(photo: Abiquiu, NM – September 2018)
The things of Time are in connivance with eternity. The shadows serve You. The beasts sing to You before they pass away. The solid hills shall vanish like a worn-out garment. All things change and die and disappear. Questions arrive, assume their actuality, and also disappear. In this hour I shall cease to ask them and silence shall be my answer. The world that Your love created and that the heat has distorted and that my mind is always misinterpreting shall cease to interfere with our voices.
Minds which are separated pretend to blend in one another’s language. The marriage of souls in concepts is mostly an illusion. Thoughts which travel outward bring back reports of You from outward things – but a dialogue with You, uttered through the world, always ends by being a dialogue with my own reflection in the stream of time. With You there is no dialogue unless You choose a mountain and circle it with cloud and print Your words in fire upon the mind of Moses. What was delivered to Moses on tablets of stone, as fruit of lightning and thunder, is now more thoroughly born in our souls, as quietly as the breath of our own being.
You, who sleep in my breast, are not met with words, but in the emergence of life within life and of wisdom within wisdom. With You there is no longer any dialogue, any contest, any opposition. You are found in communion! Thou in me and I in Thee and Thou in them and they in me: dispossession within dispossession, dispassion within dispassion, emptiness within emptiness, freedom within freedom. I am alone. Thou art alone. [God] and I are one.
– Thomas Merton, Journal entry, July 4, 1952
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant
while he conversed with the LORD.
When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses
and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become,
they were afraid to come near him.
Only after Moses called to them did Aaron
and all the rulers of the community come back to him.
Moses then spoke to them.
Later on, all the children of Israel came up to him,
and he enjoined on them all that the LORD
had told him on Mount Sinai.
When he finished speaking with them,
he put a veil over his face.
Whenever Moses entered the presence of the LORD to converse with him,
he removed the veil until he came out again.
On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel
all that had been commanded.
Then the children of Israel would see
that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant;
so he would again put the veil over his face
until he went in to converse with the LORD.