The Intimate Merton : His Life From His Journals

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9780062516206: The Intimate Merton : His Life From His Journals

Perhaps the Book of Life, in the end, is the book one has lived. If one has lived nothing, one is not in the Book of Life.
I have always wanted to write about everything. That does not mean to write a book that covers everything--which would be impossible, but a book in which everything can go. A book with a little of everything that creates itself out of nothing. That has its own life. A faithful book. I no longer look at it as a "book." -- Thomas Merton, July 17, 1956

In this diary-like memoir, composed of his most poignant and insightful journal entries, The Intimate Merton lays bare the steep ways of Thomas Merton's spiritual path. Culled from the seven volumes of his personal journals, this twenty-nine year chronicle deepens and extends the story Merton recounted and made famous in The Seven Storey Mountain. This book is the spiritual autobiography of our century's most celebrated monk--the wisdom gained from the personal experience of an enduring spiritual teacher. Here is Merton's account of his life's major challenges, his confrontations with monastic and church hierarchies, his interaction with religious traditions east and west, and his antiwar and civil-rights activities. In The Intimate Merton we engage a writer's art of "confession and witness" as he searches for a contemporary, authentic, and global spirituality.

Recounting Merton's earliest days in the monastery to his journey east to meet the Dalai Lama, The Intimate Merton reveals a life lived in continuous pursuit of meaning, equanimity, and love. The Intimate Merton captures the essence of what makes his life journey so perennially relevant.

"My best writing has always been in journals." -- Thomas Merton

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Review:

If you like your saints packaged without the messiness of an actual error-filled life, this book is not for you. If, however, you want a glimpse inside the mind and spirit of a splendid writer and thinker who tried live his life as honestly as he could as a journey into God, then this is a grace-filled beauty. Subtitled "His Life from His Journals," these selections--dating from 1939 (before he entered the monastery) to 1968 (within days of his death)--remind us how much of Merton's life unfolded precisely in and through his own writing--how he made himself through his writing. As he says, "it seems to me that writing, far from being an obstacle to spiritual perfection in my own life, has become one of the conditions on which my perfection will depend." Merton contends that writing--honest writing--is his way to move more and more deeply into the truth. In these very honest pages, covering everything from his meeting with the Dalai Lama to his experience of falling in love (25 years after entering the monastery), Truth unfolds itself through the act of writing. These pages are a thread into the center of that labyrinth, which is where he meets his God. Now we're invited along for the ride. --Doug Thorpe

About the Author:

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is widely regarded as one of the most influential spiritual writers of modern times. He was a Trappist monk, writer, and peace and civil rights activist. His bestselling books include The Seven-Storey Mountain, New Seeds of Contemplation, and Mystics and Zen Masters.

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