Thomas Merton and the Celtic Rhythm of Heartbeat


Much of what Thomas Merton writes is deeply invested in the Celtic tradition of inclusion and celebration of creation.

A piece that illustrates this very clearly is a psalm that he wrote, which I would like to include here:

The forms and individual characters of living and growing things,

of inanimate beings, of animals and flowers and all nature,

constitute their holiness in the sight of God.

Their inscape is their sanctity.

It is the imprint of His wisdom and His reality in them.

The special clumsy beauty of this particular colt on this day in this field under these clouds

is a holiness consecrated to God by His own creative wisdom, and it declares the glory of God.

Colt in field

The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints.

The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of the road are saints, looking up into the face of God.

dogwood flowers

The leaf has its own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape,

and the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river

are canonised by their beauty and their strength.

The lakes  hidden among the hills are saints,

and the sea too is a saint who praises God without interruption in her majestic dance.

Wave adjusted

The great, gashed half-naked mountain is another of God’s saints.

There is not other like him.

He alone is his own character;

nothing else in the world ever did or ever will imitate God in quite the same way.

That is his sanctity.

Corrieshallock Gorge 2

But what about you? What about me?

Thomas Merton.

Stephanie by Ardmair

Well for me, the answer to that question of Merton’s is that I am lucky enough to know that this is where I belong. This is where my heart soars and beats in tune with creation with every sight and sound, each heartbeat echoes that of the Creator who created this and me. The Celtic rhythm is my own, blood, air, breathing, belonging is one uninterrupted circle of beauty and praise and ecstasy. I am as loved and cradled in this environment as within the mother’s womb. And perhaps therein lies the heart of it. Find God within your heart, your belonging, your knowing and never let go…follow wherever He leads, regardless of whether that fits with man made tradition and interpretations.

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8 thoughts on “Thomas Merton and the Celtic Rhythm of Heartbeat

  1. indytony says:

    Merton does such a lovely job of walking the tightrope of God-in-creation, not falling off to nature-as-god. I hope to go to the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine College soon. I have much to learn.

    • Don’t we all![have much to learn]…and Merton is such a master with that incredibly hard task of expressing what is within, and keeping all focused on God as the central pivot from which and because of whom…all revolves. We are so blessed his thoughts and writings got out to us all.

  2. Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    Thomas Merton is one of my favourite authors. He had a wonderfully unique and refreshing view of the world. His story was one of almost constant transformation and caring for the others. His work and thinking has influenced many over the years. His poetry is somewhat like Mary Oliver in that he sees what I do not always and reveals it for me.

  3. Julie Garro says:

    Beautiful post.

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