I had my first encounter with Thomas Merton through the reading of his spiritual memoirs The Seven Storey Mountain. And through his writings and thoughts, the ordinary and flawed human being has spoken to me over all these years.
I guess I find I find comfort in the fact that Merton carried on, following his path toward God, even when he was thrown off course by his humanness. I look at Merton and see holiness wrapped in weakness, and isn’t that where most of us are?
After all, we are all called to be saints but more often than not, we get in our own way. Time and time again, our humanness throws us off track and causes us to stumble along. When I look at his life, I see so much of my own struggle as I attempt to draw closer to God. It seems that often times I take 1 step closer to God, mess up and then find myself going backwards a step or two.
It seems as If Merton is never really is far from my thoughts and his words still stir my heart. In his book, Thoughts in Solitude, Thomas Merton shares a prayer that is comforting and challenging at the same time. It is a prayer that reminds me Merton didn’t know were he was going but yet still had this deep abiding trust in God.
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 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 I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust You always though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
During the month of June, I am going to commit to pray this prayer daily as I seek the next step God wants me to take. Will you join me?