Saturday, January 3, 2009

Now I Turn to Lent

"Darling, I'm telling you: this life in the woods is IT.
It is the only way. It is the way everybody has lost.
...It is life, this thing in the woods. I do not claim
it is real. All I say is that it it the life that has
chosen itself for me." ~ Thomas Merton

Although Lent is over a month away, I can't avoid sensing the contemplative atmosphere that time of year evokes. I'm especially envious of those venerable monks, who will uniquely experience the Lenten season and the Easter Triduum within the cloister of their monastery.

Here is something you probably already new, but it's so amazing that it's worth repeating: When I was discerning a call to the priesthood, Father Tony, at the time the vocations director for the Diocese of Las Vegas, mentioned that some monks - namely hermits - had reached a level so profound in their prayer life that they no longer necessitated human interaction to remain sane (most people need human interaction to retain their sanity). God became so palpable through prayer and contemplation, that solitude was not lonely; silence was not vacuous. If you are at this stage in your prayer life, you truly have achieved what very, very few people have successfully accomplished. And now that I think about it, the words "success" and "accomplish" are wholly inappropriate to describe this level of profundity in one's prayer life. After all, when we discuss hermits and monks, we are talking about a vocation, a calling to a life that is an extension of who and what you are on the inside.

I anxiously await the beginning of Lent, the renewal of a new beginning, and the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On a lesser note, I have decided to get another pet. More on that in just a few short days. Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and, above all, for your prayers.

I leave you with "O Filii et Filiae" as a way to kindle your Lenten fervour. This version, although not in Latin, has a rich harmony and an echoey choir sound.

O Filii et Filiae (O Sons and Daughters) - The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx (conductor)


Adrienne said...

"lesser note?" That is HUGE news. I can't wait to hear more.

As for Lent - I "heart" Lent. It is my very favorite season.

kris said...

i was just saying to garth that I cannot wait for this season, how very different and special it will be this year, my last one without baby E, and how i cannot wait to enter into it- it's always, without fail, my most favorite time of year. and how very much i wish i could spend it entirely at Mepkin with those Trappist brothers I miss and love so much :O)

and i agree with Adrienne, "lesser note" my butt!! i am so happy you will be bringing another furry pet into your family and can't wait to hear more...

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Tom: Lent will have a special resonence for you this year because of Critter's absence. You are feeling some of the pain of the Cross.

I know. The Lent after my pet died was tough but it was also very much a grace filled Lent as it led to my eventual reversion.

Katie Alender said...

I'm excited to hear about your decision, Tom.

Shirley said...

Thank you for the beautiful music and the goose bumps it gave me! The Thomas Merton quote hits home with me; my husband and I long for that kind of life. Our favourite place to live was when we lived in a little one room cabin in the woods west of Rocky Mountain House for 10 beautiful months, and I really didn't miss civilization that much. Didn't like the 30 mile drive to Mass though. I guess one of the blessings of being a monk is that Mass is right in your own buildings!

Tracy said...

Tom, you now have me so looking forward to Lent.. thank you:)

paramedicgirl said...

I too, have been looking forward to Lent. After the business of the Christmas season, Lent is something that holds much appeal to me. Prayer, penance, fasting and mortification. Can't get much more Catholic than that. Oh, the music is indeed beautiful. Thanks.