From Thomas Merton’s journal, February 4, 1958 –
Beauty of the sunlight falling on a tall vase of red and white carnations and green leaves on the altar in the novitiate chapel. The light and the shade of red, especially the darkness in the fresh crinkled flower and the light warm red around the darkness, the same color as blood but not “red as blood,” utterly unlike blood. Red as a carnation. This flower, this light, this moment, this silence = Dominus est, eternity! Best because the flower is itself and the light is itself and the silence is itself and I am myself – all, perhaps, an illusion, but no matter, for illusion is nevertheless the shadow of reality and reality is the grace that underlies these lights, these colors, and this silence.
The “simplicity” that would have kept those flowers off the altar is, to my mind, less simple than the simplicity that enjoys them there, but does not need them to be there.