When the Trees Say Nothing
edited by Kathleen Deignan; Sorin Books; 2003; 179 pages.
Book Review by Donna Graham, OSF
This wonderful book is a collection of the writings of Trappist Monk Thomas Merton on nature. In the introduction, the editor points out that Merton “had a Franciscan soul.” As a college student he was introduced to the great Franciscan intellectuals, Bonaventure and Duns Scotus, and he found a home with them. They helped him understand the “hidden wholeness of creation.” He learned to celebrate creatures as “sacraments” which reflected the overflowing creativity of God.
In page after page we find creation referred to in very personal ways. We feel Merton’s awareness of the sacredness of all of creation. “The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God. This leaf has its own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape, and the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river are canonized by their beauty and their strength.”
This book provides much food for thought and creates a space where one can experience the divine in all of creation. It can be used for prayer, reflection, retreat, anytime one takes the time to enter into the mystery of the created world.