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The Ascent to Truth

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Merton defines Christian mysticism, especially as expressed by the Spanish Carmelite St. John of the Cross, and he offers the contemplative experience as an answer to the irreligion and barbarism of our times. "For those...curious about mysticism...this is an excellent book" (Catholic World).
ebook, 360 pages
Published November 4th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1976)
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Eric Schmidt
Absolutely breathtaking statement of Catholic apophatic mysticism. Reading it I was most interested in Merton's attempt to reconcile Thomas Aquinas' reasoned approach to faith with St. John of the Cross' emphasis on the apparent darkness of true enlightenment, which requires the grace of the Holy Spirit to be perceived as light.

From the outset, Merton claims to be challenging the late-nineteenth century pragmatists, for whom religion was 'true' because of its personal utility (an oversimplifica
...more
Derek Jeter
No greater joy for a Christian seeking to deepen his practice of the faith than quiet time with Thomas Merton.

Reading Selections:

The Ascent To Truth -- Thomas Merton

A Pattern of Development in Life and In Contemplation
Our nature imposes on us a certain pattern of development which we must follow if we are to fulfill our best capacities and achieve at least the partial happiness of being human…it can be stated very simply: We must know the truth, and we must love the truth we know, and we must ac
...more
Jason Pike
Wow! did not know what I was getting into with this book but enjoyed it. It's an explanation/defense of the theology behind the mysticism of St John of the Cross. heavy doses of Thomas Aquinas and the Spanish mystic, mixed with (what I've come to so look forward to) Merton's keen insights. Thomas Merton is always able to theorize on a complex idea for pages and the capture the essence in a few powerful lines. I enjoy both and have never been disappointed.

In a nutshell - 'mysticism' as expressed
...more
Amy Layne Litzelman
This is one of those books that I didn't read all the way through..... but I gained great joy from the sections I did read. There were several passages in the first quarter of the book that grabbed my attention and reverberated within me. These I wrote down and have posted on FB and other places. It seemed to get a bit dry for me as I went along, so I moved to something else. But then again, I may just not be in the right place to read it all right now. I will most likely pick it up again down t ...more
Jonathan
Merton's mystical insights, both through the lens of the writings of St. John of the Cross and through his own brilliance, are phenomenal. I recommend this to anyone seeking to deepen their spiritual insights.
Dawn
Merton's insight into the human condition and our addiction to the chase and challenge still haunts me. It's a pretty dense book, but there are some serious gems to be found.
Brian
I still love Merton, but this was a tough read. Apparently, he wasn't too proud of it compared to other books. What's next for me to read by him, I wonder?
Joseph Andros
Okay, this was marked down as 'read' over on Facebook. But if I ever got there, I can't remember. Maybe I never did.

I should read it again.
Angel Little Pea
I could not finish this book. I've heard it's amust read but I found it tedious....I was sort of bullied into reading it anyway
Laurie
He's done more inspiring books; although, there are always moments of beauty in Merton.
Allison
I was expecting a little more vision and insight, and a little less patriarchal dogma.
Ron
A great book for Spiritual Directors! Also a good book on contemplation.
John
Important and thought provoking
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Thomas Merton was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in the American state of Kentucky, Merton was an acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer, poet, author and social activist. Merton wrote over 60 books, scores of essays and reviews, and is the ongoing subject of many biographies. Merton was also a proponent of int ...more
More about Thomas Merton...
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“The lights of prayer that make us imagine we are beginning to be angels are sometimes only signs that we are finally beginning to be men. We do not have a high enough opinion of our own nature. We think we are at the gates of heaven and we are only just beginning to come into our own realm as free and intelligent beings.” 11 likes
“The earthly desires men cherish are shadows. There is no true happiness in fulfilling them. Why, then, do we continue to pursue joys without substance? Because the pursuit itself has become our only substitute for joy. Unable to rest in anything we achieve, we determine to forget our discontent in a ceaseless quest for new satisfactions. In this pursuit, desire itself becomes our chief satisfaction.” 6 likes
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