31 January 2006

The questions

Can I tell you that I have found answers to the questions that torment the man of our time? I do not know if I have found answers. When I first became a monk, yes, I was more sure of “answers.” But as I grow old in the monastic life I become aware that I have only begun to seek the questions. And what are the questions? Can a man make sense of his existence? Can a man honestly give his life meaning merely by adopting a certain set of explanations which pretend to tell him why the world began and where it will end, why there is evil and what is necessary for a good life? My brother, perhaps in my solitude I have become as it were an explorer for you, a searcher in realms which you are not able to visit--except perhaps in the company of your psychiatrist. I have been summoned to explore a desert area of man’s heart in which explanations no longer suffice, and in which one learns that only experience counts.
~ Thomas Merton, born on this day in 1915

(from Paul Elie's magnificent book The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage)


Anonymous said...

I love your quote today. Merton is one of my favorites and I also loved reading Paul Elie's book.
I check your sight often and always love reading what you have to share.

fantley said...

clay here. nice merton quote; over the rhine is coming to ky, do you think id like them?

amcorrea said...

Thanks! Probably--poetic lyrics, gorgeous voice, delicate yet soaring music (in an Americana vein)--don't think you could possibly go wrong.