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Run to the Mountain: The Journals of Thomas Merton, V. 1
When Thomas Merton died accidentally in Bangkok in 1968, the beloved Trappist monk's will specified that his personal diaries not be published for 25 years -- presumably because they contained his uncensored thoughts and feelings. Now, a quarter of a century has passed since Merton's death, and the journals are the last major piece of writing to appear by the 20th century' ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published August 30th 1996 by HarperSanFrancisco
(first published July 1st 1995)
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Do I live for books like this? The 1st volume (of 7!) of Merton's published journals covers the period - mostly in New York - following his conversion right up to his entry into the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) and the monastery at Gethsemani in Kentucky. This is roughly from the 1939 to late 1941, and the global destruction and possible apocalypse signaled by the World War plays much in Merton's thinking, conversion, and vocation. There is a madness loosed upon ...more
Beautiful text. One perhaps wouldn't start here, with Merton, in the this first of seven volumes, but after warming to Merton via the righteously considered essential texts, then considering the notebooks as a past time. I am pleased to find my new library has all seven volumes, smothered in dust. The Merton which serves the most critical role in a present text I'm composing undergoing mad work at this moment, a savage end to an inadvertent, subterranean trilogy of books beginning with Reichian ...more
Thomas Merton wrote the clearest, most sincere, important works of Christian spirituality of the 20th century. This is the first of his lengthy series of journals (of which dozens are published.) This is definitely early Merton: opinionated in literature, conflicted about his future, and deep in study of Catholic theology and saints. Intelligent and honest analysis of the world that, though it was written at the onset of WWII, doesn't feel outdated because Merton's focus is on the underlying cau ...more
My journey with Merton began with reading "The Seven Storey Mountain" but that book, though I enjoyed it thoroughly, left me with the feeling something was missing. Then I learned SSM did undergo a certain level of editing/censorship by his superiors that possibly changed the tenor of the book. Eventually I learned about Merton's journals, extensive journals, covering most of his lifetime and published, as stipulated by his will, many years after his death. The journals take up seven volumes. Th ...more
Best read after Seven Storey Mountain and New Seeds Of Contempation. If you want to know more about Thomas and the struggle of vocation. Lovely writting, very few bits you have to skim over. The Cuban writting is wonderful, all the time you can tell there is a parallel struggle going on just under the surface, and boy does it surface. The struggle that is in all of us to find true meaning and the path to vocation.
Not always an easy read because of the journal format - very much working through stuff on paper. Mix of literary stuff, travel and spirituality which gave plenty to think about but sometimes left me a little baffled. Some odd switches of thought too but this is just a reflection on how humans think. Very rewarding story of a search for a vocation.
Interesting enough but I somewhat cringe at the sheer amount of masochism and self loathing Merton puts in himself, into his decisions, and his doctrinaire approach to spiritual things. Not being Catholic and free of what seems to be an almost universal tendency within Catholic believers to hold themselves and the rest of humanity guilty- for something!- I'm also put off by his admission he only really "feels safe when in a church." My how sad. As if all God's great handiwork outside that little ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Dawn Downey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those hungry for inspiration, fans of spiritual memoir
Recommended to Dawn by: God, I suppose
I picked this up while my husband and I were on retreat at a Trappist monastery. I blazed through it. I'd never read Merton, and I wanted to stop to contemplate his insights, but he gave me something I seemed to be starving for, so I gobbled it up. I was greedy and obsessive. Vol. 1 covers the years 1939-1941, just before he became a monk. The final entry is dated two days before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He writes about the war in Europe from the perspective of a draft-age man living ...more
I'm still early into the book but I'm enjoying it so far. It gives one a real flavor of what a young Thomas Merton was like in his premonastic days when he was struggling with decisions and ideas. His love for God is evident and his enthusiasm towards pursuing Him more fully is inspiring.
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 ...moreMore about Thomas Merton...
“Everything that happens to the poor, the meek, the desolate, the mourners, the despised, happens to Christ.”
“In a state where “liberty” is based on the “rights” of each individual there can never be true justice. But in a state where you get to discussing the rights of beavers, then there is the danger not only of injustice but of violence and general ruin, through a kind of contagious madness that could sweep the country as the fear of the Martians swept New Jersey. (Rights: if a state guarantees the Rights of all men: men either will or will not demand the extreme limit of what they are entitled to. Furthermore, it is even their right to keep more than they have a right to if they can get it legally (or even illegally, as long as the injured party doesn’t complain and demand his rights). Now everybody does not demand the full extent of his rights. Most people, to tell the truth, don’t care. But some get as much as they can get; more than they have a “right” to; they take over the “rights” of many many others who don’t really care. Thus they become so big that they are monuments, and everyone looks up to them, and makes it his ideal to get that much more of his rights too (if he only could!). The ideal is greed and avarice. How can there be justice or liberty in such a state? Yet imagine the pandemonium if every man set out to demand at once the full extent of his (nebulous) rights, and the whole nation were swept by completely active and murderous avarice!)”More quotes…