Posts by Sally

K is for Known

God is not fully known when He is only “known” by the understanding.
He is best known by us when He takes possession of our whole being and unites us to Himself.

Thomas Merton, Bread in the Wilderness


It is the “great mystery of Godliness” which occupies him (Saint Bernard) before all else.

What is that mystery?
Not an idea, not a doctrine, but a Person: God Himself, revealed in the Man, Christ.

How is this doctrine understood?
When the Person is known.

How is He known?
When loved.

How loved?
When He lives in us and is Himself our love for His Father.
Loving the Father in us, He makes us one with the Father as He Himself is.

Thomas Merton, Last of the Fathers


Known and loved

 

 

J is for Joyous

Going barefoot is a joyous thing.

Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration

To give the quote context, here’s the whole paragraph from a chapter called Ash Wednesday:

In some monastic communities, monks go up to receive the ashes barefoot. Going barefoot is a joyous thing. It is good to feel the floor or the earth under your feet. It is good when the whole church is silent, filled with the hush of men walking without shoes. One wonders why we wear such things as shoes anyway. Prayer is so much more meaningful without them. It would be good to take them off in church all the time. But perhaps this might appear quixotic to those who have forgotten such very elementary satisfaction. Someone might catch cold at the mere thought of it — so let’s return to liturgy.


Who can resist a bare baby foot?

Summer is for bare feet

G is for Glory

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation


Fall 1968

In the spring of 2012, my father’s home insurance company sent an inspector. As a result, the insurance company required two changes: part of the roof needed to be replaced and two trees needed to come down, one of them being the tree shown above.

The roof and the tree

Standing tall though stripped of its glory

May 2018 — the stump

“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.
I wish that I could
give you something…
But I have nothing left.
I am just an old stump.
I am sorry…”

Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

The flowers around (and on) the stump — August 2018

Well, an old stump is good for a garden.
Come, plant flowers and enjoy.

A purple coneflower gives glory to God by being a purple coneflower and a petunia gives glory to God by being a petunia.

F is for Fear

Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart.
It shrinks up our capacity to love.
It freezes up our power to give ourselves.

Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration

At the root of all war is fear.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

… and fear is a color. As soon as it touches our liberty, it stains it and renders it unlike to itself.

Thomas Merton, quoting St. Bernard in The Silent Life


Photo by Sam Zaengle