Seven Storey Mountain
From one of the 20th century's best-loved Christian writers comes this extraordinary spiritual testament. Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is a man who experienced life to its fullest "in the world" before entering a Trappist monastery.
Popular Answered Questions
As a newly baptized Catholic, I found this passage incredibly beautiful and accurate:
"I had come, like the Jews, through the Red Sea of Baptism. I ...more
If you're a bad person, and are not Catholic, the reason you're bad is because you're not Catholic.
If you're a bad person, and are Catholic, the reason you're bad is because you're not Catholic enough.
If you're a good person, and are not Catholic, the reason you're good is becau ...more
First, one neat story. Merton was at Cambridge, studying sociology, economics, history (196). On Merton’s first day of school, he accidentally seated himself in a class on the works of Shakespeare. So he got up, then sat back down, stayed. Later that day he went to the registrar and officially added the course. Here’s what he sa ...more
Is there any man who has ever gone through a whole lifetime without dressing himself up, in his fancy, in the habit of a monk and enclosing himself in a cell where he sits magnificent in heroic austerity and solitude, while all the young ladies who hitherto were cool to this affections in the world come and beat on the gates of the monastery crying, "Come out, come out!"
This is the tone you get from this author as he tells of his life: a peculiar mix of contempl ...more
However, given where I was 20 years ago, I doubt I would/could have appreciated so many of the things Merton described so well in his journey, especially his experience of being led from one Master to another, often via friends, travels and the many pitfalls of sin and shame. Speaking just about som ...more
There is a scene when Thomas Merton is visiting a monastery in Kentucky and they give him the key to the library where he can spend his morning reading whatever he wants. Later, when he lives there he has to grow his own food and do a bit of laboring.
It sounds like kind of ...more
Why did I wait so long to read Thomas Merton? I've known so many fans of his work and had so many opportunities to get to know him. In my mid-twenties I lived for a few years in Lexington, Kentucky, just about an hour from Gethsemani, the Trappist monastery where Merton spent the second half of his life. I had a lover who made regular pilgrimages and once brought me seeds from Merton's garden, carefully folded inside a dollar bill. But I never visited Get ...more
Thomas Merton's life seemed to be the never-ending quest for the ultimate truth, and there were many byways that he chose in order to obtain that: literature, academia, writing, traveling, communism, ...more
Merton writes in this on ...more
If I had a different experience of Catholicism as a child, this book might have functioned as some sort of catalyst for rejoining the church. Fortunately my experiences were uneventful; tepid, even. I didn't leave Catholicism out of some reactionary experience. It was gradual. God was ground to dust throughout this decade in the millstone of my brain. My atheis ...more
First, I am irritated by the way that he seems to treat esoteric Catholic doctrines as clear and obvious, thus needing no explanation. For example, he presents Marian intercession as a universal principle that should be self-evident to any person capable of reason, despite the fact that (so far as I can tell) it has very little basis in Scripture and is not even a particularly important part of scholastic philos ...more
What we've got her is in effect a modern Confessions of St Augustine. Merton goes into detail in what amounts to a spiritual autobiography/memoir. One of the interesting things I found was that he lived in a lot of places I'm familiar with, unlike when I read the lives of saints who are predominantly from Europe. When he talks about Flushing, Do ...more
The most surprising thing for me was the subtle humour in these pages. I loved the way Thomas' grandparents arrive to Europe like an armada, I chuckled at the naiveté of young Thomas' communist beliefs and most of a ...more
I finally read this book after years of my wife Micheline telling me that this was such wonderful book and well written by Thomas Merton, a Cistercian Monk, i.e., a cloistered monk who dedicates his life to silence and the devotion to God in all labors at the monastery.
After reading My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ, he listed Thomas Merton has one of those saints (though not canonized) and his ...more
Merton is very, very certain that Catholicism is the only true religion and path to God. He is very critical of Protestantism. If his treatment of other faiths had been more even handed, I believe it would have made his account of his journey to the Trappists more effective in terms of evangelism. However, maybe evangelism is not his goal and maybe his criticisms accurately reflects hi ...more
Fortunately I did. I started the book in the hotel and read probably the last four-fifths of it on the way back from Vienna to Chicago. I've never read any spiritual work that makes mo ...more
I think the best part of this book is when he describes his experience with mysticism in having complete peace and strength when he found God's Grace in his life. For those of us wh ...more
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|The Catholic Book...: 1. What is the interior life?||3||10||Mar 23, 2016 01:04PM|
|The Catholic Book...: 2. Discuss Merton's communal perspective||4||11||Mar 20, 2016 01:22PM|
|The Catholic Book...: 7. Popularity||3||7||Mar 20, 2016 12:13PM|
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