Ever Ancient, Ever New

The phrase above is one of St Augustine’s, where he describes God as the beauty ever ancient, ever new.

I’ve often found myself trying to capture the simple wonder of things in words.

The love of a dog. A walk by the river. The sight of purple Hosta tips forcing their way up through the Spring soil. The feel of winter sunshine on my skin.

Mostly it can sound corny.

Here, Merton does the opposite. He gives us a glimpse of the sheer staleness of ‘novelty”, against which we get a glimpse of the freshly minted ‘aliveness’ of the moment by moment.

That which is oldest is most young and most new. There is nothing so ancient and so dead as human novelty. The “latest” is always stillborn. It never even manages to arrive. What is really new is what was there all the time. I say, not what has repeated itself all the time; the really “new” is that is that which, at every moment, springs freshly into new existence. This newness never repeats itself. Yet it is so old it goes back to the earliest beginning. It is the very beginning itself, which speaks to us.

Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation (p. 79)

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