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Time: A Reflection

November 2, 2021

Over these past three days (All Hallows Eve, All Saints, and All Souls days) I have been reflecting on both the sacred nature of time and the call to embrace each moment as a sacred gift. While I don’t have the option to enter the contemplative life as my friend and spiritual mentor Thomas Merton did, I am able to embrace those sacred moments when I close my mouth and open my heart and my ears. Merton’s thoughts below on time resonate with me, especially the concept of compassionate time.

The contemplative life must provide an area, a space of liberty, of silence, in which possibilities are allowed to surface and new choices—beyond routine choice—become manifest. It should create a new experience of time, not as stopgap, stillness, but as temps vierge—virginal time—not a blank to be filled or an untouched space to be conquered and violated, but a space which can enjoy its own potentiality and hopes—and its own presence to itself. One’s own time. But not dominated by one’s own ego and its demands. Hence, open to others—compassionate time, rooted in the sense of common illusion and in criticism of it. November 7, 1968 (The Other Side of the Mountain: The Journals of Thomas Merton, volume seven)

My prayer for myself and for you, dear reader, is that we can embrace the sacred pauses, be still, and learn from the Spirit.

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