Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a contemplative monk who spent 27 years inside the walls of a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. Only in his last year was he permitted to travel at any length. Even though he was never at Auschwitz this poetry places him there so as to let a generous sensitivity and tenacious faith like his respond to this horrendous calamity. Merton stands for all those who, in the light of Auschwitz, ask the question: where was God, and in so asking expose their belief to severe trial. Merton's struggle with this question was lived out elsewhere. Only the location has been shifted in the poetry that follows.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Bernini ~

The Ecstasy of St. Theresa
Gianlorenzo Bernini  1652

Quite contrary to Bernini's sculptured ecstasy—
Thomas knew
These precious brides were standing naked
In pools of their own urine and excrement,
So fear-stricken were they
At the entry of the Bridegroom
To escort them to the blazing splendor
Just beyond the chamber
Into which they were being herded.

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