This last Monday, December 10, marked the 50th anniversary of the death of St. Thomas Merton, OCSO. (He was added to the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in 2006.) Perhaps the most influential American spiritual writer of the 20th century, it seems especially appropriate to mark the occasion by sharing with you one of his most famous prayers:
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.
As this Advent season edges closer and closer to Christmas once more, may your journey be defined by the desire to please God--even in the midst of uncertainty. After all, there is no spiritual life without uncertainty. May your road lead you home rejoicing, accompanied by the breath of the Spirit in all those that travel the way with you. And may you know the trust which is not the absence of darkness but a quiet shining of light out of what means to be yourself.