For Ash Wednesday

Untouchable Beauty

You flowers and trees, you hills and streams, you fields, flocks, and wild birds, you books, you poems, and you people, I am utterly alone in the midst of you. I am solitary and helpless, surrounded by a beauty that can never belong to me. And God, who is the only one who can be loved for His own sake alone, remains invisible and unimaginable and untouchable, beyond everything else that exists. He is mirrored in all things like sunlight in clean water; but if I try to drink the light that is in the water I only shatter the reflection.

– Thomas Merton, Journal Entry, Lent 1949

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