Biography & Autobiography

On Thomas Merton | ,

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From the best-selling novelist and memoirist: a deeply personal view of her discovery of the celebrated modern monk and thinker through his writings. “If Thomas Merton had been a writer and not a monk, we would never have heard of him. If Thomas Merton had been a monk and not a writer, we would never have heard of him.” So begins acclaimed author Mary Gordon in this probing, candid exploration of the man who became the face and voice of mid-twentieth-century American Catholicism. Approaching Merton “writer to writer,” Gordon illuminates his life and work through his letters, journals, autobiography, and fiction. Pope Francis has celebrated Merton as “a man of dialogue,” and here Gordon shows that the dialogue was as much internal as external—an unending conversation, and at times a heated conflict, between Merton the monk and Merton the writer. Rich with excerpts from Merton’s own writing, On Thomas Merton produces an intimate portrait of a man who “lived life in all its imperfectability, reaching toward it in exaltation, pulling back in anguish, but insisting on the primacy of his praise as a man of God.”.

Biography & Autobiography

Thomas Merton: An Introduction to His Life, Teachings, and Practices | Jon M. Sweeney

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An introduction to the spiritual legacy of Thomas Merton Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk and one of the most influential spiritual figures of the 20th century. His writing on contemplation, monastic life, mysticism, poetry, and social issues have influenced generations and his legacy of interfaith understanding and social justice endures to this day. Thomas Merton: An Introduction to His Life, Teachings, and Practices offers an exploration of Merton as a monk, as a writer, and as a human being. Author Jon M. Sweeney delves into Merton’s life and ideas with an appreciation for his work and a deep understanding of the spiritual depth that it contains. Thomas Merton offers a unique view of the popular and sometimes controversial monk, braiding together his thoughts and practices with the reality of his life to create a full portrait of a pivotal figure. The Merton revealed in its pages is a source of inspiration and insight for those wrestling with questions of faith and spirituality. At its core, the book is about the search for wholeness—a search Merton undertook himself throughout his lifetime and one readers can also embark on as they draw inspiration and guidance from his life..

Poetry

Selected Poems of Thomas Merton | Thomas Merton

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Poet, Trappist monk, religious philosopher, translator, social critic: the late Thomas Merton was all these things. This classic selection from his great body of poetry affords a comprehensive view of his varied and progressively innovative work. Selected by Mark Van Doren and James Laughlin, this slim volume is now available again as a wonderful showcase of Thomas Merton’s splendid poetry..

Religion

A Book of Hours | Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton was the most popular proponent of the Christian contemplative tradition in the twentieth century. Now, for the first time, some of his most lyrical and prayerful writings have been arranged into A Book of Hours, a rich resource for daily prayer and contemplation that imitates the increasingly popular ancient monastic practice of "praying the hours." Editor Kathleen Deignan mined Merton's voluminous writings, arranging prayers for Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Dark for each of the days of the week. A Book of Hours allows for a slice of monastic contemplation in the midst of hectic modern life, with psalms, prayers, readings, and reflections..

Body, Mind & Spirit

Mystics and Zen Masters | Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton was recognized as one of those rare Western minds that are entirely at home with the Zen experience. In this collection, he discusses diverse religious concepts-early monasticism, Russian Orthodox spirituality, the Shakers, and Zen Buddhism-with characteristic Western directness. Merton not only studied these religions from the outside but grasped them by empathy and living participation from within. "All these studies," wrote Merton, "are united by one central concern: to understand various ways in which men of different traditions have conceived the meaning and method of the 'way' which leads to the highest levels of religious or of metaphysical awareness.".

Biography & Autobiography

Thomas Merton | James Thomas Baker

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Thomas Merton: Social Critic organizes and critically analyzes the social thought of the Cistercian monk who has become an internationally known symbol of the spiritual element in man. The author evaluated all of Merton's writings, published and unpublished, then discussed his interpretations with Merton personally. The result is a perceptive relation of Merton's social thought to its genesis in his own life experiences and contemplation, a faithful rendering of Merton's thought on the problems of our time. Merton, the author makes clear, called for a spiritual, social, and religious union. It was a poetic and sometimes unimplemented solution to alienation and division, a valid and authentic, if at times limited, response to the contemporary chaos. This study will be greeted by a strong reaction from Mertonians everywhere..

Religion

Survival or Prophecy? | Thomas Merton,Jean Leclercq

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Introduction by Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland. Two monks in conversation about the meaning of life and the nature of solitude. Thomas Merton, the American Trappist monk who wrote The Seven Storey Mountain, spent his entire literary career (1948- 68) in a cloistered monastery in Kentucky. His great counterpart, the French Benedictine monk Jean Leclercq, spent those years traveling relentlessly to and from monasteries worldwide, trying to bring about a long-needed reform and renewal of Catholic religious life. Their correspondence over twenty years is a fascinating record of the common yearnings of two ambitious, holy men. "What is a monk?" is the question at the center of their correspondence, and in these 120 letters they answer it with great aplomb, touching on the role of ancient texts and modern conveniences; the advantages of hermit life and community life; the fierce Catholicism of the monastic past and the new openness to the approaches of other traditions; the monastery's impulse toward survival and the monk's calling to prophecy. Full of learning, human insight, and self-deprecating wit, these letters capture the excitement of the Catholic Church during the run-up to the Second Vatican Council, full of wisdom, full of promise..

Nature

The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton | Monica Weis

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Nature was always vital in Thomas Merton’s life, from the long hours he spent as a child watching his father paint landscapes in the fresh air, to his final years of solitude in the hermitage at Our Lady of Gethsemani, where he contemplated and wrote about the beauty of his surroundings. Throughout his life, Merton’s study of the natural world shaped his spirituality in profound ways, and he was one of the first writers to raise concern about ecological issues that have become critical in recent years. In The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton, author Monica Weis suggests that Merton’s interest in nature, which developed significantly during his years at the Abbey of Gethsemani, laid the foundation for his growing environmental consciousness. Tracing Merton’s awareness of the natural world from his childhood to the final years of his life, Weis explores his deepening sense of place and desire for solitude, his love and responsibility for all living things, and his evolving ecological awareness..

Religion

No Man Is an Island | Thomas Merton

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A recapitulation of his earlier work Seeds of Contemplation, this collection of sixteen essays plumbs aspects of human spirituality. Merton addresses those in search of enduring values, fulfillment, and salvation in prose that is, as always, inspiring and compassionate. “A stimulating series of spiritual reflections which will prove helpful for all struggling to...live the richest, fullest and noblest life” (Chicago Tribune)..

Literary Criticism

Walking with Thomas Merton | Robert G. Waldron

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An appreciation, in journal form, of Thomas Merton as spiritual writer, monk and poet..

Body, Mind & Spirit

Thoughts In Solitude | Thomas Merton

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Thoughtful and eloquent, as timely (or timeless) now as when it was originally published in 1956, Thoughts in Solitude addresses the pleasure of a solitary life, as well as the necessity for quiet reflection in an age when so little is private. Thomas Merton writes: "When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, the society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate." Thoughts in Solitude stands alongside The Seven Storey Mountain as one of Merton's most uring and popular works. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, is perhaps the foremost spiritual thinker of the twentiethcentury. His diaries, social commentary, and spiritual writings continue to be widely read after his untimely death in 1968..

Religion

Thomas Merton | Paul R Dekar

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Thomas Merton was arguably the twentieth century's most widely published and widely read spiritual writer. This book explores Merton's prophetic writings and experience as they offer guidance for those seeking to experience God, to simplify their lives, to live more humanly, and to shape Christian community in the face of alienation, consumerism, noise, and technology. The book includes parts of three previously unpublished conference contributions by Merton on technology. Exploring Merton's thoughts on monastic renewal, prayer, radical simplicity, ecology, technology, war, peace and interfaith dialogue, Dekar reminds us why Merton was so influential and why he continues to be so..

Biography & Autobiography

Thomas Merton's Gethsemani | Harry L. Hinkle

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For twenty-seven years, renowned and beloved monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968) belonged to Our Lady of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery established in 1848 amid the hills and valleys near Bardstown, Kentucky. In Thomas Merton's Gethsemani, dramatic black-and-white photographs by Harry L. Hinkle and artful text by Merton scholar Monica Weis converge in a unique experience for lovers of Merton. Hinkle was allowed unprecedented access to many areas inside the monastery and on its grounds that are generally restricted. His photographs invite the reader to experience the various knobs, lakes, woods, and hermitages Merton sought out for times of solitude and contemplation and for reading and writing. These unique images, each accompanied by a passage from Merton's writings, evoke personal reflection and a deeper understanding of how and why Merton came to recognize himself as a part of his Kentucky landscape. Woven throughout the book, Weis's text explores Merton's fascination with nature not only at Gethsemani, but during his early childhood, throughout his spiritual conversion to Roman Catholicism, and while a member of the Trappist community. She examines how Merton's lifelong interaction with nature subtly revealed and informed his profound spiritual experiences and his writing about contemplation. Thomas Merton's Gethsemani replicates Merton's path on his solitary hikes in the woods and conveys the wonder of the landscapes that inspired him..

Religion

Thomas Merton: God's Messenger on the Road towards a New World | Paul R. Dekar

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Thomas Merton: God’s Messenger on the Road towards a New World highlights the contribution of the best-selling North American writer between the Second World War and 1968. The Cistercian monk called people to act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly. By his critique of technology, a major impediment for people to follow Jesus; by his writing on contemplative prayer; by his interfaith outreach; and through his witness against racism, war, and degradation of nature, Merton still matters. This book uses Micah 6:8 to organize Merton’s focus on justice, lovingkindness, and humility, as well as his dialogue with Rachel Carson, Ernesto Cardinal, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thich Nhat Hahn, and others..

Religion

Come into the Silence | Thomas Merton

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Come into the Silence is an easy-to-use devotional for all those seeking peace, stillness, and solitude in a busy and noisy world. Part of the bestselling 30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher series, this book invites you into the contemplative life through the words of Thomas Merton, one of the most popular spiritual masters of the twentieth century. In his journals, letters, and spiritual writings such as New Seeds of Contemplation, Merton explored the tension between the human longing for both connection and solitude. Merton, a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani, offered a model of contemplative life that allowed him to be deeply engaged with pressing issues of the time, including the nonviolent civil rights movement. Requiring only a few minutes each day, Come into the Silence helps you realize how God sees you and to embrace his divine vision of you and each person you encounter. This devotional also allows you to reflect deeply on the fundamental longings for meaning, belonging, and intimacy as well as the call to service and social justice in your life. Each book in the 30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher series provides a month of daily readings from one of Christianity's most beloved spiritual guides. For each day there is a brief and accessible morning meditation drawn from the mystic's writings, a simple mantra for use throughout the day, and a night prayer to focus one's thoughts as the day ends. These easy-to-use books are the perfect prayer companion for busy people who want to root their spiritual practice in the solid ground of these great spiritual teachers..

Literary Criticism

Thomas Merton's Poetics of Self-Dissolution | Sonia Petisco

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This book includes a collection of essays on the poetry of Thomas Merton (1915-1968), one of the most relevant spiritual masters of the twentieth century. These scholarly inquiries are all glimpses which accurately represent his poetics of dissolution-the dissolution of the old corrupt world in favour of an apocalyptic vision of a new world. Este libro incluye una colección de ensayos sobre la poesía de Thomas Merton (1915-1968), uno de los maestros espirituales más relevantes del siglo XX. Todas estas investigaciones académicas dejan entrever lo que representa exactamente su poética de desintegración: la descomposición del viejo mundo corrupto a favor de una visión apocalíptica de un nuevo mundo, categorizaciones abstractas de lo sobrenatural que dan paso a una experiencia íntima y más dinámica de lo sagrado en el hogar y en el mundo..

Religion

Thomas Merton's Paradise Journey | Thomas Merton,William H. Shannon

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A book which traces the development of the thoughts and writings of the 20th-century Cistercian monk, Thomas Merton, on the subject of contemplation..

HISTORY

Ishi Means Man | Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton's thought-provoking book is a series of essays about various Amerindian cultures..

Religion

Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton and the Greatest Commandment | Leininger Pycior, Julie

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Catholic Worker leader Dorothy Day and monk/author Thomas Merton, who gave radical witness to love of God and neighbor in the tumultuous 1960s, together come center stage in this compelling account of the visionary duo spotlighted by Pope Francis in his historic address to Congress..

Religion

Thomas Merton—Evil and Why We Suffer | David E. Orberson

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Thomas Merton is one of the most important spiritual voices of the last century. He has never been more relevant as new generations look to him for guidance in addressing some of life's biggest questions: how can we find God, how should we engage with other faiths, and how can we oppose violence and injustice? Looking carefully, one can find, tucked away in Merton's prodigious writings, his response to another timeless question: Why do we suffer? Why does an all-powerful and all loving God permit evil and suffering? By carefully examining all of Merton's work, we find that he repeatedly confronted this question throughout most of his adult life. Intriguingly, Merton's approach to this question changed dramatically a few years before he died in 1968. An examination of all aspects of his life yields evidence that Merton's immersion in Zen during this time contributed most to that change..