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Thomas Merton’s Prayer

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Thomas Merton may be one of the best known Christian mystics of the 20th century.  He was a Trappist monk who experienced life in period few of us know or remember.  He was born in 1915 and died way too soon, by electricution, in 1968, in Thailand.  He was 53 years old.

Despite his shortened life Merton authored about 70 books.  His words and poetry have had an enduring influence on Christians and others who are delving deeply into the contemplative life. merton-photo

I came across the prayer below the other day. I thought I’d share it with you because we are all on a difficult, spiritual journey and knowing and doing God’s will seems so elusive.  Read it as Merton wrote it, as a contemplative prayer.  I do not know the attribution, that is, where it first appeared in print.  If you can point me that direction, I’d be grateful.

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 that 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 that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road
although I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I 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 will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton

 

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1 Comment

  1. johntjeffery says:

    According to James Martin (and many others) it is from Merton’s “Thoughts in Solitude” (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1956, 1958). See Trent Gilliss, “Thomas Merton’s Prayer That Anyone Can Pray” (28 DEC 2014), on On Being at https://onbeing.org/blog/thomas-mertons-prayer-that-anyone-can-pray/ [accessed 27 JUN 2017]. “Thoughts in Solitude” is on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Thoughts-Solitude-Thomas-Merton/dp/0374513252 [accessed 27 JUN 2017]. I haven’t come up with the specific page number(s) yet.

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