The third volume of Thomas Merton's journals chronicles Merton's attempts to reconcile his desire for solitude and contemplation with the demands of his new-found celebrity status within the strictures of conventional monastic life.
This third volume of Merton's journals, like the first two, is full of insight into his life and work. Readers will be grateful that, when it came to his journals, Merton's Trappist silence did not leave him speechless. In a 1956 entry, he notes that he had "always wanted to write about everything"-not to write a book that "covers everything" or contains everything, but "a book in which everything can go." The journals accomplish this largely by avoiding what he refers to (in a 1958 entry) as "the apostolate of alienation and hatred," a "mania for making everyone else like oneself." Merton's great gift, which shines through in the bits and pieces of his journals even more than in his finished work, is an ability to listen and respond to a world in which everything does go. Cunningham notes in his introduction that Merton's journals are full of reflection on what it means to be a monk. In this volume, as in volume two, this reflection plays a major role in shaping his discernment of the world and his place in it. These journals provide marvelous insights into Merton's reading of history: "everybody falsifies history," he writes. "You have to seek truths laboriously by pitting one lie against another-or many half-truths together-until you can make your own mendacious guess as to what the truth was." And they provide a running commentary on Merton's literary influences-what he was reading, with whom he was corresponding and speaking. Of particular interest are his relationship with Ernesto Cardenal and his growing familiarity with Zen. This volume maintains the high standards established in the first two and will leave readers anxiously anticipating the remaining four.read more
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A Cistercian monk and author of the bestselling The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton records in his plain journal voice the struggles of a soul wrestling with both his vocation and his location, the Abbey of Our Lady of Gesthsemani near Bardstown,Ky. The journal pages are filled with spiritual ruminations, catalogues of Merton's correspondences and his reaction to them, lists of encounters with his fellows constrained by the discipline of the Abbey, his hopes for relocation to a mountaintop hermitage and all the day-to-day froth thst sits atop the deep currents of Merton's spiritual life. Part commonplace book, part spiritual journal, part diarist's discipline, the journal is both the sediment of his spiritual development and the tool he used to watch himself watching himself. Few readers who encounter this remarkable book will come away unchanged. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved