Of Mommies and Monks


I always seem to run across this prayer by Thomas Merton just when I need to read it again.

I love the down-to-earth quality of it. I also love that Merton was a Trappist monk, someone whom it might be easy to assume has a little more figured out as far as where he’s going in life than the average person. 

My Lord God, we have no idea where we are going. We do not see the road ahead of us. We cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do we really know ourselves, and the fact that we think that we are following your will does not mean that we are actually doing so. But we believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And we hope we have that desire in all that we are doing. We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire. And we know that if we do this you will lead us by the right road though we may know nothing about it. Therefore we will trust you always though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. We will not fear, for you are ever with us, and you will never leave us to face our perils alone. Amen.

I’m about to celebrate both my third anniversary and my 25th birthday. In just a few weeks, I will welcome my second child into the world. I quit my job at the beginning of the summer to stay home full time with my 19-month-old son and new baby. My husband and I also started a business this summer. And by this Christmas, we will have had no fewer than four different family members and friends live with us for various periods of time over the course of the year.

Despite the fact that my husband and I do our very best to discern God’s will for our lives, we are living so much by faith this year! We can only trust that our desire to do God’s will and our earnest and prayerful discernment of each step we take is leading us in the direction of God’s plan for our marriage and family.

My favorite line of this prayer is this: “And we know that if we do this you will lead us by the right road though we may know nothing about it.” This line echoes a Bible verse I keep close to my heart when anxiety at all that I have going on in my life tries to take over.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We are all in the same boat with seeking God’s will within our vocations, whether we’re mommies or monks.

Copyright 2011 Erin Franco


About Author

We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on CatholicMom.com. To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact Lisa@CatholicMom.com.


  1. Erin, I’m in a very different place in my life than you are, but this is still so true for me too! Thank you and please know that I’m praying for you and baby, and your whole family! Happy Birthday too!

  2. Thank you… You mention you see this prayer when you need it, and it came across my twitter when I needed it. Thank you for taking the time to post it! God Bless

  3. The timing of this post is great — a few days ago, I was thinking to myself, “I really should read some Merton sometime.” Thank you for sharing this!

    The prayer also reminds me of a quotation that Anne Lamott writes about in one of her books … something about how when you drive at night you can only see a few feet in front of the car, but you can make the whole journey that way. Good words to live by.

  4. Brian K Kravec on

    Thank you, Erin. God bless you, your marriage, your family and all you do for the Kingdom of God.

  5. Thomas Merton has some really great writings, Seven Story Mountain being one of the best. I would make sure people read him with a critical eye though, as not everything he wrote is quite in line with the Magisterium. Nevertheless, great prayer, thanks for sharing!

  6. I love Merton and I love his prayer. I carry it with me on a prayer card everyday. You are really blessed! Happy anniversary, happy birthday and happy new baby day!

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.