Thomas Merton (1915-1968) An Appreciation of his Life and Work, by One Who Knew Him

Marco Pallis

Never shall I forget that afternoon spent in his company pacing slowly round the wide courtyard adjoining the abbey buildings or else sitting under a great tree turned to sheer gold by the magic touch of the North American autumn. On that day I got the clearest impression that I was with a man who walked with the Spirit.

To be able (and willing) to recognise the action of the Spirit wherever and howsoever it chooses to manifest itself—whether within or without the circle of one’s own personal and traditional loyalties—this has in fact become one of the prime conditions for regaining one’s intellectual balance in a world which has virtually discarded all that the word “religion” stands for.

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Originally published in Studies in Comparative Religion, vol. 3, no. 3 (Summer, 1969). Republished here with thanks to World Wisdom Books.