Thomas Merton's Wonder:
The Town of St. Antonin, France
Here, everywhere I went, I was forced, by the disposition of everything around
me, to be always at least virtually conscious of the Church.  Every street
pointed more or less inward to the center of the town, to the Church...
The Church had been fitted into the landscape in such a way as to become the
keystone of its intelligibility.  Its presence imparted a special form, a special
significance to everything else that the eye beheld...the fields...the winding
river, and the green valley of the Bonnette, the town and the bridge, and even
to the white stucco villas of the modern bourgeois that dotted the fields and
orchards outside the precinct of the vanished ramparts: and the significance
that was thus imparted was a supernatural one.
The whole landscape, unified by the Church and its heavenward spire,
seemed to say: this is the meaning of all created things: we have been made
for no other purpose than that men may use us in raising themselves to God,
and in proclaiming the glory of God...
Oh, what a thing it is, to live in a place that is so constructed that you are
forced, in spite of yourself, to be at least a virtual contemplative!  Where all day
long your eyes must turn, again and again, to the House that hides the
Sacramental Christ. (The Seven Storey Mountain, 40-41).
Ave Maria Blvd., Ave Maria, May, 2007