Merton Threw Me A Curve!

Well, maybe it wasn’t so much Thomas Merton as it was the folk who edited together the talks on the audiobook.

One of the audiobooks available at Hoopla I mentioned last week was Thomas Merton on Contemplation. I decided to start my Lenten “retreat” with Merton by listening to it and started listening a few days ago.

So there I was, ready to get the “scoop” on contemplation from a master of the spiritual life and one of my heroes of the faith. And what do I hear but Merton talking about Abraham.

No – I wasn’t looking for a talk on Abraham but a talk on how I can “master” the skill of contemplation!

Ok, maybe that highlights the first thing I needed to notice. Rather than dictating what I expected to hear from Merton or trying to “force” his talks into a pattern I expected/wanted from him, I should rather learn to listen and rest with his words.

But what if I don’t want to rest. I want the “answer” right now!

Maybe I need a little humility too. Do I want to listen to Merton and let myself be guided by him or do I want to “be in charge” of my immersion into these talks?

The first talk on this audiobook is entitled “The Spiritual Journey.”

Merton suggests that the metaphor of journey is central to our understanding of the Chritian life and offers a pattern of spiritual life.

In this talk Merton spends time with the Scriptural accounts of Abraham found both in Genesis and The Epistle to the Hebrews.

What held my attention as I listened and still echoes in my mind is God’s call to Abraham to “leave where you are and go to where I will show you.”

Abraham is asked to leave a place of security, to move into insecurity, to become a nomad as he walks into the hope of a promised homeland.

Then it hit me!

This is a great image for our days of Lent.

Walk toward the promise. Live into the insecurities and let the path unfold.

So, while I plan to walk with Merton this Lent, I will listen to what he can offer rather than attempt to “force” my expectations into his talks.

What do you hope for Lent? How do you want to walk into this season that leads us to the promise of Easter?

Don’t hold too tight to your expectations. Allow those moments of grace to surprise you.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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