Thursday, January 12, 2006

Finding God in a small Mississippi town

I recently read a column written by a Trappist monk that appeared in The Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. It tells the tale of a stop he made in a small Mississippi town.

His initial description of the town was vaguely reminiscent for me of the writing of Flannery O'Connor or, perhaps more aptly, of Willie Morris in My Dog Skip. But as I read on, I was more reminded of the reflections of another Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, written about 50 years ago after a trip he made to Louisville, KY:

"In Louisville, on the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I was theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers...

I have the immense joy of being human, a member of the race in which God himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. If only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun!

Hopefully this column about the ordinary experiences at lunchtime in an ordinary town in Mississippi will help you look at your world in a new way, through grace-filled eyes.

Read the column.

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