From a recent visit to the the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemane in rural Kentucky.
This abbey is set on 2,000 acres of farmland and is now largely sustained by sales of their famous bourbon fudges and fruitcakes manufactured by the resident Trappist monks. Here is a postcard I received that gives a glimpse of their factory:
Made famous by former resident monastic Thomas Merton, the abbey continues to be connected with his name and legacy. A few of his words follow these photos.
“In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing that he no longer knows what God is. He may or may not mercifully realize that, after all, this is a great gain, because “God is not a what,” not a “thing.” That is precisely one of the essential characteristics of contemplative experience. It sees that there is no “what” that can be called God. There is “no such thing” as God because God is neither a “what” nor a “thing” but a pure “Who.” He is the “Thou” before whom our inmost “I” springs into awareness. HE is the I Am before whom with our own most personal and inalienable voice we echo “I am.” (from Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation)