Last weekend, my wife and I visited a Benedictine Priory. We were able to attend the nightly Compline service they had, which is a nightly music service meant for meditation and evening prayers to end the day of work in which the monks have labored.
At the priory, my thoughts turned to Thomas Merton, one of my favorite authors. I’ve made no secret of my affection for the writings of C.S. Lewis, and Merton is another in this line of spiritual thinkers that come from a different background than I do. Merton was a Trappist monk who wrote mostly in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s while at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. I was able to visit that Abbey on a tour with Anchors a few years ago and enjoyed celebrating the life of Merton and the heritage he left behind.
Thomas Merton was recognized in his own time as a great author and as a pioneer in dialogue between cultures, as he spoke with the Dalai Lama and other notable Eastern spiritualists. The author of over 70 books, Merton is still revered in the mystic Christian tradition and I continue to glean insights into my spiritual life from his thoughts and writings.
So I’ll end on a quote of his that relates to our field of experience (art):
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”