This morning I’d like to shift gears and try something different. Instead of taking a look at a passage of Scripture, I’d like to share a prayer with you from the 20th century monk and author, Thomas Merton. I don’t typically use traditional devotionals in my own life. I don’t really know why, but I often gravitate towards other things like written prayers and poetry to supplement my Bible reading. They tend to be both short and reflective.
The reading this morning appears in a collection of Merton’s prayers titled, Dialogues with Silence. Hannah and I randomly came across it a few years ago in a small bookstore in Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve since used it off and on for daily reflection. It’s funny to me how something so random, so seemingly inconsequential can work its way into the daily rhythms of life. If you’re in my college group, you may have read this particular prayer before, but it’s one of my favorites. Sometimes these take a second, slow reading to really catch the intimacy and details. Reflect with me.
My Lord, I have no hope but in Your Cross. You, by Your humility, sufferings and death, have delivered me from all vain hope. You have killed the vanity of the present life in Yourself and have given me all that is eternal in rising from the dead.
My hope is in what the eye has never seen. Therefore let me not trust in visible rewards. My hope is in what the human heart cannot feel. Therefore let me not trust in the feelings of my heart. My hope is in what the hand has never touched. Do not let me trust in what I can grasp between my fingers, because Death will loosen my grasp and my vain hope will be gone.
Let my trust be in Your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in Your love, not in health or strength or ability or human resources.
If I trust You, everything else will become for me strength, health and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust You, everything will be my destruction.