Merton’s Heart

Tonight found me on the campus of St. Bonaventure University. As I parked my car near the Reilly Center I looked south toward a clearing on one of those low foothills south of the campus. A large open space that on other hills might only be a meadow is called by local residents and students Merton’s Heart. Thomas Merton taught at St. Bonaventure College in 1940. It was from St. Bonaventure that Merton left to join the Trappists in 1941 soon after Pearl Harbor. Whenever I’m on campus and look south I see “Merton’s Heart” and I’m reminded of one of my favorite authors and perhaps one of the best Christian authors of the twentieth century. I own several of Merton’s books and some other commentaries on his writings. He more than any other author I’ve read gives real insight into the life of the contemplative. Merton’s writings bring the fruit of contemplative prayer to his readers and invite us all to a contemplative life. St. Francis of Assisi made the world his cloister and in like manner Thomas Merton brings the wisdom and solitude of the cloister to the modern world. Peace.

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