Merton: Singing Psalms

Merton: Singing Psalms

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.” Psalm 139: 1-2. NRSV


 Thomas Merton shares specific suggestions of how to meditate, especially using the Psalms, in his very short book, Spiritual Direction and Meditation (1960). 

Merton encourages singing the psalms and using them as a meditative tool in contemplative prayer, being awakened as we re-live the experiences of the psalmist and are touched by the finger of God.

Merton reminds us that intellectual brilliance is not required for meditation and in fact that a good meditation may be dry, cold, and dark. St. John of the Cross tells us that “the best fruit grows in land that is cold and dry.”

A good meditation does not necessarily give us an absolutely clear perception of a spiritual truth we are seeking, for our minds are in the presence of mysteries too vast for our comprehension.

 The power of meditation is not generated by reason, but by faith.