One of the most moving reflections that Thomas Merton ever wrote was his take on his being on fire watch on a long summer night (July 4th, 1952) at the monastery in Kentucky.
“Lord God of this great night: Do You see the woods? Do You hear the rumor of their loneliness? Do You behold their secrecy? Do You remember their solitudes? Do You see that my soul is beginning to dissolve like wax within me?
“‘O My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I find no rest.’
“Do you remember the place by the stream? Do You remember the top of the Vineyard Knob that time in autumn, when the train was in the valley? . . .
“Do You remember the time of the forest fire? Do You know what has become of the little poplars we planted in the spring? Do You observe the valley where I marked the trees?
“There is no leaf that is not in Your care. There is no cry that was not heard by You before it was uttered. There is no water in the shales that was not hidden there by Your wisdom. There is no concealed spring that was not concealed by You. There is no glen for a lone house that was not planned by You for a lone house. There is no man for that acre of woods that was not made by you for that acre of woods.
“There is greater comfort in the substance of silence that in the answer to a question. Eternity is in the present. Eternity is in the palm of the hand. Eternity is a seed of fire whose sudden roots break barriers that keep my heart from being an abyss.”