January 31st was the birthday of Thomas Merton (1915-1968). A Trappist monk and prolific author, he wrote on subjects ranging from prayer and the spiritual life to war, peace, and social responsibility. Merton believed that solitude could be found in the act of contemplation and silent reflection in everyday life.
His writings left us with untold words of comfort. One of his most meaningful writings speaks about not knowing the way ahead, about allowing God to lead us, about trusting God in times of fear and uncertainty.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
- Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
How true it is that we do not see the road ahead clearly. We may see the beginning of our life path, but the end is obscured, with unknown twists and turns along the way. But we can rest in the assurance that even if we seem to be lost, we can move ahead without fear, knowing that God walks with us.