Thomas Merton was a capable student with all sorts of opportunities before him but he shocked many when he exchanged it all for a life of prayer in a monastery in the hills of Kentucky. Business people speculated on what he might have become. They thought he now would turn out to be a silenced, suffering version of his former self, weighed down by the sacrifices and discipline of the monastic life.
After thirteen years, Mark van Doren visited him and when he reported back to Merton’s old friends he said, “He looked a little older but as we sat and talked I could see no important difference in him, and once I interrupted a reminiscence of his by laughing. “Tom,” I said, “you haven’t changed at all.” “Why should I? Here,” he said, “our duty is to be more ourselves, not less.”
Source: Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life, 34-35.
Image: Thomas Merton.