Thomas Merton: On Pilgrimage


The story of man’s pilgrimage and search has reached the end of a cycle and is starting on another. It is clear that there is no paradise on earth that is not defiled as well as limited, and yet the piligrimage must continue because it is an inescapable part of man’s stucture and program. The problem is, for his pilgrimage to make sense, it must represent a complete intergation of his inner and outer life, of his relation to himself and to other men. The Bible has always taken men in the concrete, never in the abstract. Our task now is to learn that if we can voyage to the ends of the earth and there find ourselves in the aborigine who most differs from ourselves, we will have made a fruitful pilgrimage. That is why pilgrimage is necessary, in some shape or other. Mere sitting at home and meditating on the divine presence is not enough for our time. We have to come to the end of a long journey and see that the stranger we meet there is no other than ourselves – which is the same as saying that we find Christ in him. | Thomas Merton

image Excerpt transcribed from Thomas Merton’s Mystics and Zen Masters, from the radio show, Paul Elie – Faith Fired by Literature, (20 February 2014). Click here to listen to the recording.

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In just over a week, I will begin a pilgrimage to France ‘In the Footsteps of Marie Madeleine’, with an international group of people associated with the Faithful Companions of Jesus, including Companions in Mission, staff from our schools and other associates. Kindly remember us all as we embark on this journey, and together we pray for all those travelling, on pilgrimages of some kind, and for those who are forced to move for their safety and welfare through no fault of their own, such as asylum seekers and nations displaced.

2 thoughts on “Thomas Merton: On Pilgrimage

  1. Geralyn,
    Blessings on you and all who will be on the Marie Madeleine pilgrimage. I’ll be praying for you all and count on your prayers for FCJs all around the world. In Companionship, Ann Marie Walsh, fcJ

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