“Spots of Time”

SSJ Monica Weis

in The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780813130040
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135717 | DOI:
“Spots of Time”

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This chapter applies the concept of “spots of time” to three graced moments that reveal Thomas Merton's increasing reliance on nature for his spiritual growth: his impetuous climb up a Kentucky knob on New Year's Day 1950; his encounter with a hawk on February 10, 1950; and his meditation in the 1960s on the awakening of the birds at le point vierge of the day. These two spots of time that nurture Merton's spiritual awakening are indicative of the power of nature to evoke prayer and effect ongoing spiritual growth. Moreover, these illustrations offer clues for understanding Merton's fascination with nature and his ability to see—be awake to—the spiritual lessons they impart. This brings a third poignant example that provides insight into Merton's response to spots of time and growth in spiritual richness. Published as Day of a Stranger, this journal section shows how Merton lives in the woods “out of necessity”, in a kind of “ecological balance” (DS 33).

Keywords: spots of time; Thomas Merton; Kentucky knob; hawk; spiritual awakening; le point vierge; Day of a Stranger

Chapter.  6432 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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