Merton becomes a novice on February 22, 1942
FEBRUARY 22 The Wonder of God’s Mercy
Once again the 22nd—the day I received the habit of novice—comes around on the First Sunday of Lent. I received a Lenten book from the hands of my spiritual children, and in a short time I have become the spiritual father of many. Once again I am aware of the mystery of my vocation. The greatest mystery is here at St. Anne’s, my toolshed hermitage. Just as Baptism makes us potential martyrs, so also it makes us potential priests, potential monks, potential hermits. I was clothed in this hermitage, when I received the habit of novice, without even knowing it. The black and white house indeed is a kind of religious habit—and a warm enough one when the stove is going. All this is to say that this silence is Christ’s love for me and bought by His death, and it purifies me in His sufferings and His Blood. I must receive it with compunction and love and reverence, lest His love be in vain. When I am most quiet and most myself, God’s grace is clear, and then I see nothing else under the sun. What else is there for us but to be tranquil and at peace in the all-enchanting wonder of God’s mercy to us? It falls upon this paper more quietly than the morning sun, and then I know that all things, without His love, are useless, and in His love, having nothing, I can possess all things.
February 22, 1953, III.34–35
Merton, Thomas (2009-10-13). A Year with Thomas Merton