A Prayer by Thomas Merton

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Junior Member
May 8, 2018
Thomas Merton was a prolific author and the most eminent Catholic mystic of the 20th century.
My Lord God, This seems to be the best place to post a beautiful prayer that Merton composed:

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 will I 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.


Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
Why a Catholic-Buddhist Mystic is being posted on a site that is against the Catholic teaching, against Buddhist teaching and against mysticism seems rather instigating. You can't come to a site and post things blatantly against the beliefs of a forum and pretend you have any good intentions.

NEAR THE END OF HIS LIFE, the American Christian monk, poet, social critic and mystic, Thomas Merton said that he wanted “to become as good a Buddhist as I can” (Steindl-Rast, 1969).

The path swerved along the way. After his conversion and transformation into a monk, Merton was a triumphalistic Christian with little regard for other forms of Christianity besides Catholicism and little concern for other religions.
Other seeds needed to be planted before a memory was created deep enough to develop such roots. The pre-Christian Merton had come across Aldous Huxley’s book on mysticism, "Ends and Means," which sowed an attraction for not only mysticism in general, but for apophatic mysticism -- meaning a knowledge of God obtained by negation -- that would enable him to later relate to Buddhist teachings about the Void and Emptiness.

But in the 1950s Merton’s earlier fascination with mysticism and other religions resurfaced as he began a long-term study of Buddhism, focusing upon Zen.

Gandhi was also influential upon Merton in saying that one can find the deeper roots of one’s own religious tradition by becoming immersed in other religions--and then returning “home” to see one’s own heritage in a transformed way, with a transformed consciousness.

excerpts from

Merton, then, argues that Christian mystics approach (in the apophatic tradition of approaching God with no words or images) the void, emptiness, the transcendence of subject and object, in their sense of pure darkness (the dark night of the soul and of the senses of John of the Cross), kenosis and abandonment. For them, too, pure void and pure light come together. Merton cites John of the Cross' enigmatic remark about todo y nada ( everything and nothing at once!). He also lifts up the remark of the mystiic Jacob Boehme: " God is called the seeing and finding of the Nothing and, therefore, is called a nothing (though it is God himself) because it is inconceivable and inexpressible." Again, he found affinities to Zen in the remarks of Meister Eckhart: " To be a proper abode for God and fit for God to act in, a man should be so poor that he is not and has not a place for God to act in. To reserve a place would be to maintain distinctions."

Aug 7, 2018
Thank you for your post. I too have found wisdom in some of Merton's writings and understand the prayer. The comment directed at your post does not reflect the opinion of all Christians. God has spoken to you in those words and we celebrate.