10 July 2011

Learning Logos

I have been blessed to receive, through the graces of a good friend, a copy of A Year with Thomas Merton, a profound and elegant collection of daily meditations by the Thomas Merton, the famed Trappist monk who was also an author, poet and civil rights activist.  This man of contemplation died in 1968, but somehow he read my heart.

There is much to be said about what I have read so far, but I today I wanted to say that I have learned a new word, gleaned from the July 9th meditation entitled "Heat and Zen Quiet".  The word is kerygma, defined as "the proclamation of religious truths" or "the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ".  Thomas Merton used it to describe the heat of the day he was experiencing:
"It calls for one of those nature poems, a kerygma of heat such as the Celts never had."
Brother Merton showed me the word.  This use of kerygma was masterful.  It is the use of a word in a nontraditional way, by someone who truly understood the original meaning.

In spite of the vestiges of my Christian upbringing,  upon reading that sentence and checking the definition, I felt the pangs of jealousy and inadequacy.  This is not unusual, sometimes, when taught a lesson you didn't know you were about to learn

Sunday morning, and I am basking in the afterglow of enlightenment.  The burn will fade, leaving me with the warmth of knowledge, all thanks to a Trappist who knew me before I knew myself.


  1. Fascinating word, but I doubt if I'll remember it long enough to use it in a pertinent context...

  2. Merton's ability to capture the simplest bits of nature and the essence of being a spiritual human amazes me daily. I love his description of the butterfly in the July 9 meditation. One sentence...the scene is set and the butterfly has a personality.

  3. I would love to hear it dropped in conversation, real casual-like...yeah, i said kerygma...no big deal... :)


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...