He came into the world, like everyone else, captive to a tainted ancestry of human selfishness, greed, and violence that would inexorably graft itself unto his own heart. And I love the prayer which Eileen shares so freely on her blog (in case you missed the link the first time!) and which Merton shared with us.
Here’s what I like about it… In this phase of life, the human, walking on earth life, we don’t know what’s to come. Nor do we know that we’re doing it right. We can best guess it and try our best. This line brings tears to my eyes,
But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.
And the next line lays me out, face down on the ground, heaving huge sobs,
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.