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In the Dark Before the Dawn – Thomas Merton

March 11, 2020
The San Francisco reality…

When we visited San Francisco in February, we were amazed by the water, the hills, the churches, and the architecture. The variety of cultural backgrounds and the food was incredible! Sadly, as we were walking through the city, we also saw how significant the homeless population is. When one room flats rent for thousands of dollars a month, we wondered how people got by. It was, to be honest, heartbreaking… so many sisters and brothers facing the elements and the cruelty of the world. As neighborhoods gentrify, people are forced out of their homes with nowhere to go.

Today I read the below quote from Thomas Merton and it brought our experience in San Francisco and other places back to my memory.

“The shadows fall. The stars appear. The birds begin to sleep. Night embraces the silent half of the earth. A vagrant, a destitute wanderer with dusty feet, finds his way down a new road. A homeless God, lost in the night, without papers, without identification, without even a number, a frail expendable exile lies down in desolation under the sweet stars of the world and entrusts Himself to sleep.” (In the Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton, p. 71, written in 1962)

Yes, written in 1962 yet sadly so relevant today. This destitute wanderer could be any number of our friends who are homeless. The destitute wanderer could be the massive number of homeless people around the nation and the world. This destitute wanderer was Jesus! In an earlier post, I wrote about meeting Jesus in a homeless camp in Mobile one Thanksgiving would have been recognized by Merton and we were writing 58 years apart! I Met Jesus in Tent City

My prayer for each of us, dear reader, is that we will indeed recognize Jesus or God in the face of everyone we meet… even the sisters and brothers whom society makes invisible.

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