“ …we should let ourselves be brought naked and defenceless into the center of that dread where we stand alone before God in our nothingness, without explanation, without theories, completely dependent upon his providential care, in dire need of the gift of his grace, his mercy and the light of faith. …But when the time comes to enter the darkness in which we are naked and helpless and alone; in which we see the insufficiency of our greatest strength and the hollowness of our strongest virtues; in which we have nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, and nothing in the world to guide us or give us light – then we find out whether or not we live by faith.” Thomas Merton
“I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne;
and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him were seraphim, each with six wings:
With two wings they covered their faces,
with two they covered their feet,
and with two they were flying.
And they were calling to one another:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
At the sound of their voices
the doorposts and thresholds shook
and the temple was filled with smoke.
‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
and I live among a people of unclean lips,
and my eyes have seen the King,
the Lord Almighty.’”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Can you imagine being “brought naked and defenceless … before God?” …“standing alone before God in your nothingness?” …feeling “undone” in the presence of God?
- Why would Merton suggest that we not resist this? (“we should let ourselves be brought…”)
- Teresa of Avila prayed, “Let me not be afraid to linger here in your presence will all my humanity exposed. For you are God – you are not surprised by my frailties, my continuous failures.” Can you use these words as the basis for a prayer of your own?
Abba, it’s dreadfully painful to have all my humanity exposed before anyone, including you. It’s in your presence though, that I am exposed yet safe. In spite of my all my humanity, may I linger before you today, presenting myself for healing – and may I do this without any attempt to lessen the pain by offering up explanations or excuses.
For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek God, and as he seeks you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. Thanks for following and sharing my blog! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)