Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Calendar of Saints: Thomas Merton (1)

Twice a week I post a quote from saints from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.

Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968)
Monk, Poet, Spiritual Writer
December 10

Thomas Merton was born in 1915 in France, of American parents. His early education was in France. He came to America and attended Columbia University, graduated in English in 1938, worked there one year as a teaching assistant, and got his M.A. in 1939. In 1939 he joined the Roman Catholic Church, and taught at St Bonaventure for the next two years. In 1941 he entered the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani near Louisville, Kentucky. The Trappists, called more formally Cistercians of the Strict Observance, are (or were before Vatican II) an extremely strict Roman Catholic monastic order, devoted to communal prayer (they spend at least four hours a day in chapel, chanting the praises of God), to private prayer and contemplation, to study, and to manual labor. Except for those whose special duties require otherwise, they are vowed not to speak except in praise of God. Thus, when not singing in chapel, they are silent.

In his classic book, The Seven-Storey Mountain, published in 1948, he tells the story of his spiritual journey to Gethsemani.


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