Category Archives: Thomas Merton

Rough patch

Ordinary Time 13/Trinity 3 – Tuesday

Going through some rough patches at the moment. Work is keeping my mind ticking instead of mulling over stuff (mercifully).

The bright spot for today? Well, apart from the A$90 million Oz Lotto draw (which I don’t think I even won Division 7 in given I bought a tiny mini quickpick just for the heck of it, like at least 50% of the nation today). My lectionary for 2010 arrived today from the UK (it’s the first item on the page). So yay for that.

And St. Paul’s managed to get in some more Merton material so I now have the 7th volume of the HarperCollins paperback edition of his journals (“The Other Side of the Mountain: The End of the Journey”), the New Directions publication called “The Asian Journal” (which forms part of the 7th volume of journals published by HarperCollins) and Merton’s musings on the Eucharist and its relationship to and with human life and existence, entitled “The Living Bread”.

I only wish I picked up Merton’s thoughts on the hymnbook of Scripture, the Psalms entitled “Bread In The Wilderness” as well. Another day.

The same goes with the other volumes of Merton’s journals that I am lacking currently (i.e. Vols. 1, 4, 5 and 6) but which St. Paul’s didn’t have in stock at all. 😦

Now, I just can’t wait for tomorrow, “hump day”, to be over with (as we in the office affectionately term Wednesdays). Hopefully it won’t be too draggy (I have three meetings to be involved with, each lined up one after the other). That should take me to the end of the day rather quickly. After that, it’s down the hill to the weekend again (where for once, I will actually be sociable and head out for a lunch with work friends on Sunday after service). Maybe this weekend won’t be something that I usually dread.

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O Emmanuel

Advent 4 – Tuesday

I woke up this morning at about 9am Brisbane time with a splitting headache and aches and pains around my kidneys, etc. Feels as if someone has beaten the crap out of me while I slept. With some paracetamol down the hatch already, hopefully things’ll start subsiding by the evening. Need to be at church tonight for Christmas Eve carols practice as well as to apparently help decorate both sanctuaries too.

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The Seventh “O” Antiphon – December 23 “O Emmanuel”

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
the Desire of all nations and their Salvation:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Advent Acclamations

V: Lift up your voice with strength and say:
R: Behold your God; behold the Lord comes with strength.
V: The Lord your God shall come, and all the saints with him;
R: On the day of glory the darkness shall be filled with light.
V: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe;
R: To you be glory and praise forever.
V: From the rising of the sun to its setting is your name praised in all the world.
R: To you be glory and praise forever.
V: When the time had fully come you sent the Sun of Righteousness.
R: In him the fullness of your glory dwells.

R: To you be glory and praise forever.

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight — indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap, he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. (Malachi 3:1-3, NRSV)

The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55, KJV)

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
 For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength in his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto : sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

The Collect

Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us,
that in your light we may see light,
the light of your grace today, the light of glory hereafter;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Finally, some thoughts from my favorite Cistercian monk, Fr. Thomas Merton relating to Christmas which were sent to me by the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living in their weekly Merton reflection.

Thought for Dec 22, 2008

The mystery of Christmas lays upon us all a debt and an obligation to the rest of [humankind] and to the whole created universe. We who have seen the light of Christ are obliged, by the greatness of the grace that has been given us, to make known the presence of the Savior to the ends of the earth. This we will do not by preaching the glad tidings of His coming, but above all by revealing Him in our lives. Christ is born to us today, in order that He may appear to the whole world through us.

Thomas Merton. Seasons of Celebration (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965): 112.

Thought for Christmas

This one day is the day of His birth, but every day of our mortal lives must be his manifestation, His divine Epiphany, in the world which He has created and redeemed.

Seasons of Celebration: 112

Lastly, ABC America’s “Faith Matters Now” segment recently aired an interview with Morgan Atkinson and Jonathan Montaldo about Merton’s life and legacy which is interesting viewing. More videos from the same interview include Merton’s Love Affair and the end of his life in Asia.

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Internet Monk, Roman Catholicism, etc, etc

Advent 1 2008 – Tuesday

Eagle eyed blogreaders might have realized that I have added a few more entries to the Bloggers category of links to the right. Two of them have been for Michael Spencer: one for his Internet Monk blog and the other for his Jesus Shaped Spirituality blog.

There is a heckuva lot I’ve learnt from reading his entries whether I agree with him or not; he’s a Reformation Christian who is closer to Calvin’s position than I will ever be. Quite a fair bit of humor too, as evidenced by the referral I made to his post entitled “Dear Ed Young” a couple of entries ago.

His own struggles to relate and take the best from Roman Catholicism while remaining a Protestant echo my own struggles in some aspects. Except that I’ve probably asked myself seriously whether or not to convert over more often than iMonk has.

But a recent post of his on Thomas Merton strikes a chord with me. Because this December 10 will be the fortieth anniversary of the death of “Fr. Louis”. And with his death, there is a reminder of the fairly inclusive catholicity that Merton exhibited to his fellow Christians: Roman Catholic or not. Given that EWTN broadcasts over the net, I’ve watched a few hours or so of it and while I do love certain programs, there is still a lot on there that still set me off with unease. Particularly the papal love-in’s that happen fairly often on it.

Don’t get me wrong, my views on the Pope are a far cry from a few years ago when I would have branded him (or rather John Paul II at the time) as the Antichrist and the spawn of Satan. The current Pope (Benny XVI) and his venerable predecessor are Popes that I have a great deal of respect for and sincere admiration (I’ve mentioned that before on here). To get a chance to speak with BXVI in private would be a dream come true for me. But EWTN at times reminds me a lot of Australia’s version of TBN, the Australian Christian Channel. Some of it is truly barf-worthy. Inclusive catholicity my ***…

The inclusive catholicity that led Merton to view his non-Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ is lacking in certain quarters of Roman Catholicism here in Australia (and in the reverse as well, particularly with the comments made by senior clergy of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney in the leadup to World Youth Day this year that were published in the Sydney Morning Herald).

It’s especially apparent in one of the Theology on Tap recordings from earlier this year when Cardinal Pell (Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and Australian RC Primate) spoke on the role of the Pope. I understand where the Cardinal comes from as he is a traditional Catholic and I appreciate his candor in his ToT talk (honesty is the best policy). And I’ve had younger Catholic apologists attempt to convert me over (on the XT3 forums) by declaring that lovely Latin phrase extra ecclesiam nullus salus applies to me because Protestants are outside the Church. Once upon a time, I used that phrase against Roman Catholics so I guess what goes around… Those words for me are not as clear cut as I once thought they were.

But we still have ultimately an issue about ecumenism at heart here. And that’s what I attempt (rather pathetically if I’m honest) to do on this blog here. iMonk does that much better than myself (especially after his own wife’s recent conversion over into the Roman Catholic Church which he has talked about). Given that most of the readers to this pathetic piece of internet real estate are from the youth group of CMCA EMP, I hope that my own thoughts and struggles in my own faith give you some entertainment but more seriously, to spur on your own thinking about your own faith and the relationship of us as individual Christians to the wider Christian community: Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.

And if you think that my blog is rubbish, by all means, I’ll gladly point you towards Michael’s instead. 🙂

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Another wedding

2008 Ordinary Time 32/Trinity 25 – Sunday

[ now playing? ] Sœur Marie Keyrouz SBC – Chants sacrés de l’Orient (tradition melchite) (Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951497)

Congrats to Peter and Jacey yesterday on getting hitched at CMCA-EMP. Joyous day indeed for the Tran and Ting families as well as everyone who attended the wedding and/or reception. The word that all of us who were at the reception last night took away to think about marriage was “Eternity” (*said in a ghoulish voice*, George was a crackup being the MC of the evening).

Continue reading Another wedding

Merton on “the world” & God

Ordinary Time 23 – Monday
Feast day of the Nativity of the BVM/Nativity of theTheotokos

Funny how this particular feast day is in the liturgical calendar. Not that “Our Lady” was actually born on September 8. Or for that matter, Christ was born on December 25. And that the Annunciation to “Our Lady” by St. Gabriel, the archangelis on March 25. And given that I have theological doubts as to whether the Immaculate Conception of the BVM is an actual dogma to be believed de fide by the faithful (personally, I do think it’s just a pious opinion that helps to skimp around the Augustinian view of the transmission of “original sin”), today is a day of thanksgiving to God for the birth of his “handmaiden” (Lk 1:38) who truly became the Theotokos, the God-bearer (or in her traditional title, the Mother of God).

V. Ecce Ancilla Domini.
R. Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

Continue reading Merton on “the world” & God

Ramblings today

Trinity 5/Ordinary Time 11 – Tuesday

I have a whole bunch of plaintive, ephemeral jazz playing currently by Brad Mehldau in my Winamp playlist. Plus some cheerful stuff too like his rendition of “Moon River” with his trio.

I don’t really have much to say today. Even though I felt like blogging.

Might leave a few links for you to read. Like the $1 billion dollar dinner (take a punt on which country the dinner was in). Or on whether Brazilian soap operas have shrunk Brazil’s fertility rate. As you can probably tell, I’m a Freakonomics reader (the book and the NY Times blog). I’m an armchair follower of economics-related stuff.

On Christianity related links, Rev. John Piper has put together another good sermon in the 3rd of the series that Bethlehem Baptist Church is running on the Psalms. It’s entitled “A Broken and Contrite Heart God Will Not Despise”.

Continue reading Ramblings today