Merton and the Maritains a letter to friends
While we sat at breakfast this morning a Boston Oriole was flying against the window panes near our kitchen table, skipping from one to the other, and pecking away at the glass.
Birds so they say do this because they see their reflection and think it is another bird.
Butternut our hunting cat sat on the table staring at the persistently pecking bird, and I am sure wishing he could get to it.
For myself it brought thoughts of how we see in certain others a reflection of our selves – our true or even imagined selves – and how we too peck away at the boundaries that separate us, wanting to connect with those who may help us to also connect with our own selves.
I have been reading in Angelic Mistakes (a book on the calligraphy of Thomas Merton) of Merton’s friendship with Jacques Maritain, the great French Catholic thinker, and his wife Raissa, who I learned wrote a wonderful little book on the Lord’s Prayer, and both of whom Merton loved.
Here is what Merton wrote from Gethsemani Monastery in the wild country of middle Kentucky, to his friends across the Atlantic.
I want to come after you and Raissa by the road you have taken, since our journey is in common, though we are very much alone. How good it is to have seen His play in the friendships and influences that brought us all together in this world and this century.
Because of the unusual nature of our life and work, most of my dearest and most trusted friends are not here, but in others part of the continent or the world, as was true for Merton and the Maritains.
And this morning I thank God for you … special friends on the journey across the world.