Thomas Merton is often considered the most prominent Christian contemplative of the twentieth century, but he was also a political activist, social visionary, and literary figure whose writings combine the candor of Thoreau and the moral vision of Gandhi. Here is a remarkably accessible introduction to his work: a collection of a short, vivid excerpts arranged in four parts so as to parallel the journey of a seeking soul in the modern world.
* "Real and False Selves" distinguishes between our real selves, a deep religious mystery known entirely only to God, and the identities we take on in order to function in society.
* "The World We Live In" provides a spiritual context to modern life, moving from a stark rejection of its empty promises to a deep compassion for its tragic limitations.
* "Antidotes to Illusion" reflects on contemplative practices that can serve as the allies of our "real selves" in the battle against illusion: silence, solitude, meditation, prayer, charity, and faith.
* "Love in Action" explores the role of the contemplative in the modern age and the challenges and pitfalls of living a life of active love.
Merton's startling critique of a society driven by technology and rampant acquisition, the politics of "good versus evil," and the self-deluding complacency of the spiritual "lifestyle" demonstrate beyond doubt that his writings are as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.
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REAL AND FALSE SELVES
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
ANTIDOTES TO ILLUSION
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Abbey able accept adversary affirm ahimsa asceticism awareness become believe Benedict Joseph Labre cenobitic charity Christ Christian Christian nonviolence Cistercian ciwa contemplative created darkness death deep Desert Fathers desire despair discover enter everything evil existence experience fact faith False solitude freedom give God's grace happiness heart hope human humility illusion inner interior Lady of Gethsemani live longer means meditation mercy merely Merton Legacy Trust Merton New York mind monastery monastic monasticism monk moral mystery nature never nonviolence nonviolent resister nothingness one's ourselves Patrick Hart peace perfection perhaps person political prayer problem pseudo-events pure reality realize religious renounce Robert Lax saint secret seek sense Seven Storey Mountain sign of contradiction silence simply simulacrum society soul spiritual suffering things Thomas Merton thought tion Trappist true truth trying violence vocation William Faulkner words