The worldwide Merton community today is mourning the loss of Jim Forest, a dear friend, peacemaker, prophetic witness, loving husband, father, and grandfather.
We are also celebrating the gift of his life and rebirth into the arms of God.
Jim was unfailingly kind and generous to all who had the great privilege of meeting him, myself included. His book on Merton, Living with Wisdom, remains to my mind one of the best introductions to Merton’s life and spirituality because it positively vibrates with spirit and presence. As someone who knew Merton, shared his commitment to the Gospel, and somehow got that spirit onto the page.
Jim, I give thanks to God for your beautiful life and writings, your love for Nancy, and your friendship with all of us who are better for having known you.
Please, keep an eye out for us, and lift our hearts when we feel despairing, as Merton did for you so many decades ago.
The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth: and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration, and confusion.
The real hope, then, is not something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see, If we can do His will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it beforehand….letter of Thomas Merton to Jim Forest, Feb 21, 1966