Monday, July 22, 2013

When in the Soul of the Serene Disciple

A poem by Thomas Merton

Maybe you read this years ago. I read it for the first time today. And, though I am no serene disciple, I resonate with this poem. It's found in Selected Poems of Thomas Merton. I read it in Richard Rohr's book, Falling Upward, a reflection on the spiritual journey in the second half of life.

When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.

What do you hear? What do you think?

John Franklin Hay
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

1 comment:

  1. A reflection of the evolution of my general church from the 30's , where need was rampant and resources found only in God to the present excess of comfort where we do not rely totally on HIM. "God lives in his emptiness like an affliction."
    On a personal note, I am checking my roof lest I have no house tomorrow.
    Thanks. To John H, Thomas M. and Richard R. who are out of the ordinary.
    Tom S.


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