Merton: ‘His place is with those who don’t belong’

KENTUCKY—The great Thomas Merton died 50 years ago today, and I can’t let this moment pass without sharing once again this reflection of his, which seems perfect for Advent and speaks to the times in which we live:

“Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it, because he is out of place in it, and yet he must be in it, his place is with those others for whom there is no room.

His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world.”

I had the privilege of spending a few hours in Merton’s hermitage at the Abbey of Gethsemane 14 summers ago. “Father Louis” left an indelible mark on my life and on countless others around the globe. Who knows how many vocations — to the priesthood, to monastic life, to social justice, to writing of all kinds — he inspired?

I remain forever in his debt.

By Deacon Greg Kandra |