Trying to think about life and how God makes it full

Happy New Year

I have no great wisdom today (I’m tired), but thought you might be interested to hear from some others (whether or not they’re wise, you must judge), like:

Andrew Marr’s guests on ‘Start the Week’;

The Archbishop of Canterbury

Fidel Castro

But here is some real wisdom, and a deep prayer to begin the New Year with:

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

– Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude
© Abbey of Gethsemani

From The Thomas Merton Foundation website


January 1, 2007 - Posted by | contemplative, culture, religion, wisdom


  1. hey dude – happy new year – sorry but a techie question… how do you get the feed off your lovely new blog, the link on the left is to your old one??

    Comment by gareth | January 1, 2007 | Reply

  2. hey gareth – happy new year to you too.
    thanks for pointing this out.
    i think i’ve done it, but it looks a bit messy – still getting the hang of this new platform.
    see the sidebar under the ‘search’ box.
    looking forward to catching up with coffee soon….

    Comment by revtc | January 1, 2007 | Reply

  3. Happy New Year mate, may it be a good one.

    Comment by H | January 2, 2007 | Reply

  4. I note with interest your comment that you have no great wisdom today and that you are tired. My ethnic origin is Scottish, although to stimulate our current debate on nationality (and to irritate people) I now describe myself as English since I have lived in Walthamstow for 25 years and have no intention of returning to Scotland. To describe myself as English is of course nonsense since I am a product of Scottish traditions and culture of which I am rightly proud. I think that bit of rambling simply goes to prove that “Nationality” is an outdated concept, and we must focus during the 21st Century on concepts of “Citizenship” and mutual respect for the richness of other people’s cultural traditions. We all have a lot to gain by this approach.

    However, that bit of diversionary rambling was prompted by your opening remarks about tiredness and lack of wisdom. I am sure Aussie and Kiwi traditions of new years eve are much more sensible than the Scottish one of staying up too late and drinking too much. We are starting off a fresh and unknown new year, in which, as your Thomas Merton quote says, we have no idea where we are going and we really do not know who we are. To start this new year with a feeling of tiredness and lack of wisdom, if self inflicted, does not seem a good idea. However, I suppose the current fifteen minutes of fame being enjoyed by the Australian cricket team does merit some minor celebration, as next year will be very different.

    However, I now wish to write a few remarks about Christmas as promised in my comment on your previous posting. The “Christmas Story” is of course, sadly, nothing special. An illegitimate child is born of a young teenage mother, in poverty and in a land occupied by a foreign army. Some time after the birth they have to flee to Egypt as refugees. They same events are occurring every day in our present times, and have done so for thousands of years.

    However in our 20th century Western Christmas tradition we commemorate all these past and present tragedies by urging each other to be merry, putting up coloured lights and tinsel and spending lots of money on buying gifts for people they probably do not want. We buy boxes of cards and mechanically go though our address books. And there are the office parties! And on the day itself we eat and drink too much, possibly continue lifelong family arguments, and then watch Pauline dying alone in Eastenders. As I said in my comment on your last posting it is all rather obscene, and must bring about feelings of disgust and despair in the Non-Christian world.

    I certainly have no right to comment on the way Christians celebrate Christmas, just as I have no right to comment on the way a small minority of Muslim women wish to dress. However, as you said in your first posting, surely it is time to reconsider the way we live.

    However, I am not talking humbug! There is much to celebrate. At this time of year thousands of years ago we sat huddled in our cold caves, food was running out, the days were getting shorter and shorter. Human life was surely coming to an end. (Except for the original Aussies and Kiwis who, being awkward, have to experience the seasons in an upside down way). However, at this time of year, when things were at the blackest, the annual “miracle” occurred – the days started getting longer again – life was again a possibility.

    And the same annual miracle occurs with some of the children born today, in all sorts of poverty, both in Walthamstow and in lands ruled by repressive regimes. Many children are born to refugee parents fleeing terror. However, despite all this, the human spirit survives. Jesus “made a difference”. Some of the children born today, despite their start in life, will also “make a difference”. This is indeed something to celebrate.

    However, we are all individuals, and we all need to celebrate in our own ways.
    Some people will want to celebrate over a household meal, others will wish to celebrate on their own in quiet contemplation, and others will wish to participate in large outdoor and indoor festivals. And for the majority of people there will be a combination of ways of celebrating.

    However, there is huge pressure on people to celebrate Christmas in the same sort of manner which developed in the 20th Century, which fundamentally involves spending lots of money, and often consuming large amounts of alcohol in order to be seen to be “merry”. I often wonder why Christians do not make the same fuss about celebrating Easter as they do about celebrating Christmas. Christians would not consider starting Easter celebrations before Lent begins, but they happily start preparing for Christmas Day before advent. We do live in a multi-faith society. I am sure people of other faiths are very puzzled by the behaviour of Christians at Christmas. I must admit I as an atheist am very puzzled by Christian behaviour at this time of year.

    I end by saying I accept that I am very guilty of oversimplifying a very complex situation – living a sane and balanced life in our current Western culture is very difficult. However, as I said in my comment on Tony’s last posting, I am classified as severely mentally ill, and am therefore, by definition, incapable of living a sane and balanced life.

    LIVE – Feel Connected (sometimes) – Be Joyful (sometimes)

    Comment by Lawrence Woods | January 4, 2007 | Reply

  5. Google is the best search engine

    Comment by Jack Tennille | January 17, 2007 | Reply

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