Reflections on a Merton Retreat…

The Northern Ireland branch of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland met yesterday (Saturday 19th February) for a day retreat at Corrymeela’s retreat centre at Knocklayd. 

The weather was absolutely glorious with warm spring sunshine abounding.  As I stood and looked out over the wonderful County Antrim landscape as it spread out from Knocklayd Mountain, I felt the words of Psalm 19 spring to life:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language

where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,

like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens

and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is hidden from its heat.

The retreat brought together people from diverse backgrounds and faith traditions, all of whom were united in their desire to understand more fully the works of Thomas Merton and how these relate to their own faith journey.  The day consisted of periods of quiet prayer, meditation and walking in addition to discussion and sharing a meal together.

I’ve included the slides used for the first meditation below; the purpose of this meditation was to focus on the – beauty of all that is around us and to remind us that contemplative prayer flows from being aware of God in all things.  The photos contained in this meditation were all taken in NI (with the exception of a couple which I took in New Zealand!).

Knocklayd Meditation

Oh, and here are a few photos of Knocklayd……….

I will be organising further Merton events in the months ahead, so if you would like to join us, or you have any ideas regarding activities, please do get in touch.  The group is open to all!

4 thoughts on “Reflections on a Merton Retreat…

  1. Hello Scott

    I have attended an annual weekend Thomas Merton retreat in Oct held at Knocklayd for the last 7 years andreally enjoy the event as one of the highlights of my year! (Brother Columba has spoken at it) – i will definitely like to go to one of your future events and thank you for taking the time to organise them!



  2. Hi Scott, I was last on retreat when I was 16, in the era of flairs and Z cars! I thank yourself and all those who were there on Knocklayd. I got so much from Merton, from all those present, from our Corrymeela hosts, from Knocklayd and the sun shining on it. I got more from those few hours than I’ve got from many many days. I understand the mucky bucket. Thank you. God Bless.


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