As I came to a close in the semester (though probably not within my practice of Merton’s prayer book), I definitely did/do not feel like my struggle with prayer is over. But I am not too discouraged, I mean struggle and conflict is if anything, a sign of life. I always tell my YL kids, ‘when you are pissed at God, or are asking questions that fly in the face of right belief, you are being incredibly faithful, incredibly committed.’ I believe that because by investing so much emotional energy into the journey, they are attesting to the difference God can make in the world and in a life.
Another thing I recognized in my time with Merton is that environment is important. The positive feeling I got when doing this, often was connected to where I was. If I was at school or another populated area, it is not normally a great experience. If I am at the abbey in Mt. Angel, much more room change.
“You have called me to be repeatedly born in the Spirit, repeatedly born in light, in knowledge, in unknowing, in faith, in awareness, in gratitude, in poverty, in presence, and in praise.”
Sometimes I am lost, sometimes I feel right at home, but God is in both extremes. Merton seems to make that clear in his writing and prayers. I guess I will see if it ever levels out.