I approach Merton with great caution because towards the end of his life he showed a seemingly excessive openness to non-Christian religions and praise of Eastern methods of meditation which are not rooted in the Scripture or the Tradition of the Church. Nonetheless, he wrote many beautiful books on contemplation before his oriental fascination and in the following passage he shows his devotion to Our Lady, his stark evaluation of our times (“terrible times”), his study of the Papal documents (“Quas primas”) and his hope to see the Scotist doctrine of the absolute primacy of Christ defined like that of the Immaculate Conception. On November 10th 1947, Thomas Merton wrote in his journal, among other things:
Today also I thought of St. Leornard of Port Maurice—off my usual track!—and his fight to get the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception defined one hundred years before it was.
It seems to me that definition was a turning point in the history of the Church.
The world has been put into the hands of our Immaculate Lady and she is our hope in the terrible days we live in.
Perhaps another turning point will come when her prayers at last obtain the definition of the other great Scotist doctrine with which her Immaculate Conception is so intimately connected: the Absolute Primacy of Christ.
At first sight these things seem abstract and trifling, but they are of tremendous importance because the salvation of the world depends on what people know and believe about God and the economy of salvation. Christ’s Kingdom will not come until the universal Church declares just how much His Kingship really means and that has not yet been done, even by Quas Primas .
May Our Lady indeed obtain us this grace… the definition as revealed doctrine of the absolute primacy of Christ!
Mater Christi, ora pro nobis!
fr. maximilian mary dean, F.I.