LENTEN READING 4

THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT.  Yesterday—more truly spring, and this is a spring dawn today, cold, but with birds singing. First time I have heard the whistling of the towhee this year. And the cardinals up in the woods to the west. The promise grows more and more definite. I look up at the morning star: in all this God takes His joy, and in me also, since I am His creation and His son, His redeemed, and member of His Christ. Sorrow at the fabulous confusion and violence of this world, which does not understand His love—yet I am called not to interpret or condemn this misunderstanding, only to return the love which is the final and ultimate truth of everything, and which seeks all men’s awakening and response. Basically I need to grow in this faith and this realization, not only for myself but for all men. To go out to walk slowly in this wood—this is a more important and significant means to understanding, at the moment, than a lot of analysis and a lot of reporting on the things “of the spirit.”

The blue elm tree near at hand and the light blue hills in the distance: the red bare clay where I am supposed to plant some shade trees: these are before me as I sit in the sun for a free half hour between spiritual direction and work. Today, as I sit in the sun, big blue and purple fish swim past me in the darkness of my empty mind, this sea which opens within me as soon as I close my eyes. Delightful darkness, delightful sun, shining on a world which, for all I care, has already ended. It does not occur to me to wonder whether we will ever transplant the young maples from the wood, yonder, to this bare leveled patch—the place where the old horse barn once stood. It does not occur to me to wonder how everything came to be transformed. I sit on a cedar log half chewed by some novice’s blunt axe, and do not reflect on plans I have made for this place of prayer, because they do not matter. They will happen when they happen. The hills are as pure as jade in the distance. God is in His transparent world, but He is too sacred to be mentioned, too holy to be observed.  I sit in silence. -- Thomas Merton