Sorrow and joy are intimately and paradoxically joined. If we accept sorrow, we can find true joy, based on what is real. Merton explains that asceticsm is; breaking the barriers between us and what is real, between us and God.
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Catholic monk and writer, born in Prades, France. Following his mother's early death, he was raised in France, England, and the USA. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Columbia University, he converted from agnosticism to Catholicism, and in 1941 entered a Trappist monastery at Gethsemani, KY, taking the name Louis. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), became a best-seller and made him a Catholic folk hero. His book, New Seeds of Contemplation, is still one of his most popular works and is available in audio form from Credence Communications. He continued to write poetry and religious works, and after ordination (1949) he served as master of students, then master of novices. In later life he was increasingly preoccupied with social concerns, and he became a major figure in the 1960s anti-war movement. Also drawn to solitude, he won permission to live as a hermit on his monastery's grounds (1965).
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