Sunday, January 24, 2010
The Sign of Jonas
In case anybody is interested, my spiritual reading over the last few months has included Thomas Merton's journal, THE SIGN OF JONAS. Merton would keep his private journal and then edit portions for publication. THE SIGN OF JONAS is Merton's edited and polished journal which runs from Advent of 1946 just before Merton's solemn profession, through his ordination to the priesthood, and ends in July, 1952.
I was actually surprised at how much moaning and complaining that the Trappist censors allowed through to publication in 1953 when this book was first published. Merton starts off complaining about not enough solitude, complaining about writing, complaining about this and about that. There is also much beautiful writing here. There are many spiritual gems which provide much food for thought and deep prayer. The epilogue to this book, the famous "Fire Watch, July, 1952," is considered by many Merton aficionados to be some of Father Louis' best writing. (Merton's name in religion was "Father Louis").
Merton was wonderfully eccentric and wonderfully flawed. In other words, Merton is a "regular guy" that many of us can relate to. He is very approachable. Thomas Merton richly deserves the title of "Spiritual Master."