Read Merton…Really

9 11 2011

“By reading the Scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.”

Thomas Merton was an agnostic, a lover of art and philosophy, whose world was turned upside-down in 1938 when he came to a belief in Jesus Christ and was baptized.  Feeling a call to the priesthood, he entered the Trappist order and became a monk.  Without a doubt the most famous Christian monk in the 20th Century.

Do yourself a favor and read some of Merton’s work.  He thought and prayed at a profound level.  Two good places to start are:

The Seven Storey Mountain – Now something of a modern classic.  Like Augustine’s Confessions, this details Merton’s conversion and early years as a novice Trappist monk.

New Seeds of Contemplation – His insights on everything from war to solitude to love are formidable.  This was a man who prayed and thought.  This will quickly become evident to the reader.

Just a note: Like any priest, Merton had taken the three vows: poverty, chastity and obedience.  He didn’t write for the money. Though he sold boatloads of books, he didn’t profit from it.  He wrote for human beings.  So there seems to be an element of candor there that might not appear in the books of those who’ve something to gain from writing.  At least as far as silver and gold.

Read Merton…really.  You won’t be disappointed.

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2 responses

9 11 2011
C.R. Mooney

Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll definitely look into his writings!

9 11 2011
Christian Fahey

He’s really good, Moon. You’ll chew on his writings for hours. Promise.

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