Quote/s of the Day – 20 December – Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 7: 10-14; Psalm 24: 1-6; Luke 1: 26-38
“And Mary said,
‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be to me according to your word.’”
“The price of our salvation
is offered to you.
We shall be set free at once, if you consent.
In the eternal Word of God, we all came to be
and behold, we die.
In your brief response,
we are to be remade.
in order to be recalled to life.
… Answer quickly, O Virgin.
Reply in haste to the Angel,
or rather, through the Angel to the Lord.
Answer with a word,
receive the Word of God.
Speak your own word,
conceive the Divine Word.
Breathe a passing word,
embrace the Eternal Word!”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
The Last Father and
the Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
By Fr Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
Ashes of paper, ashes of a world
Wandering, when fire is done:
We argue with the drops of rain!
Until one comes Who walks unseen
Even in elements we have destroyed.
Deeper than any nerve
He enters flesh and bone.
Planting His truth, He puts our substance on.
Air, earth and rain
Rework the frame that fire has ruined.
What was dead is waiting for His Flame.
Sparks of His Spirit spend their seeds, and hide
To grow like irises, born before summertime.
These blue thinas bud in Israel.
The girl prays by the bare wall
Between the lamp and the chair.
(Framed with an angel in our galleries
She has a richer painted room, sometimes a crown.
Yet seven pillars of obscurity
Build her to Wisdom’s house, and Ark and Tower.
She is the Secret of another Testament
She owns their manna in her jar.)
Fifteen years old –
The flowers printed on her dress
Cease moving in the middle of her prayer
When God, Who sends the messenger,
Meets His messenger in her Heart.
Her answer, between breath and breath,
Wrings from her innocence our Sacrament!
In her white body God becomes our Bread.
It is her tenderness
Heats the dead world like David on his bed.
Times that were too soon criminal
And never wanted to be normal
Evade the beast that has pursued
You, me and Adam out of Eden’s wood.
Suddenly we find ourselves assembled
Cured and recollected under several green trees.
Her prudence wrestled with the Dove
To hide us in His cloud of steel and silver:
These are the mysteries of her Son.
And here my heart, a purchased outlaw,
Prays in her possession
Until her Jesus, makes my heart
Smile like a flower in her blameless hand.
Fr Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Trappist Monk and Priest. Thomas Merton expressed his vision in his poetry, novels, essays, devotionals and autobiographical writings.