Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain, is a remarkable book – the journey of a lifetime, his journey into faith and into the heart of God.
Tom’s younger brother, John Paul, pays him a visit at Gethsemane. John Paul is a pilot in the Canadian Air Force and will soon be deployed to England to defend that nation against Nazi bombers.
While visiting Tom, John Paul is baptized and receives communion.
Tom notes how peaceful John Paul has become – putting into place the final piece of life’s puzzle – that of grace. So much good can be done without grace, but without grace, the good cannot ease the soul’s hunger, but only mock it.
Grace is the finishing touch of life.
The next day, John Paul has to be on his way. Tom walks with him to the monastery gate and watches his brother step into a cab. As the cab turns to leave, John Paul looks back and waves, and Tom can see in his face that slight indication of knowing “that we would never see each other on earth again.”
I read those poignant words and stopped, tears welling up in my eyes.
Life is so precious! God be praised. And may the abundant grace of God keep us all!