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Prayers of the Saints – A Prayer of Devotion and Dedication by Thomas Merton

November 23, 2013

Thomas Merton

“Prayers of the Saints” is a relatively new “feature” on my blog. Roughly every two weeks, I’ll post a prayer from the “great cloud of witnesses”  (Hebrews 12:1) of our brothers and sisters in the Lord who’ve run this race of life before us.

The “prayer of the saints” in this posting is a prayer of dedication by Thomas Merton (1915-1968), from his New Seeds of Contemplation, which I read while at the Clergy Retreat this past week. 

New-Seeds-of-Contemplation-9780811217248Untie my hands and deliver my heart from sloth. Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice.

But give me the strength that waits upon you in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.


The portrait of Merton at the top of this posting is by an artist named James Nally. The painting hangs at Corpus Christi Church, New York City, where Merton was Baptized on November 16, 1938.

Embedded below are two audio clips of Thomas Merton speaking about St. Bernard of Clairvaux to novice monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani around 1965.

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